In the States, going into McDonald’s as a vegetarian is usually a pretty miserable experience. Occasionally you’ll find one that serves veggie burgers but they’re usually disgusting, and there’s not much for you except the fruit plate and the ice cream (even the french fries aren’t really vegetarian).
McD’s pretty much invented the book on mass-distributed frozen death in patty form. Which makes it a symbolically potent, unexpected twist that the Golden Arches are going veg at a new store in northern India.
As BBC points out, “Religiously observant Hindus see cows as sacred and avoid beef, while Muslims view pigs as unclean and avoid pork.” The vegetarian McAloo Tikki burger, on the other hand, is a win all around, accounting for 25% of sales at McD’s 271 stores in India.
The all-veg McDonald’s will open up shop near a temple in the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. Meat is not allowed at the temple, and the region has many vegetarians.
BBC notes “Rajesh Kumar Maini told the news agency: ‘There is a big opportunity for vegetarian restaurants as many Indians are vegetarian.’” McD’s is already planning their second all-vegetarian location.
Indians take their vegetarianism seriously. The rebellian against English colonialism in 1857 was largely due to the bullet casings that needed to be bitten off before going into muskets supposedly being coated with lard. Being forced to bite into pig fat was an ignominy the Indians would not endure.
In a quick 150 years Indian vegetarians have gone from callous hegemony under the world’s leading superpower to having one of the world’s most powerful corporations cater to their beliefs. Progress!