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ODE TO DESI FLAVORS - even global food chains show respect.....

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(Left: Photo Credit  : Dunkin' Donuts India )  

When we, the NRIs (non-resident Indians, as we are called in India), visit India we are armed with a list of places we plan to eat at. Over the last two decades these places where we look forward to eating have been constantly evolving into so much more than the regular restaurants and coffee shops that we missed once we left India. As the well known international chains flood the Indian market, we love trying out the 'desi' twist that our favorite chains serve in India in order to cater to our very appreciative desi palate.  Of course, as much as we love visiting our favorite chains in America and elsewhere in the world, we relish and devour the desi flavors in the same chains during our India visits. For be it Pizza Hut, Domino's, McDonald's, KFC, or Starbucks, their goal seems to be when in India serve gourmet versions of their otherwise fairly plain menu and so their menu is tweaked with desi flavor! Of course, so instead of talking of eating golgappas and dosas (which we now find easiy enough here), we talk of eating pizzas and doughnuts in India! The times have changed.  

Domino's And Pizza Hut- Desi Flavored Pizza

We tried and talked about the various different topping that Domino's and Pizza Hut introduced in the Indian market when they first opened in 1996. There was the paneer topping, the chicken tikka topping, the fish curry topping and the so on and so forth. 

McDonald And KFC- Desi Flavored Burgers & Wraps

McDonald and KFC served the yummiest burgers and wraps in their Indian locations since stepping in India in 1996 and 1995 respectively. McDonald's introductory advertisement for its 'Masala Grill Chicken' sandwich proudly proclaimed 'Pakka Indian hai' (it's pure Indian), in order to compete with the local burger chains like the much loved Wimpy's and Nirula's in case of Delhi and other major cities. 

(Photo Credit: by Rohun K during his India visit) 

Starbucks- Desi Flavored Sandwiches & Coffee 

 When Starbucks set up its shop in India in October of 2012, even they tailored the menu to introduce the delicious desi flavors in their sandwiches, wraps and coffee. Their mouth-watering menu boasts of 'Tandoori Paneer Roll', 'Elaichi Mawa Croissant' and 'Murg Tikka Panini'. The aromatic & piquant coffee served is actually 100% local- brought to you by Tata Coffee, thanks to the alliance with them.

Dunkin' Donuts And Krispy Kreme- Desi Flavored Doughnuts

It is not just the sandwiches, wraps and coffee global-chains that have taken over the Indian food market with menu tweaked with desi flavors. The international sweet corporation aka Dunkin' Donuts has ventured into the very rich and sundry Indian sweet market. As if the Indian sweet market is not multifarious enough, doughnuts have been added to the myriad of choices we already have in India (add Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka to the list too). Doughnuts, yes, but desi flovored doughnuts.
Since their launch in India in 2012, Dunkin' Donuts (brought to India by the same company that holds the franchise for Domino's Pizza in India, Jubilant Foodworks Ltd) have been serving desi flavored doughnuts to please our palate just like others in the industry. The same is true for Krispy Kreme that launched in 2013 in India.

Desi Doughnuts Catches The World's Attention ...

Now, it seems like desi doughnuts have caught the attention of rest of the world as well, not just the NRIs. Huffington Post, in an article titled, 'India's Doughnut Flavors Put Ours To Shame',  writes, 'India may not seem like the most likely place to find good doughnuts, but it turns out the subcontinent is home to a budding doughnut industry and some amazing-sounding doughnut flavors. Chains like Dunkin' Donuts and Krispy Kreme are opening throughout the country, and the flavors they're offering make us want to travel to India in time for breakfast tomorrow.'  Also mentioned in the article are some very mouth-watering desi flavored Indian sweets inspired doughnuts like 'Mango donuts', 'Motichoor Ladoo donuts' (seen in the picture above), 'Gulab Jamun donuts', 'Kesar Badam donut' (with saffron cream filling and almonds and pistachios topping), 'Milk Cake doughnut' (with rice pudding filling) and 'Soan Papdi doughnut'. Not just that, the article also brings to notice, some spicy donuts sold in India's local doughnut chain 'Mad About Donuts' that has been around since 2008 in big cities of India. These spicy doughnuts (seen in picture above) include Pi'Dazzled, a pizza doughnut covered with tomato sauce and covered with chili flakes. Their site also show other Italian food inspired doughnuts (seen above). The article very aptly states that 'these flavors sound like they belong more in the gourmet doughnut shops that have proliferated around New York City than in the omnipresent -- and dare we say lackluster -- Dunkin' Donuts lining highways and filling strip malls in the U.S.'. Well, I couldn't have said it better! In fact, I would say the same for the McDonalds, KFCs, Starbucks and other fast food chains here in America.

Desi flavors have always interested the desi palate. It is a matter of pride for us, though not surprise, that the desi flavors have now caught the attention of the larger global community.

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