There is no official national food or dish of India. Each region of the country has its own dish that remains popular among citizens and tourists. Common spices and ingredients in Indian food include: cumin, turmeric, onion, ginger and garlic.
India is the second most populous country in the world, so food, language and culture greatly vary from one region to another. A common thread among most regions and dishes is the heavy use of spices, or curries, to create aroma and flavor. In Northern India, curries are thick, moderately spicy and creamy. The cuisine of Southern India is the hottest; hot peppers are used to make spicy curries. East India is known for using mustard oil and paste in a large portion of the dishes. The cuisine in West India is very diverse and largely vegetarian.