The Food Scene

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We eat to live, and not live to eat. This is different for other people though; when actually looked at, there are very many folks who would do anything in exchange for a moment’s bliss, for the relish of what is in their mouth that lasts hardly for a minute at the most. There are those who confess that their only true love of their life is food, and confess themselves to be ‘foodies.’ For them, they eat anything and everything–yup, just about that which can be cooked over a fire, or maybe not– in which they find that high level of perfection they expect.

Whatever street in any corner of India you are at, look around and you will not go without spotting at least a tiny eatery, too. With all sorts of things reaching expansion on their spread and popularity, food that was once a major barrier is now available aplenty everywhere. Ranging from the roadside eateries inside little tin shelters, to other small shops selling local food having bright plastic advertisement covered boards overhead announcing the place’s name in cramped lettering, to the bigger properly established restaurants that are labeled as ‘hotels,’ to places that are dedicated to serving only particular cuisines, there is grub all over the place.

There are then those chain restaurants, all the franchisees being a distinct single brand, expanding out slowly while gaining popularity just like how the spas and salons branch out, but it is to be noted that these food chains are way more successful. Some maintain their standard of quality throughout the years and are a legacy, but some maintain all positivity of hotel management canons for only the inception period that gradually declines once the name has gained some fame. Even so, they would have peeps flocking toward them. To ask why is out of the question as the answer is already obvious; once something has been branded, and attains a good name, that award remains forever meaning eternal popularity even if they are now nowhere as first-rate as they used to be.

When thought of chain restaurants, what comes to mind first are the extremely popular, and worldwide branched out fast food restaurants of American origin like McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken and such. They have earned a rather tremendous response on entering the Indian market as anything foreign in here is deemed a thing of luxury, or fancy and attracts a large crowd. Following the advent of these giants, others such as Marry Brown, Taco Bell, Au Bon Pain, Baskin Robbins, Pizza Hut, Pizza Corner had laid in plans to branch out, and their business is booming.

All these brands are mostly fads that sell out for the one reason of their name, the stamp of being a foreign ‘entity’ firmly imprinted. Just as put earlier, anything with a tag saying it was made anywhere else not in India sells well here. That might as well be the same principle with which those brands are now biggies.

When started with McDonald’s and KFC for instance, their inception in the States would have been someone hitting upon a portable solution for food–fast food, that is–with a fried, stuffed patty between two pieces of bread, meat and other vegetables to make it easy for the public to grab a quick bite in the in-betweens. That of course gained popularity within the home country, prompting expansion, giving birth to a whole new chain of outlets. Why would the cash making promoters want to miss their chance of billing this in on other countries? That is perhaps just what happened.

I head to the nearest McDonald’s outlet to chomp on a good lunch that is value-based and is economically great, too, when terribly hungry. I personally prefer this store against other whatnot chains out there as I like their overall service. There exist many people as me whose preferences are alike. But alas, for the number of actually hungry people in here heading to McDonald’s is less; most of the patrons I see at the outlets come to only brag of them having sat there even! It is considered by the young generation of now as cool if gone to burger or pizza places. For the sake of us all really, it is greasy food that is considered cool!

As for KFC…well, this is merely a personal opinion and is a disclaimer of anything otherwise: I try to avoid KFC outlets for the most part even if I’m desperately needing food; I despise the quality of food, the ‘impeccable’ swiftness of the staff and then the poor service to top it all off with.

Internet tittle-tattle is simply dirty gossip at many times, yes. But when e-mails containing pictures that are pretty much foolproof of how food in such restaurants are being created, prepared and served in perhaps the poorest of conditions in the kitchens going around in a viral frenzy, whom are the public to believe–these supposed rumors, or the restaurant staff who claim things to be spotless or spic and span? Further, there has probably not been any formal assurance from the staff against these ‘lies.’

It is up to us, the customers, the patrons, to choose quite carefully as to what restaurant is actually worth every penny we pay, to pick out the fad from the fab.

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