Tag Archives: KFC in India

KFC in India’s fiery tomato based masala tantalizes the taste buds of a visiting American

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Eight years ago, I pleasantly sampled KFC in India and my view of the universe was permanently altered. India has been in a rut for the last ten thousand years. In the old days you could go to the forest wearing a loincloth and meditate, hang out with monkey gods, and learn to levitate. Then, India became less spiritual, after a few more hundred years, the Muslims took over large portions of India, and the caste system persisted.

Local Deshis have a repetoire of 10 dishes
Most people in India have a repetoire of ten dishes that they eat from the day they are born until the day they die (unless they are fed on an IV.) The Northern Moghlai cuisine has more diversity of spices while Maharashtra specializes in brown sauces and Kerela has coconut and ayervedic spices in their food. The high point of Tamilian cuisine is sambar while the Andhra Pradeshis have a mentally obtuse dish called “dumb biryani.” With all those high tech parks I’m sure they could innovate a smarter version of that dish and call it “smart biryani.”

India’s culinary rut finally altered
In the last ten years, India has really opened up culinarily. The 10,000 year old rut they have been in has lifted — at least for now courtesy of the influence and money brought in by multi-national companies, high tech firms, call centers, etc. Now you can get Indianized Chinese food anywhere. Yes, India’s Chinese food has too much basmati rice, too much black pepper, is too heavy on overly liquidy sauces, etc. India needs to learn that Chinese food is not Indian food and doesn’t come with twelve ounces of curry sauce. Chinese food normally comes in a light sauce and should emphasize Chinese flavors of which there are many, and not reflect Indian tastes so much. But, surprisingly Chennai has the best and most authentic tasting Chinese and Malay food in the country if you go to the right places. Additionally, now you can get dosa in the North and Punjabi butter chicken in the South. You can get Kerela paratha in Tamil Nadu and kim-chee in Bangalore. India has turned over a new ayervedic leaf it seems.

KFC in India came up with their own masala
When I travel, it is always interesting to see how a culture will assimilate another culture’s cuisine. I tasted a croissant in Germany (terrible,) had Chinese food in Italy (not bad,) and had Italian food in Andorra (excellent.) As far as I’m concerned Indians have ruined Chinese food, but for some reason they did a great job altering Colonel Sander’s chicken. No more 11 herbs and spices in India. Kentucky Fried Chicken in India came up with their own masala using — get this — tomato sauce, sweetener, and a lighter version of the herbs and spices, undoubtedly a completely different mixture.

The irony is that Indian KFC isn’t spicy
The irony is that Indian food is known for being spicy — and so is KFC. However, KFC in India spices their chicken in a very similar way to a popular variety of potato chips in India that Lays and/or Ruffles and other local manufacturers make which is a sweet tomato flavor. Indian KFC is surprisingly and pleasantly mild, sweet and tasty. I enjoyed McDonald’s Maharaja burger, I enjoyed getting American ice cream in Bangalore, but KFC was my best experience short of dining in five star hotels.

Why can’t we have Indian KFC in Los Angeles?
My only regret, is that Kentucky Fried Chicken in India is so good, I wish we could get the same flavor in America. Unfortunately the demographics here don’t support the same culinary tastes. But, maybe one day love will find a way. While we’re at it, I sampled kung pao chicken around the world, and I want Italian, Austrian and Atlanta Georgia style kung pao available in Los Angeles. I think it won’t happen until I open my own kung pao restaurant — we do kung pao right.

In any case, I’m looking forward to my next visit to India. We’ll see what new recipes KFC cooks up in India by then!

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Reverse Outsourcing in India

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Reverse Outsourcing in India
Reverse outsourcing is rampant in India.  Instead of us getting our services from them, they are outsourcing their lunch, shampoo, and even their university education to us.  KFC, Subway, Best Western, Whole Foods, and even Duke University have taken root in India and are leading the reverse outsourcing craze.
In the old days, your choices from lunch included a box lunch from  your wife.  There was a famous company in Mumbai that delivered lunch to people.  They would send someone to the person’s house, so their wife could give a freshly cooked box lunch to the “dabbawalla” to be delivered to the husband at work.  Typical North and South Indian food are available in most Indian metros, with an added bonus of Chat, Pao Bujji, and Pani-Poori in Mumbai as regularly available snacks.  But, things have changed.  Now you can reverse outsource your lunch to an American company.  KFC in India has branches all throughout the country in most or all of the main metros.  The taste is slightly different from American KFC.  Indian KFC has more sweet chili taste, while American KFC has more of the taste of the various mystery herbs and spices that the world has been trying to decode for decades.  Subway is all around India too.  McDonalds has wonderful Indian burgers such as the aloo-tikki burger made out of potatoes, spices and other vegetarian items ground up into a delicious patty!  Pork and beef are typically left out of the menus at these establishments.  So, Americanization goes only so far.
If you go to an Indian convenience or medical store, you will find that most of the items are from the good ole’ USA.  Laundry detergent, shampoo, soaps, chocolate bars, the brand names are almost all American sounding!
But, the new trend in reverse outsourcing is education.  For years Indians and Chinese have been coming to America in droves to get their Master’s degrees.   Leaving their families behind to indulge in long hours of study, lonlineness and culture shock. Those days are being… well…. reversed!  Soon, you will be able study at Duke, right in the privacy of your own country! Yale is planning a joint venture with IIT in Kanpur and Kozhikode.  Brown is planning a branch in New Delhi.  There are many other Universities in line for overseas expansion. It looks like KFC in India is not the only American satellite presence! 
India needs 600 more universities and 35,000 colleges over the next 12 years according to Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal.
As time goes on, India will have access to everything we have here in America.  The only thing that they need to outsource from us that is not on the list… clean air and uncongested roads.   Maybe that will get on the agenda soon.

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