Opinion

Fast Food in India: Yay & Nay

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So no one told you life was gonna be this way….

As Indians, we’ve gone from stuffing our faces with street food to stuffing our faces with fast food and that’s only because every international fast food chain you can think of now has an Indian outlet, spread out all over the country and in every big and small city. Besides being the most unhealthy meal we have ever subjected ourselves to, the menus have been modified and desified to suit the Indian palate.

But the question is why?

It’s understandable (and yet, not) that when bringing an American fast food chain to India, you have to cater to the local flavour. But why must we also take away the most important items on the menu to make everyone happy? Internationally, Burger King is known for their Angus Beef Burger, McDonald’s for their Big Mac (known as the Maharaja Mac in India), Taco Bell for their Beef Burrito Supreme, but in India, not only do we not get beef, we get a weird concoction of the iconic dishes to make everyone happy.

Even pizzas are getting the Indian treatment with paneer toppings and chicken tikka toppings, which isn’t what they are known for. 

But the truth is, not everyone is happy. Because when you ask for a tortilla, you don’t want a paratha wrapped around your veggies or grilled chicken. But this is what you have to eat because it’s the way the cuisine is modified to suit the Indian palate.

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I’ve got a beef with you

Most may not think it a problem, but given that most Indians – bar religion and region – enjoy beef and pork more than they enjoy chicken or seafood. Chicken is too bland, they say, and many are allergic to shellfish. So what do you eat when you can’t eat those two things? Beef, mutton and pork. 

While mutton and pork are available in most places, beef is the one meat that has been banned in certain parts of the country – with more to be added soon. The reasons behind banning beef are understandable (and yet, not), but given that it has been ignored for so many years, why must everyone suddenly jump onto the bandwagon now and change the rules of the game?

Winner winner chicken dinner

The only fast food franchise that has managed to stay true to their international counterparts is KFC and that’s because – let’s face it – they serve chicken and you can’t really go very wrong with fried chicken. And while they’ve desified some of the dishes, they haven’t taken anything away from you and they didn’t get you excited for something that they didn’t follow through with.

The last bite

It’s great that everyone can enjoy these dishes and these meals, but why are we making such drastic changes and additions and twists and turns to a menu and a franchise that already has their feet firmly planted on the ground? And, how many people are even ordering the aloo burgers or the paneer tacos? These restaurants may not care that they are losing customers because of their menu, it’s something to keep in mind.

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