If you think that fast food in America is the same as it may be overseas, then you’ve got another thing coming. Some of the most popular US fast food chains have been diligently expanding to India over the past 20 years, as it is one of the fastest growing nations, and also is touted as the most explosively expanding fast food market in the world; even more so, surprisingly, than China. So if you find yourself walking down the cultured streets of India and you decide to grab a quick meal at a fast food chain – that you immediately recognize from having frequented it before when in the US – a few things about the menu items may take on a different look and appeal. And no, we’re not talking about the difference in currency, but rather the ingredients and actual design of the menu items at fast food restaurants in India.
KFC: Touted as the most present American fast food restaurant in India, KFC offers an entirely different flavour of their website for this region, which features animated people dining at an Indian KFC location. You’ll notice a few minor differences than you would in the US. For instance, they offer the “Veg Zinger,” a popular sandwich that is entirely made from veggies and NOT chicken. The “Box Master” is also unique, a snack wrap that features a “succulent fillet of Hot ‘n’ Crispy chicken, spicy hash brown, fresh veggies, pepper, mayo & cheese - all wrapped in a warm toasted tortilla.” Then there are special “Krushers” flavoured soft drinks, which according to KFC, come in “More Drool, More Munch. More Slurp. More Lick and More Bite Krushers.” The most notably different menu item entry on the Indian KFC is their “Hot Wings.” The product description proclaims that they are “India’s No. 1 fully masaaledar snack … Chicken wings smitten with lip smacking lemon chilli flavour.”
McDonald’s: The same can be seen if you visit Mickey-Dees in India, one of the first things that you will notice is that a restaurant that made its name selling 100% ground beef patties in the US has managed to create a demanding market for its chicken patties in India. Under the “Spicy Delights” page, different variations of their spicy chicken patty are offered in snack wraps, sandwiches and salads that mimic their US counterparts, but that are void entirely of bovine, and which feature elaborate regional veggie toppings and sauces. A quick rundown of their online menu purports that you would be hard pressed to find anything made from beef on the menu whatsoever. In fact, the only variation in sandwiches that can be found is the classic “Filet-O-Fish” sandwich, which is nearly identical to the one offered at US locations.
Pizza Hut: The pies tell a different story. If you check out the Pizza Hut India website, you’ll notice it has a slightly different interface, but that notably, the pies feature different toppings. There’s no pepperoni advertised, or beef, or bacon, as bovine is considered a sacred animal by many persons in this expanding nation, and many favour chicken dishes over pork, or have religious beliefs that prohibit them from eating pig products. What you will see are eloquently designed and delicious all-vegetable and cheese pizzas – and some with chicken, too – that feature an elaborate culinary concoction of different regional veggies, such as: sweet corn kernels, red peppers, baby corn, tomatoes, jalapenos, tikka, capsicum and red paprika. Overall, this is quite a different variant than the American Pizza Hut counterpart, and something you won’t find on the US menu, either.
Dunkin Donuts (coming soon): The US donut and coffee conglomerate has officially announced on their website that they will be opening 100s of locations in India over the next 15 years. While there is not an offering yet as to how their menu would differ, one has a good mind to think that there will be some classic regional variations, and perhaps even some spicy treats and different kinds of drinks than what they currently offer in the US. According to a late February (2011) press release that was issued by the company, they plan to “develop, sub-franchise, and operate more than 500 Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants throughout India over the next 15 years.” The first locations are expected to start peddling the doughy snacks as early as 2012.
About the Author of this post: Erica Gustafson is a freelance writer and consultant for Expedia. She is an avid traveller who loves the taste of life and embarking on new journeys in new countries.
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