Summary To understand how different diets, the consumers' gut microbiota, and the enteric nervous system (ENS) interact to regulate gut motility, we developed a gnotobiotic mouse model that mimics short-term dietary changes that happen when humans are traveling to places with different culinary traditions. Studying animals transplanted with the microbiota from humans representing diverse culinary traditions and fed a sequence of diets representing those of all donors, we found that correlations between bacterial species abundances and transit times are diet dependent. However, the levels of unconjugated bile acids - generated by bacterial bile salt hydrolases (BSH) - correlated with faster transit, including during consumption of a Bangladeshi diet. Mice harboring a consortium of sequenced cultured bacterial strains from the Bangladeshi donor's microbiota and fed a Bangladeshi diet revealed that the commonly used cholekinetic spice, turmeric, affects gut motility through a mechanism that reflects bacterial BSH activity and Ret signaling in the ENS. These results demonstrate how a single food ingredient interacts with a functional microbiota trait to regulate host physiology.