Enjoying a sumptuous meal of beef steak or chilly beef in Maharashtra at the fanciest of restaurants is a forgotten dream, at least for now. The beef ban in the state has beef lovers pining for the meat on their platter. For people from low income groups, beef is an economical choice. Swapna Rananaware, an educationist who runs two schools for children from low income groups in Pune and is also a fitness enthusiast is not happy. She believes banning beef in Maharashtra translates into an entire industry being affected and several jobs being lost. After all beef is often a poor man’s choice for meat. “Why just the poor, being into kick boxing which is a high intensity combat workout, I require a substantial intake of protein which I used to get by consuming half a kg of beef daily and it is easy on the pocket. A plate of beef kebabs would cost me Rs.35 as compared to Rs.120 for a plate of mutton kebabs at the same food stall”, she says emphatically.
Miles away in West Bengal, beef eaters heave a sigh of relief as they can look forward to beef as part of their daily diet and that too at an affordable price. Beef rolls are priced at Rs.16 to Rs.18 approximately which is way lower than an egg roll priced at about Rs.20 to Rs.22. The kebabs come at Rs. 8 or 10 per kati, which is about 100 grams. Sales professional Patrick Anthony says, “As a fitness lover, I would prefer beef as a cost effective and healthier source of protein when compared to chicken or egg. Also beef with fat-free portions is the healthiest red meat when compared to lamb meat or pork. When I go to Oly pub, a mug of beer is best accompanied with the trademark beef steak”.
Oly Pub’s Beef Steak – The Signature Dish
“Oly pub’s beef steak does not have that finesse. It is almost always overdone and very oily. But for me and a lot of other people from Kolkata working outside, it stands for home. That familiar flavour is comfort food for us. Now with the beef ban in Maharashtra, it is a symbol of freedom that Kolkata still enjoys, at least where food is concerned”, says Delhi-based journalist Shutapa Paul. Like her, there are others for whom a visit to Oly Pub is incomplete without a beef steak which has been around for decades.
Where else do Kolkatans go? “My favorite is kebabs with rumali roti at Nafeels in Park Circus or Nizams in New Market area. Nizams also serves khiri roll made of beef breast, another delicacy that I love”, adds Patrick Anthony. Both are traditional places in Kolkata and a haven for beef lovers.
On any given day, beef eaters prefer including beef in their regular diet, priced at about Rs. 160 kg, against dressed chicken which is about Rs.190 per kg or lamb about Rs.480 per kg.
Students and professionals in Mumbai and Pune who are originally from Kolkata, will have to wait for their annual leave and get their hands on a ticket transporting them back home. Once it is touchdown Kolkata, there is reason to rejoice with chilly beef on the menu and in their stomachs. Let’s not forget the beef steak at Oly pub, a quintessential delight.