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Waiting for food

November 7, 2004

Bangalore's latest hang-out spot is The Forum, a 450,000 acre shopping complex in Koramangala. This is the first mall of its kind and size in Bangalore, so of course Bangaloreans are flocking there to check out this shopping paradise.

Like any decent mall, The Forum too has a food court, and unlike some of the other icky food courts in town (yes, Bangalore Central, I'm talking about you), this one happens to be quite decent. The restaurant-loving Bangalorean, who is now trying to match the Bombayite at being adventurous about food, has plenty of variety to keep herself occupied. In the food court, you'll find Thai food, Chinese food, South-Indian dosas, biryanis, Subway, etc. It's a pretty good spread if you ask me. Obviously, when it gets busy, the place gets chaotic because the average Indian does not know how to stand in a queue and actually wait his turn. But I digress...

And guess which food outlet gets the most traffic? Thai food? Subway?

No, ladies and gentlemen, the answer is none of the above. It is... [drumroll please] the spanking new McDonald's that has just opened its first outlet in Bangalore. Amidst the numerous cuisines on offer at The Forum, the queue outside McDonald's stretches for a long, long distance. Can you believe this? Bangalore has restaurants that serve food from 20 countries, yet the public is willing to wait ages just so they can get a taste of a lousy Maharaja Mac.

What is wrong with us? I'd understand if it were some exotic food not available elsewhere, but this is Mc-fucking-Donald's. This is the place that serves mediocre food consistently all over the world. In USA and most parts of the world, McDonald's is cheap-ass food where you can feed your family for $10. That's about all there is. There's no "ambience", the chairs are uncomfortable (intentionally), and the food is average but same-same everywhere. Why are we worshipping places like KFC and McDonald's as if they were some holy grail of gourmet food? As if this weren't enough, I tore my hair out when I opened my Friday copy of the Times of India. I flipped to the food review section hoping to find some new exciting restaurant in town (because one opens every other day in Bangalore), and I was horrified. Believe it or not, the food critic had reviewed the McDonald's at The Forum. I shit you not! Where else in the world would a McDonald's outlet be reviewed like a restaurant? It happens only in India.

If ever you wanted to see an example of crazy worship of Western icons, this would be it.


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