Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where's the Beef?

It seems as though eating meat in India is optional. Vegetarians are by far the largest group of food-consumers in India. This is mainly driven by the Hindu and Buddhist religions prevalent here (over 80% of the population). The veg diet is so important that the government here has adopted symbols to show if a product uses proper Vegetarian ingredients. Green denotes Veg and brown is for Non-veg products. The diet choice is not drawn simply by religious faith. It also seems to be connected to caste, region and one's status in the community. Many Hindus do, in fact, eat meat - chicken, mutton (which in India is actually goat), and sometimes water buffalo. Most of the meat shops are Muslim-owned, since this is one of the largest meat-eating communities here.

Cows are everywhere in India - one of the sacred animals of Hinduism. They are not wild, (although you would think they are). The cattle are farm animals, managed and milked by their owners. The casual observer might not notice, but if you really spend time observing the cattle of India, all of them have a routine. They wander out in the day to scrounge for food. Only to return back home in the evening to be milked by the farmer.

Most meat shops are open-air, fly infested establishments - only for the locals and (in my opinion) the brave. We have found a nice shop for meats in Noida's Sector 50 called, "Chick Mart." The shop is fairly clean and offers fresh boneless chicken and fish (flown in from Mumbai). The shop even has bacon and pork sausage (also hard to come by as it is not permissible by the Muslim faith).

Beef is everywhere, but you won't find it on your plate - just wandering about in city traffic.


thenguyens said...

Long live the vegetarians!

HouseBoy said...

Mmmm, mmm, good. I do miss the occasional medium-rare steak, though.

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