The Golden Arches have taken the world by storm, introducing U.S. fast food traditions everywhere. McDonald's is hip all over the world, including in India. However, the McDonald's menu is not universal.

In India, there are some menu items that are similar, but others that are much different from the U.S. menu. Through comparing the McDonald's menu in the U.S. and India, we can see that fast food menus can truly give us a perspective on cultural similarities and differences throughout the world. 

Items That Are Similar

In both the United States and India, popular breakfast items include Hot Cakes, McMuffins (sausage, egg, and/or cheese), and Hash Browns. 

sweet, ketchup, french fries
Alex Frank

Popular items that are listed on both menus include the McChicken, Filet-O-Fish, Chicken McNuggets, and of course the beloved fries. 

Items That Are Different

In terms of breakfast items, there are some options that are unique to the Indian McDonald's menu such as the Veg McMuffin (with a veggie patty) and the McEgg (different from an egg McMuffin because the egg is steamed and flavored with masala). 

The US menu has more options for breakfast such as oatmeal, parfaits, and breakfast burritos, all of which are not available in India. The US menu also has McMuffins with beef and bacon, both of which are not usually eaten in India due to religious beliefs. Therefore, no such items exist on the Indian menu. 

The McDonald's menu in India includes more vegetarian options and items inspired by Indian cuisine. Some of these options that are unique to Indian McDonald's are the Veg Pizza McPuff, Maharaja Mac (choose veg or chicken), McAloo Tikki (potato patty), McSpicy Paneer (cheese patty), and the Masala Grill Veg. 

The U.S. menu includes hamburgers and cheeseburgers of all different variations. Eating beef is not a common practice in India, as it goes against many religious beliefs.

Drink Options

Just like the United States, the Indian McDonald's drink options include classic Coke products, milkshakes, teas, and 3 types of coffee. Things unique to the Indian menu include McFloats (ice cream sodas) and Thumbs Up (Indian soda).

The Indian McDonald's drinks menu is pretty limited as compared to the US beverages menu. The US menu has more coffee drinks such as Frappes, lattes, and mochas. Also, the U.S. menu includes beverages like smoothies and hot chocolate.


beer, pizza, coffee
Jennifer Nigro

In the United States, a McChicken burger costs $1.29 (about Rs. 83.10). Medium fries cost $1.79 (about Rs. 115.30), and 6-piece Chicken McNuggets cost $3.99 (about Rs. 256.46).

In India, a McChicken burger costs Rs. 89 (about $1.38). Medium fries cost Rs. 75 (about $1.16) and 6-piece Chicken McNuggets costs Rs. 108 (about $1.68). Some of the higher prices in the US may have to do with minimum wage laws for McDonald's workers.

Other Differences In Menus

dairy, ice, coffee, chocolate, milkshake, yogurt, sweet, milk, cream
Alex Frank

In the U.S. there is one menu for McDonald's. However, in India, there are two different menus: one for North and East India and one for South and West India. The menu for South and West India has some more options. The range of beverages (hot and cold) and desserts is much wider than North and East India (though still not as vast as that of the US menu).

The primary difference between the US and Indian menu lies in the range of options both the menus offer. The Indian menu sadly lacks on a lot of fronts. Whether it is the range of burgers (the US offers ten burgers with ten Sandwiches while India offers twelve burgers with six breakfast burgers) or the wider range of desserts and sides.

One option that Indian McDonalds should learn from their US counterpart, is to incorporate healthier options. McDonald's US provides  a whole range of salads with sides like yogurt parfaits and apple slices, the Indian menu is primarily fast food with no healthy options at all. 

McDonald's is a world symbol. However, it is also a symbol of both similarities differences that exist within different cultures. A fast food menu can truly provide us with a sense of traditional Indian cuisine and the westernization of the cuisine.