Countries » Did You Know?

Welcome to Utpalasia’s Did You Know? page. Here we explore some of the lesser known tidbits of information about South and Southeast Asian countries, their cultures, and lifestyles. We also take a look at a variety of topics ranging from dance trivia to manners and etiquette. Have a question you’d like answered? Let us know what you would like to see featured via Twitter or email!

» The kitchen is sacred in a Nepali household and outsiders are only very rarely allowed in. Shoes must always be removed before entering this space. Garbage is never thrown into a fire, as fire is considered holy and should not be polluted.

» It is very common in Nepal to rinse the mouth and gargle after eating. This is done for cleaning purposes and to remove the odor and taste of the food eaten. It is a remnant of the days before the notion of dental hygiene developed in the country.

» The Sal tree (Shorea robusta) has beautiful and strong leaves, which are often used to create plates, either for eating or for carrying puja items to the temple. During the preparation for village weddings, neighbors of the bride make hundreds of these plates by hand. It is an environmentally friendly form of dish on which guests enjoy their delicious meal of rice, daal, and a variety of curries. Ten leaves are needed for a plate, and five for a bowl. A typical village wedding may have up to 500 guests, so the village must gather up to 7,500 leaves to create a sufficient number of plates.