With most of the Indian dishes, we are served with something other than side dishes i.e. salads.

Since most of the users here come from different countries, I come up with stuff that is internationally known.

So, for instance, if we have a pizza, what do we call oregano, ketchup, chilli flakes, cheesy dip collectively? I don't agree that they are the side dishes. That's because side dishes are actually dishes (you can certainly order 'salads'). But here, you cannot separately order ketchup, cheese dip and the like.

Are they fillers? I'm not sure. If there's no one single word, a close one would do.

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    Actually, some places do charge extra for sauces and seasonings - Papa John's, for one. And I know I've been to some burger joint where they charged for extra ketchup. But those are the exceptions to the rule.
    – miltonaut
    Dec 11, 2014 at 9:51
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    Please don't put ketchup on pizza. Please. Dec 11, 2014 at 20:06
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    @thumbtackthief, sounds like you've never had a cheeseburger pizza. Ketchup, ground beef, cheese, onions, tomato, pickles. It's quite tasty.
    – zzzzBov
    Dec 11, 2014 at 20:18
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    @thumbtackthief many advise me this! But Indian tongue, cannot taste anything without condiments! Now, I have the word! :P
    – Maulik V
    Dec 12, 2014 at 6:33
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    Since when is cheesey dip not only a dish but a meal in and of itself? In unrelated news I'm a terrible human being.
    – corsiKa
    Dec 14, 2014 at 3:25

5 Answers 5


"Condiments" is probably the closest word to describing all of them. Being more specific, ketchup is a sauce, cheesy dip is a sauce or a dip and oregano and chilli flakes might be described as seasonings (or just as herbs and spices).

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    @J.R. Ketchup meets any definition of "sauce", and would certainly be referred to as one in the UK. Indeed, it's often informally referred to here as just "tomato sauce". (On the other hand, I accept that, in the US, you wouldn't expect ketchup if you were offered a sauce, in the same way that you wouldn't expect a cucumber anywhere, if offered a fruit.) Dec 11, 2014 at 10:42
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    @AE Thank you. If I need to use that definition, I'll be sure to acknowledge you as my sauce source source. Dec 11, 2014 at 11:16
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    @AE & David - I understand it (ketchup) meets the dictionary definition of a sauce, but I don't hear sauce used that way in conversation – at least, not when referring to ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise. I've never heard anyone ask, "Who's bringing the sauce(s) to the picnic?" (it's condiments), or, "Please pass the mustard; I want some more sauce on my burger." And, at least in the U.S., tomato sauce = spaghetti sauce, which is quite unlike ketchup.
    – J.R.
    Dec 12, 2014 at 9:04
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    @AE & David - Interesting! That's one thing I like about ELL: learning about other ways words are used – which is why I put the "regional variations" disclaimer in my initial comment :^) When this question first popped up yesterday, I thought about how many AmEng sauces use the word "sauce" in their name: soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, hollandaise sauce, steak sauce (I think that's what we'd call HP). We don't usually call something a "sauce" unless it's called a sauce, if that makes any sense. In the U.S., that's probably a pretty good dividing line between sauces and condiments.
    – J.R.
    Dec 12, 2014 at 9:24
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    @AE - I suspect that's your British ear. In the U.S., condiments usually conjures to mind basic toppings for basic foods: my initial thought would be something like this. On the other hand, sauces might be for people who are "too good for ketchup."
    – J.R.
    Dec 12, 2014 at 13:46

In US English:

  • On pizza (before it's baked), you put toppings.
  • On a sandwich, you put condiments.
  • On a plate, you put sauce.
  • In a bowl (for dipping) is a dip.
  • Something shaken over is a seasoning.

There is no one word to refer to these collectively. If you order Papa John's and they forget anything, one would ask "Where's all the stuff that comes with it?"

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    The "toppings" on a pizza are the things that the chef puts it on it before baking, which doesn't seem very relevant to the question. Dec 11, 2014 at 15:26
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    "toppings" can be also used (in parts of the US) to refer to things on a sandwich, including condiments, for example vegetables. For example, a sandwich restaurant might ask what "toppings" you want to add to the basic sandwich and you might say "lettuce, tomato, mustard"
    – eques
    Dec 11, 2014 at 15:43
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    The OP specifically mentioned having pizza: "So, for instance, if we have pizza, what do we call..."
    – DTRT
    Dec 11, 2014 at 17:03
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    You could put 'toppings' on a sandwich, but only in certain circumstances such as Subway or a "toppings bar".
    – DTRT
    Dec 11, 2014 at 17:06
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    +1 for "there is no one word to refer to these collectively." In the U.S., I think condiments comes closest and could do in a pinch, but if you're hosting an event, and ask Tony to "bring condiments," don't be surprised if he doesn't bring oregano, and assumes someone else is taking care of the seasonings and the dips. There are also dressings, which are usually put on salads (though dressings can be used as condiments on sandwiches, too, and a ranch dressing may be used as a dip, or as a base for a dip).
    – J.R.
    Dec 12, 2014 at 9:13

