Due to high demand, I actually went into the McDonald’s here. I haven’t eaten at one in almost a year (last time didn’t end up too well), even though I love their fries.
This was one happy day. Happy Meal it was. The McDonald’s was super nice and clean with upbeat funky dance music playing. Great atmosphere.
The food. Oh, the food. Now I cannot tell whether it is because I have missed fluffy, soft buns (flatbreads are wonderful, but they are, well, flat) and in India, the McDonald’s buns are just as the image depicts – it is soft and fluffy. In the U.S., the soft fluffy bun often comes out squished and smashed. Not here. It was wondrous. I knew what I wanted to order – the biggest thing on their menu, but their other items all seemed just as good. McAloo (potato) Tikka sandwich, Salad Sandwich…their value menu starts at Rs. 20 (about $0.40).
As beef is not sold here, I ordered the Chicken Maharaja Mac, their version of the Big Mac. It came with fries, and I ordered a Coke float. The bun…oh, I talked about the bun. The special sauce was a mayonnaise spiced with chili powder and other spices familiar in Indian cooking. The fries were perfect – doesn’t have that meat flavor – but perfectly cooked and salted. The ketchup came in two little containers, and it was sweeter than what is found in the U.S. The Coke float was splendid. I could not have asked for more.
It is interesting how in the U.S., I often think of McDonald’s as the place of last resort – they are great for bathroom emergencies on the highway, and the occasional I-need-chicken-nuggets urge. Otherwise, I tend to avoid them. While I did go to nice one in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin with super friendly employees, most of the ones in the larger cities are impersonal and not the cleanest. Here, in India, however, it seems to be a place where at least the middle/upper class go. The food is amazing, the place is nice, and the employees really do smile.
So is McDonald’s a “good” or “bad” thing for Indian culture and cuisine? Diabetes and other diseases more commonly found in the U.S. are on the rise in India – especially among the wealthy. Is that due to an increase in fast food that is yet accessible to the lower socio-economic classes?
I’m not sure the answers to these issues, or whether there is even an answer. I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at a place that is familiar to me, and at the same time one that I usually avoid. An amazing sandwich for Rs. 125 (less than $3).
Talk about a Happy Meal.