In recent years, increasing interest in the format of multi-centric studies among different populations in developing nations has evolved in the field of health surveys and epidemiology. Dietary intake data are most often part of these cross-cultural and cross-national collaborative efforts. Various questions have been raised about the appropriate endeavours for dietetics and nutritional sciences in developing societies, the instruments available for application, and the pitfalls and caveats in their use. An important consideration is that studies be hypothesis-driven and not mere ‘fishing expeditions’ of unfocused data gathering. All known dietary intake measurement tools are within the purview of developing country research, but they often must be adapted individually and differentially to suit a given population. In a multi-centric context, this is complicated. The watchword should be collecting comparable information across sites, not using identical approaches. Choice of dietary intake measurement tools must be honed to the hypotheses and assumptions, on the one hand, and the exigencies and pitfalls of working in the developing country milieu, in which linguistics, seasonality, migration, uncommonness of food systems and ethical considerations present barriers and caveats, on the other. Within the hypotheses, the assumptions regarding the penetration of the measured exposures must be borne in mind. Multi-centre studies in developing countries have relevance and importance in the context of food security, diet and disease, eating behaviour and satiety regulation, and nutritional anthropology.