great news, India: Taco Bell has arrived!

Update: thanks to Rakesh for sending in a billboard sighting! It’s posted below

I remember exactly where I was when I first heard that Taco Bell was coming to India. I was sitting with my coworkers in our DLF Cyber City office, describing one of the seven wonders of American culture: two AM taco runs. “It’s not exactly Mexican food,” I told them, my eyes watering with nostalgia. “In fact, it’s not exactly food. But I miss it intensely.”

One of my coworkers piped up. “I heard they were opening a Taco Bell in India soon!”

A dash to the internet confirmed it. I pledged right then and there that I would be the very first person to eat at India’s very first Taco Bell. Unfortunately, although Taco Bell announced their plans to open way back in 2006, it still hadn’t arrived by the time I left the country.

But now, ladies and gentlemen, the greatest day in India’s history has finally arrived, albeit too late for me: Taco Bell has opened in Bangalore.

If you’re unsure about what Taco Bell holds in store for you, I published an essay in The Caravan magazine last year explaining the joy and glory of hyper-manufactured carbohydrates. Give it a read.

“Taco Bell is to Mexican food, however, what Starbucks is to a Paris coffeehouse: a uniquely American derivative that has evolved to resemble its inspiration in name only. You can trace its pedigree back to Mexico, sure, but what Taco Bell serves today is a mutt: Mexican food crossbred with generations of focus groups, cost-cutting innovation, and manufacturing techniques to breed a beast far removed from the original. A Taco Bell taco, with its crispy corn shell containing ground beef, lettuce, tomato, and cheese, is a remarkable feat of American engineering: the product of decades of research that have squeezed every spare cent of material and every extra second of labor out of creating it.” Read more…

I can’t find any pictures or reviews of the new Mantri Square franchise. If you’re in Bangalore, I implore you: take some pictures! Try a taco! Tell us what you think!

UPDATE 24 MARCH: Twitterer Rakesh spotted this ad above the streets of Bangalore:

Am I crazy, or is that a reference to illegal immigration in America? This might not be totally politically correct…

About these ads

20 responses to “great news, India: Taco Bell has arrived!

  1. Food at Taco Bell Bangalore sucks. Its no where near the ones one gets in the US. There’s no lettuce, cheese/ingredient quality is poor and Chalupas are not in the menu (yet?) . It took 15 minutes to place an order and another 40 minutes for the pickup.

  2. My cousin went yesterday. He told me he loved it in the US. Says it tastes the same here, except there’s paneer. Which he’s fine with!!

  3. Pingback: So Good Blog/News Round-Up 3/23/10 | So Good

  4. They may follow the same route McD’s or KFC has had – target the I-eat-from-American-chain-so-I-am-smarter-than-you Indians, and have a lot of paneer/tofu based veg items.
    One shouldn’t get surprised if the Mantri Sq Taco Bell soon becomes a place for office parties and anniversary gatherings.
    Yes, we love American fast food. Well, no. We love to spend at any damn American fast food chain, force ourselves to feel happy, and then tell our friends, “know what? I went to Taco Bell today!”

  5. I’ve been in the US more than a year now and I haven’t tried Taco Bell. Why, you ask? Cos too often, it has been described to me as a diarrhea plate. I can do without that.

  6. Waiting for the Maharaja grande bean burrito taco-crunch chalupawrap supreme.

    Essentially all their products contain beans, rice, cheese, and dubious meat products. What will they use as low-grade beef substitute in India?

  7. Greatest day in India’s history — bring on the crap I wouldn’t feed my pets.

    Anirban — Don’t get bogged down with meat classifications like chicken, beef or pork. Taco Bell’s meat is supreme and above such arduous distinctions.

  8. Successfully smuggled out of Mexico may not necessarily imply smuggled into the U.S. Just a thought :)

  9. I am from Bangalore and did visit the Mantri mall last week..Taco Bell was WAY too crowded for me to even think of entering…My curiosity lies in how they are going to Indianise the taste :-) like Mc Donalds came up with the Mc Aloo tikki.

  10. Meena, I am guessing it won’t be too difficult to modify to Indian tastes. In the US they have the mild, medium, and hot sauces. In India they’ll have the hot, firestarter, and thermonuclear.
    :)

  11. I’d have to say that you’re crazy. That probably is just an Indian adv agencies idea of selling Mexican food even if it isn’t really Mexican :)

  12. Still remember when first TGI Friday’s and first Mc Donald opened in New Delhi. For good indigenous Mexican food try Rodeos at Connaught Place.

  13. Saw the food wasn’t supposed to be Indianized, had high expectations. Place is right down the street, was eager to check it out.
    Then I saw the menu and realized, depressingly,
    I should’ve known better. A “potato taco?” No beef… No beef? No sour cream? No soft tacos?
    Walked out and won’t be back.
    How do they get something so simple so wrong? Then again they did the same thing with McDonald’s, “Hi, I’d like a Big Mac and a Quarter Pounder, please”, “You mean a Maharishi Burger?” “No, I mean Big Mac and a Quarter Pounder”, “We don’t have Big Macs or Quarter Pounders”, “…This is McDonald’s, right?”, “Yes”, “And you don’t have burgers?”, “Not hamburgers, no”, “Ok, forget the burgers, just gimme a vanilla shake”, “We don’t have vanilla shakes”
    Give the researchers a round of applause. Way to go, guys, you’ve screwed it up again.
    Will we *ever* see an American chain in India
    that offers American menu items? In the immortal words of Eliza Dolittle, not bloody likely.

  14. Yeah it has arrived, but it’s so grossly mismanaged at present.
    Can anyone imagine an hour plus delay in delivering a Taco combo? :o

    I believe it’ll take at least a month for them to get the basics right. Moreover the current mad rush, associated with the novelty factor should also come down.

    Here is an account of my first and perhaps the last visit to the taco bell
    http://blogginmystory.blogspot.com/2010/04/taco-bell-to-think-outside-bun-wait-and.html

  15. Yuck. Can’t think of anything worse. You gotta try Nando’s if you want fast food done well.

  16. Article in Global Post on the taco bell in Bengaluru –

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/india/100419/india-fast-food-taco-bell

  17. I’m always surprised that Mexican food (though Taco Bell would probably not qualify as that) isn’t more popular in India. The last half-decent place I went to was Sancho’s in Delhi. And even they “Indianized” it!

    Really, it’s mostly rice, tortillas (a bread equivalent), beans (‘rajma’ equivalent), sour cream (yogurt euivalent), guacamole (now I may be going too far…. but chutney equivalent?). AND it’s spicy!

    I would imagine Indians would identify and enjoy the taste of something so close to the home palate.

  18. I’m dying for one to come to Pakistan! It’s been a year since I’ve had a gordita or a layered burrito with Dr. Pepper. :(

  19. Guess wht ive been going to taco bell ev weekend and loving it ..well its nothing like they have in US but its still ok better than Mcdonalds in india brrr!!

  20. I dont know why people are crazy about Taco Bell here, When I was in US I had lots pf real Mexican food, and Taco Bell cant match a single one there, In the US Americans usually avoid it and infact named it as “Taco Hell”…

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