Thursday, July 23, 2009


The first McDonald's restaurant opened in Chennai, in Anna Nagar. Though there has always been an outlet in the Ascendas Complex, this was the first stand-alone restaurant.

And a HUGE deal was made of the opening. I mean, newspapers, TV ads, flyers... everywhere you would possibly look! And it was in Anna Nagar, which is fast becoming a little city of its own.

Now I know the West (esp the United States) is making a huge fuss over the fat content and general unhealthiness of a McDonald's diet. The fact that absolutely nothing there is actually healthy - no, not even the salads. But give India a chance. This is the first time we have a McDonald's and people see it as a integral part of the Western world! So the place is ALWAYS packed with people. Here's a view of the line that actually went out the door!!

The menu is very very different from the typical one in the US. It has Indian-ized versions of their products, such as a spicy paneer salsa wrap, and several (actually, almost half) the menu choices are vegetarian. I was on a recent holiday in the US and we went to McDonald's a few times when we were on long drives and nothing on the menu was vegetarian except the french fries (and I'm not sure what oil they use for frying the potatoes either).

Here, everything is 100% guaranteed to be made in vegetable oil. And they do not use beef products at all. So there's fish and chicken... and vegetarian options like the McVeggie Burger or the McAloo Tikki! And the Big Mac? Its the Chicken Maharaja Mac! :)

We brought home the food and I would give it 2 stars (out of a possible 5). There was no flavour, and everything looked old and sad. But I'm also not a huge fast food fan, so maybe I'm prejudiced.

On another note, a friend who is pregnant went to a KFC outlet in Chennai and ordered fried chicken. They said their policy states they cannot serve their chicken to pregnant women because it is not safe!!! It leads you to ask, so why are you letting children eat it? Or anyone else for that matter? Is it a big leap to maybe start distrusting any food from KFC? Or from any fast food place in Chennai? Hmm. It really does make you wonder.