“Fast Food” in India

America is known to love its fast food.  Well, the companies from America are slowly making their way over to India and India has its own fair share of “fast food” so I thought it would be interesting to share a bit about it.

The most common form of “fast food” here is the street food.  Little carts are set up all over the city on roadsides offering many things cooked to perfection in hot oil — like samosas.  The street food is cheap but I have yet to dare try any of it due to the reminders I get of the “delhi belly” experiences I have already experienced.  Let’s just say the trade off of being in bed for 3 days for a taste of the food is not worth it to me although there are many companies here who offer “street food” tours and claim it is safe to eat.

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A local street food vendor

I have yet to see a drive-thru in New Delhi.  One of my sons says they have seen one out in nowhere that belonged to a McDonalds while on a long bus ride on a school trip.

There are several American “fast food” establishments here including McDonalds, KFC, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Subway, Quiznos, Kripsy Kreme, Pizza Hut and Dominos.

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None of the above listed fast food establishments is exactly what you would find at home which should not surprise as their audience is Indian.  But let me share a few interesting differences about them:

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  • Of course there is no beef offered on a burger from McDonalds.  But they do have many chicken and paneer sandwich options.  They all have a kick to them due to the added green and red sauces and spices — Indians LOVE their spices!  Even KFC adds some type of spice in the breading of their chicken fingers.
  • One would think a simple French fry couldn’t be that much different from a McDonalds in America to one in India, but it does have a slightly different taste and I believe its due to the oil they are using.
  • Lunch meats at sandwich shops are NOT the same.  Adding fresh vegetables to the sandwich again is not worth the risk as the water it was washed in is questionable as well as how long it has been sitting out in the open.
  • The pizza establishments offer the largest variety of “veggie” pizzas I have ever seen.  Pepperoni is the one meat that can be found on a pizza but it is definitely different as well.
  • The only American fast food I have tasted here that tastes exactly the same is the Krispy Kreme donut — it arrived in New Delhi about a year ago.

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Delivery is KING here.  If you walk past a Dominos, Pizza Hut or McDonalds, you will see many motorcycles lined up ready to take off with deliveries throughout the city.  Most restaurants offer delivery within a certain radius.

A couple of other restaurants we have tried in the malls include Chili’s, Johnny Rockets and California Pizza Kitchen.  Even though the menu will have very similar dishes, none of them taste the same.

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So how often do we even eat “fast food” in India?  Let’s just say it is rare.  Tyler now has me packing him lunches each day to go to the office (I have found an upscale store in a mall that carries smoked turkey breast that tastes like home) and my kids would rather go home and scrounge around for food than say let’s grab something at McDonalds.  Whenever we land in another country the cravings for fast food hit, though, as my boys eye a “real” hamburger and see Del Taco calling their name!

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