Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Burger Raja

While growing up my mom would do ravivar, which translates into Sunday in Gujarati. This was a tradition passed down to her from her mother, and basically every Sunday my mom would only eat once during the day. When I was a kid, it sucked for Sunday lunch because it meant eating a full-on Gujarati feast, when all I really want to eat was a grilled cheese and some bugles. Things looked up for dinner though, when my sister and I were allowed to choose our poisons. This often led to a visit to Burger King for a Veggie Whopper and onion rings. The Veggie Whopper, for those of you that haven’t had the pleasure of having it is different than the BK Veggie which was only recently added to the menu, and is essentially Burger King’s signature Whopper without the meat patty. As ridiculous as it may sound, it was one of my favorite foods order. I know that for most vegetarians, a fast food burger joint doesn’t quite fit the bill as an ideal place to grab a bite, but my sister and I loved Burger King. And that Burger King presented some semblance of a vegetarian option set it apart from its competition. While I was always on the fence about allying myself strictly to Burger King or McDonalds - you never know when you will crave a McFlurry - when the news came out a few year’s back that McDonalds had been deceiving its vegetarian customers by incorporating that unnecessary beef tallow ingredient into its french fries, I moved completely into the Burger King camp.

So I was glad when I saw the news that fast food eaters in India would soon be getting a choice in where they can hang out and munch on American style burgers and fries. From this story in the Economic Times, it seems Burger King will soon be joining the burger wars in India as it begins to scout out locations and business partners with which to start its joint burger venture in India. And with its opening,

Burger King is likely to shake McDonald’s monopoly in India by launching its own brand of burger restaurants. The company, best known for its price war with Big Mac in the US, has mandated Kotak Mahindra to scout for a partner in what is a growth market for global fast food companies. Industry sources feel that even though McDonald’s is firmly established in metros like Delhi and Mumbai, Burger King’s entry is likely to start a burger war of sorts. Innovation in product offerings and location of outlets would play a crucial role in drawing customers in the long run. In the short term, McDonald’s would lose some customers to Burger King out of the sheer curiosity factor. However, this would happen only if both are located in the same catchment area,” said an industry source.

Now while I refuse to eat at McDonalds in the States, one of my favorite ways to check out local color when I travel is to visit McDonalds and similar style fast food joints to see what they sell often unique to each individual country. I actually like the food items at the McDonalds in India since they offer vegetarian items are usually pretty good. When I was in Delhi in September, I became somewhat addicted to the Veg McCurry Pan, which at that time consisted of a pretty tasty shahi paneer dish on a pan-pizza like crust, which apparently has been replaced by a broccoli and mushroom dish (you can see the McDonalds India menu here). I am really curious to see what Burger King will come up with in India to comptete with that. In addition to a chili version of the Veggie Whopper (maybe with a splash of Haldi?), I would love to see a six pack of paneer tikka nuggets with various chutney dipping sauces on the menu.

3 Comments:

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Cyma Saeed said...

Love your blog..very stream of consciousness!

Here is another avant garde desi food related blog, check it out:

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