23 April 2010

Running to the border...in India

Still trying to wrap my head around this. Taco Bell in India. I thought about all the people I know who either came from India directly or whose families are from there, and I can't think of one time when they said "Hey Gene, I'm hungry. What do you say we stop over at Taco Bell."

Not once.

I thought about all the Spanish (and specifically Mexican) people I know and while I've gone with them to Indian restaurants, I likewise can't think of one time (after High School) when any of them have asked to stop at a Taco Bell. Okay I can think of one time, but I remember being specifically directed to order something that had 'real meat'.

I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with Taco Bell. Fast food is fast food. But as far as I'm concerned Taco Bell is to Mexican food as Panda Express is to Chinese food. And I don't eat at either.

Maybe I'm spoiled. One of the perks of growing up in Chicago in a neighborhood full of immigrant families is the insane access to authentic home cooked food from someone who knew how to do it right. Visit someone's house after school? Get shown some love with a warm plate of food. Walking down the street with a bag full of warm empanadas was as common as the summertime jingle of the cart pushing paleta guy walking up and down the streets. Uptown Tacos? Yes. Taco Bell? Well, maybe if absolutely nothing else was open. (And trust me, rarely was there ever something else not open.)

So I guess the ultimate message I have for by Desi friends is that if you're in India, want to taste something somewhat related to Mexican food, and have absolutely no access to any Mexicans working abroad, then Taco Bell may be your best shot. But I also have yet to meet an Australian who said that going to Outback Steakhouse was "just like home".

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