When the tides of empire ebb, returnees and counter-colonists travel with them. So Britain has become a springboard for the worldwide projection of Indian food. The Netherlands has played a similar role for Malay dishes and France for those of the Maghrib and Vietnam. In the same period, globalisation, long-range mass tourism and worldwide migrations have demonstrated that the West is highly receptive to exotic innovation, while beyond the Middle East, the peoples of the eastern and southern extremities of Asia are far harder to wean onto alien cuisines. McDonald’s and Starbucks buck this trend – though one doubts whether their popularity has much to do with their food. Their customers in India, Japan and China seem rather to be choosing a “lifestyle option”.
— History à la Carte