You add tomato sauce on a pizza before you bake it, then when it's almost cooked you can add the chopped mozzarella cheese and pop it back in the oven in order for the cheese to melt. I tend to add the fresh basil leaves when the pizza has finished baking :)

  1. The tomato base of a pizza is the sauce.
  2. The cheese on the pizza is the topping.
  3. The basil and oregano are fresh/dried herbs.
  4. The salt and pepper are the seasoning.
  5. Mayonnaise, mustard and seasoning are sometimes referred to collectively as condiments
  6. Oil and vinegar is called the dressing
  7. Guacamole (made from avocados) is a typical dip
  8. Turmeric, paprika, chilli powder, black pepper etc. are spices.

None of the above can be described as a side-dish. They are ingredients which enhance the flavour of dishes.

  • Typically though you don't serve the ingredients of the dish along with the dish as you might a chutney. There are many different flavor enhancers, but my understanding is that the question is looking for the name of the 'accoutrements' (not the right word for food, I know) for non-Indian dishes that parallel the chutneys and other wonderful little bowls of intense flavor that accompany Indian dishes. I think your list is helpful, but maybe you could highlight the entry that most closely matches what Maulik was specifically asking about.
    – ColleenV
    Sep 28, 2016 at 14:34
  • @ColleenV Thanks, but the answer supplied by David Richerby is the one that addresses specifically Maulik's question, my contribution was meant only to supplement his and boatseller's answers.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 28, 2016 at 14:43

Crudely : "fixins". As in "..with all the fixins."

Condiments, we call them condiments. Oregano is a generally a garnish. This is even if they are spread, or poured, or dipped into. They will be savoury. They will be fluid, and sometimes chunky.

(Chutneys, salsa, and grain mustard can be quite chunky).

We might include (or not) :

  • Sweet preparations such as Honey or Golden Syrup
  • Gravy (for hot chips or fries), gravy is generally served on the plate ?
  • Jus, reductions, oyster sauce, soy sauce.

Mayonaise, Tartare Sauce, Thousand Island, and Balsamic are sometimes "dressings".

  • I think I'd class soy sauce as a condiment. Also, given that gravy, jus, reductions, oyster sauce and soy sauce are savoury, I'm not sure why you're including them in your list of things that aren't condiments because they aren't savoury. Dec 13, 2014 at 20:00
  • Umami ? Canadians use gravy as a sauce ? Belgians use mayonaise as a sauce ? Australians use vinegar. Usage varies. When does something become a topping ? I suppose if they are served separately ala "cruet set" (I like this answer) they qualify as sauces. Adding pepper to gravy makes it a sauce. What about melted butter, with or without garlic ?. Horseradish, wasabi, hot mustard are applied after the meal is served and cannot be poured. Oregano, rosemary, parsley may come applied (hence a garnish).
    – mckenzm
    Dec 13, 2014 at 20:27

"Condiments" is the closest word but you could also use "cruet", especially if there is a charge. "Cruet extra" was a running joke about boarding houses in the UK but apparently it did happen: 'And the cruet came extra...' (Yorkshire Post).

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    The cruet is the container in which the substances are served (source: Oxford Dictionaries). I'm not aware of it being used for the substances themselves and, to my ear, the word sounds very old-fashioned. Dec 11, 2014 at 10:48
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    The cruet is the container but was also used to refer to the contents as well. "Pass the cruet" would mean pass the mustard, salt and pepper, vinegar et cetera. "Cruet extra" would mean being charged for the use of condiments. It is old fashioned though, I admit!
    – chaz1975
    Dec 11, 2014 at 11:09
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    "Pass the cruet" (or even more properly, "the cruet set", since "the cruet" is a single container) would mean "pass the containers that hold the mustard, salt and pepper, vinegar, etc., and, by the way, I'd prefer it if you didn't empty them first." In the same way, you might say "pass the bottle" to mean "give me the wine" but you'd never refer to wine as "bottle". Dec 11, 2014 at 11:14
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    @DavidRicherby usage is validity. if we use it as such, then we use it as such. if we don't then we don't. When I say "pass the cruet" (which I don't but my grandmother did) she was very much interested in the whole package. Just as when I say "pass the salt" I really do mean the salt and the salt cellar together. Language is not logical. That we do use a synecdoche in one instance but not in another is just how we roll.
    – Dominic
    Dec 11, 2014 at 17:10
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    What @David said (repeatedly). I'm old enough that I can (just about) still use cruet fairly "naturally". But I have never heard anyone use it to specifically identify the contents of the cruet [set]. Dec 12, 2014 at 17:25

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