The Impact of Indian Cuisine on Malaysian Students Residing in Manipal

Food is any substance consumed by us to provide nutritional support for our body. It is of plant or animal origin which contains essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. It is a basic necessity or we can say it’s a need for a person’s body to perform day to day activities.

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They say that anyone can cook, but only few have the passion of creating art on a plate. Nowadays, we get to see their passion towards cooking not only in a restaurant or hotel, but also on streets. You find immense variety of food which will be displayed on the streets of India, which people really enjoy eating. So it’s a great thing that people not only make food for their living, they give it their own twist to the food and make a living out of it. When people travel from one region to another, they tend to consume the food popular in the specific area and make it a part of their diet

Indian Cuisine

The traditional food of India has been appreciated widely for the tremendous use of herbs and spices. The cuisine is largely divided into South Indian & North Indian and the cooking techniques vary from region to region. A wide variety of spices play a vital role in this dynamic cuisine, which is not as intimidating as it may seem. “Indian cuisine uses other whole palatte of flavors-spice, sour, sweet and hot all at the same time- making it something that wants to jump off the plate“ says Floyd Cardoz, the executive chef and a partner of north end grill in New York city. Hence it is important to understand the various dishes and flavors that make up Indian cuisine.

Malaysian Cuisine

The multiethnicity of its population is reflected through its cuisine. Malaysian, Chinese and Indian make up majority of its population. Chilly peppers both fresh and dried are found in every Malaysian household, bird-eye chilly being the most popular variety among all. Fresh coconut and desiccated coconut is also used in their daily meals. Lemongrass and pandan leaves give a distinguished flavor to their dishes. Glutinous rice is one of their staples is used in both sweet and savory dishes

Malaysian Students Residing In Manipal

Manipal, one of the smallest towns yet largely populated by students coming from all over India, in this group of students from various cultural backgrounds, there is a small yet pretty significant population of Malaysian Students. They have chosen the humble town of Manipal to complete their education, they form the student crowd in colleges.

Malaysian students residing in Manipal prefer their cuisine, just like every other individual but it’s not that they don’t like experimenting with new dishes. As it is a part of their culture and they have grown up relishing the same, it’s not just the food, it reminds them of their families and their homes. Moving to another country will impact their food choices and broaden their outlook towards the vast dishes that the Indian cuisine has to offer. Though their cuisine uses spices similar to the Indian cuisine, at the end of the day, it’s the way we prepare our dishes and the difference of quality of the ingredients available in that geographical area. Though they have experimented with the food options available here, they prefer their food as it suits their palate and liking. Their take on Indian food is similar to the way an Indian would make food choices in a foreign country.

The change in their eating habits from a Malaysian diet to an Indian diet, could at times result in health issues, as it is not easy to make such a switch. Students living at home get more physical exercise and consumed higher quantities of cooked vegetables, fish, meat products, chips, bread/cereals, pulses, cooked meals. In contrast, students living away from home were characterized by higher consumption of fast food, beer and alcoholic drinks, raw/cold meals, frozen meals and ready meals, due to the lack of energy and the mood to prepare meals for themselves, also their hectic schedules largely affect the same. Their peer groups and immediate environment also affects their diets.

Overall education is one of the major reasons students move away from home, which naturally has a huge impact on their food habits. Some students move away from home but stay in the same countries, but the impact food has on them is greater when they move geographically further places, like relocate for educational purposes to different countries. Growing up with their diet, it is difficult to adapt to a completely different cuisine altogether, as this change needs acceptance by their mind as well as body.


Since the cost of living in India is less, compared to Malaysia, some students prefer eating out but which cuisine does Malaysians prefer? Traditional Malaysian or Indian? Since there are considerate amount of Malaysians in Manipal University, It is important to know if they are adapting to our cuisine and culture or are they struggling to find the right food? how often do they eat Indian food? If so then what kind of Indian food do they prefer? Knowing the answers to all these questions can make the lifestyle of Malaysian students residing in Manipal more healthier and more suitable to their palette. Since there has been no research on Malaysian students living in Manipal, it makes it even more essential and significant. Knowing what additional herbs and spices can be added to our food to meet their satisfaction will help the future students too. This might help international students in Manipal to eat what is more suitable to their palette more conveniently. For this to happen, a test could be carried out by the research team to know the tiny details which could be followed to make the students feel like home.

07 July 2022

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