Two employees stand behind the counter of the first McDonald's fast-food restaurant in New Delhi, India, October 11, 1996.Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Chains like McDonald's stand out for how successfully they have adapted their products to India

Global fast food giants have been serving Indians for decades. They have moved towards regional flavours in recent years. The report was written by the BBC.

McDonald's opened its first outlet in an upscale Delhi neighbourhood in 1996.

The chain reinvented itself by tailoring its menu to local tastes.

There were meat patties without pork and beef. There was a variety of bold Indian flavours in the vegetarian spread, including a burger made out of potatoes and peas, a pizza McPuff, and spicy wraps made from cottage cheese.

The burger went national in no time.

The company's trademark golden logo became a ubiquitous presence across cities and its jingle was a reminder of the good times.

McDonald's has become a template for American fast food chains that are constantly localising their menu in order to dominate the Indian market. A range of offerings that are so liberally flavoured with Indian spices that they bear little resemblance to the original western counterpart.

The chairman of a consulting firm says that McDonald's, KFC and Domino's stand out for how well they have adapted their products to India.

Family eating at India's first McDonald's, which opened in 1996, in the Visant Vihar, upper/middle class area.Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Family eating at India's first McDonald's, which opened in 1996

India has a lot of different flavours in its food.

There are many ways in which papadam can be crushed into a portion of payasam in the southern state of Kerala.

International brands try to reach a large audience in India by adding more spices in case of salted foods or making sweets sweeter than in Europe, according to Mr Singhal.

Mr Singhal says that in the 1980s, a variant of the Maggi brand that was hot and spicy became an instant hit.

In recent years, brands have been experimenting with more and more unusual combinations in their food.

An Indian vendor walks past promotional posters for restaurants in KolkataImage source, Getty Images
Image caption, India is no stranger to a fusion of flavours in its food

The kesar pista is a new flavour of the chocolate-nougat bar. The thandai is a chilled sweetened milk drink with dry fruits, rose petals and saffron. McDonald's has included butter chicken in its burgers.

Homegrown brands like Bira have also jumped on the fusion bandwagon, offering mango flavoured lassi.

Some of the fusion food is done to satisfy a market need.

"Unusual food combinations go viral when they are covered by food bloggers and it gives a brand visibility." says Karan Dua, who runs the popular YouTube channel Dil Se Foodie.

In a country where there is a local substitute for everything and cuisines are part of a larger culture, new-fangled customisations can be tedious.

Are you thinking about burgers? vada, or greasy doughnuts, piping hot and so spicy that eating them can be an extraordinary feat of gastronomy.

Are you a fan of popcorn? Bollywood celebrities swear by the health benefits of bhel poori.

The momo is a staple of the local fast-food scene.

bhel poori, a crispy rice snackImage source, Getty Images
Image caption, Bollywood celebrities swear by the health benefits of bhel poori instead, a crispy rice snack

At regional level, tastes and food habits can change at every bend of the road.

He tried a fruit tea in western India last year. He remembers seeing an ice cream sandwich with slabs of cheese and butter at a store in another part of the state.

In Gujarat, people are used to mixing sweet and savoury in their food and so these combinations are popular there. It would be a hard sell in a city like Delhi.

Fast-foods are only one part of the spectrum.

She wanted to use French techniques and Indian flavours when she opened Le15 in south Mumbai.

There were many fun combinations, including paan (betel leaves) macarons, Chai or tea cupcakes, and green chilli truffles. As her menu received positive reviews, she began experimenting with new flavours, often using her parents asguinea pigs.

I like to look at my culture and life experiences to create menus. It can be disastrous, like a kala khatta macaron that never worked, but it can also be wonderful.

In this photograph taken on February 20, 2015, Indian pastry chef Pooja Dhingra poses holding a tray of macaroons at the Le15 - Patisserie bakery in Mumbai.Image source, Getty Images
Image caption, Pooja Dhingra opened the Le15 patisserie with a plan to use French techniques and Indian flavours

It is easier to market food that has a chef's personality and experience.

The best of the French and Indian world is always on the menu.

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