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McDonald’s to open first veg outlet in Amritsar

It may be the spiritual home of Sikhism but even Amritsar – it seems – can do with an occasional fix of saturated fat.

The world’s first wholly vegetarian McDonald’s is to open in the holy city, the company announced this week.

The fast-food chain has had a presence in India for nearly two decades, with 270 franchises serving ‘Indianized’ variants of McDonald’s staples, including ‘Masala’ fries, ‘Aloo Tikki’ burgers and mutton Big Macs, instead of the dehydrated beef variety found at outlets elsewhere in the world.

However, pure vegetarians and vegans – a vast majority of consumers in Hindu India – have been weary of the famed Golden Arches over concerns that meat dishes were still being prepared in the same kitchens as the veg.

The vegetarian outlet in Amritsar will be followed by a second in the Hindu holy town of Katra in Jammu and Kashmir.

McDonald’s said in a statement that the vegetarian outlets, “further speaks to McDonald’s efforts to cater to local tastes.”

Catering to local tastes has been a cornerstone of the company’s explosive global expansion in recent years; from Kosher products in Israel to Chicken and Rice combos in Indonesia and even beer on tap in Portugal.

The company’s first vegetarian restaurant however, hasn’t won over everyone in India.

An official from the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, told The Daily Telegraph that Mcdonald’s is an “organization associated with cow slaughter,” and “is attempting to humiliate Hindus by opening up locations in religious areas.”  

“We are definitely going to fight it,” he added.

–    Viji Alles

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