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Indian McDonald’s

Like everywhere else on the planet, India has its share of McDonald’ses. Less than its fair share, really – there might be one or two per major city. And they’re pretty much the same as the McDonald’s restaurants in other places – but just as with South Korea, there are differences.

The menu is the obvious difference. The equivalent of the Bic Mac is the Chicken Maharaja Mac. It’s a nice enough burger, but the chicken patty is orange all the way through, which I find a tiny bit disconcerting. There are things like paneer burgers (no beefburgers, for reasons that should be obvious), and the vegetarian half of the menu is more extensive than the non-veg side. I’ve just eaten a Mexican Chicken Wrap (chicken features heavily in the non-veg sandwiches). The fries are just fries.

Also, once you’ve ordered, you’re invited to take a seat, then a few minutes later someone brings you your food. This, I think, is a symptom of the fact that there is a lot of cheap labour in India and also that McDonald’s is an expensive option for many Indians.

If I remember rightly, I’ve been in two branches of McDonald’s over here – one in Delhi near the Red Fort and one at the JHV Mall in Varanasi. Neither have their own toilets.

Sneer at McDonald’s all you like, but in the stressful environment of a vastly different country from your own, having somewhere as familiar as this to get a bite to eat and a drink is a real boon. When you don’t speak the language, when you don’t even really know what food people eat, it’s good to go somewhere you know, more or less, exactly what you’re getting.

And actually, the same could be said in your own country as well. McDonald’s tea is an important form of liquid sustenance for me in Britain.

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