Eating beef in India

Note: Being a Hindu I have never eaten beef and neither do I intend to. I do not endorse the killing of cows and I am for complete ban on cow slaughter throughout India. This post is for information only.

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Some foreign tourists from the USA and Europe love their beef so much that some of them start having withdrawal symptoms if they don’t eat beef for a period of time. Now if you are one of those people who are craving for a ham burger or beefsteak while on your trip to India, you’re out of luck. Most places in India will not have beef on their menu. In fact, you are not going to find any beef in any fast food chain restaurants including western ones such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut or Domino’s. You won’t find the Big Mac burger in an Indian McDonald’s restaurants rather you’ll have a ‘Maharaja Mac’ which will be the same size as their Big Mac counterpart but will have chicken burgers in it.

eating beef in India
Mughali Beef curry in Agra, India. Photo by VasenkaPhotography

If you are craving for beef during your stay in India then a good place to go is Goa. About 27% of the population of Goa are Christians and many restaurants run by Christians will include beef (also pork) on their menu. In fact, many restaurants at the beach especially in the tourist areas will serve beef burgers. Although, Hindus of Goa won’t eat beef there is little taboo about eating beef in Goa.

In Delhi, the capital of India, most Hindus may not know this but many foreign owned restaurants and Muslim-dominated areas of Nizamuddin area of New Delhi or Jama Masjid (Jama Mosque) of Old Delhi will serve beef. The menu may not have explicit labeling of cow meat but many regulars will know about it. So you will need to enquire in these restaurants if they serve beef or not. Many Hindus may not have a clue that they have mistakenly eaten beef being sold as mutton (lamb) in some of these restaurants. You can identify Muslim restaurants by the signs at the entrance. They will have an Urdu sign along with Hindi and English. In addition, devout Muslims wearing skull caps, so you might find people at the till or the waiters wearing them. Although slaughtering of cows is illegal in Delhi, it is still available in Muslims areas of Delhi.

beef market in kerala
Beef market in kerala. Photo by Nicolas Mirguet

However, beef is legally available in Christian dominated areas of Kerala, Tribal Jharkhand (former South Bihar), Muslim populated areas of West Bengal and the whole of Buddhist/Christian North-East India. Calcutta (now Kolkata) has a large illegal Muslim Bangladeshi population operating beef markets that cater for the numerous restaurants and dhabas there.

The state of Uttar Pradesh stands as one state that has large number of cow slaughterhouses for meat export. Beef can be found in Muslim areas of Rampur, Ghaziabad, Moradabad, Aligarh, Agra (where the Taj Mahal is). Hyderabad is another place where you can get beef. It said that that Hyderabad is the best place to have beef biryani and kebabs. In fact, the Hindu “dalits” of Hyderabad have been eating beef in India for centuries.

Interestingly, the people in the state capital of Kashmir, Srinagar the only Muslim dominated state of India refrains from consuming beef keeping the Kashmiri tradition of religious and cultural harmony alive (known as Kashmiriyat or Kashmiri Nationalism). However there is no such taboo in the Kashmiri countryside. Recently some kind of disruption has been brewing up. Some Muslims of Kashmir have taken up eating beef just to piss the Hindus off.

You need to remember that cow meat are often replaced by cheaper bull or buffalo meat and sold as beef. You will have to confirm this with the restaurant. If people of Europe can be cheated into eating “horse meat” rather than beef, this can easily happen in India too.

Why beef cannot be found on the Indian menu

  • Hindus consider the cow as the symbol of life (and cows not worshipped)
  • Cow meat is not feely available in India
  • Any hint of cow slaughter can trigger riots
  • There is no big demand for beef
  • There are no organized slaughter houses for cows
  • Most Indian states have banned cow slaughter
  • Slaughter of cows is a sensitive issue
  • India has a civilian anti-cow slaughter and cow enforcement team

There are some (so-called) intellectuals and historians who claim that Hindus used to eat beef in ancient (referred to as Vedic) times. Funny thing is that many of these English speaking intellectuals don’t even speak a word of Sanskrit and they come to the conclusion that Hindus once used to eat beef. Fact is that mainstream Hindus never eat beef. Anyway even if they did in ancient times it doesn’t mean Hindus have to eat beef now. Times change and religions evolve and we don’t eat beef in this day and age.

You can learn more about Hinduism in my book
Hinduism Made Easy: Hindu Religion, Philosophy and Concepts

However, you still can find beef in some upscale restaurants, hotels and bars with a significant foreign customers and some non-Hindu owned restaurants. Despite non-availability of beef, India happens to be the world’s third largest beef exporter after Brazil and Australia. At the moment, there are restrictions on eating beef in many Indian states. The best option is to refrain from eating beef in India completely.

Just a few days back, a man was murdered in his own house because the villagers thought that he had beef in his fridge. The disgusting paid Indian media is currently trying to whip up this story. Most of the Indian channels are run by supporters of the opposition parties hence they will do everything to create tension and defame the current ruling party. Anyway, whatever the case maybe, people of India takes the killing of cows very seriously.

Finally, I strongly suggest you DO NOT attempt to eat beef in India. We love our cows and in addition there are 24 out of 29 states in India that have some kind of regulations prohibiting cow slaughter and sale of beef.

19 thoughts on “Eating beef in India”

  1. Hi Shalu ji

    I also feel that people should avoid eating beef. As you said that we consider cow as a symbol of life. Cow give us milk to drink and we had so many benefits of it. Even her shit ( Gobar ) also helpful to us to make ( Upale ) to burn to make chapattis. Right?

    So people should completely avoid to eat beef.

    Thanks for your informative post.

    • You cut trees to make books. But they give oxygen and give shade in summer and provides ecological balance. And yet India is one of the countries where heavy deforestation takes place. There is good and bad in many things but all those good and bad things are based on one’s perceptions. It doesn’t matter whether your christian or not. There people from different religions who follow their own food ethics. Religion is belief system and cannot scientifically be proven. But saying that hunters tend to be meat eaters and farmers tend to be vegetarians is a generally and widely known and accepted fact. It has historical weightage which acts as proof. Where as religion has know proof but a passed down system of belief. Even today you can see hunters in different parts of the world where hunting is legal who prefer to eat meat. But I don’t see God there is no proof. That’s why beliefs or religion should not be used for passing legal ir political acts. Any such act born out of a particular belief system is therefore flawed. Besides meat was staple food for hunters where arable land was not available. They were only able to get arable land after progress and deforestation. So the real question is not whether who eats meat or not. The true question is should human beings exist on this planet or not? Should they?

      • To add to the earlier comment books are food for the mind and beef is food for the body. In conjunction to the comment about trees being similar to cows in their uses and so on.

        P.S. Don’t worry when we die we become food for the earth, all of us. It doesn’t matter whether your vegetarian, non-vegetarian or Political Leader #1 death comes for all, and I dig that law. Unbiased, unprejudiced, fair.

  2. No It’s totally wrong in my Opinion. If you are eating chicken it’s not at all wrong eating Beef. Because every life is valuable. If you are not eating chicken or mutton it’s wrong eating beef. Totally It’s wrong to eat any Non veg. What do you say mam. Many Writers and Poetic giving back their awards for killing muslims

  3. Being a vegetarian I can understand the blind idiocy of these meat eating types. A new heaven and new earth using the upcoming robotic leisure to work with light to uplift nature. Leonardo d’vinci the veggie, 7th day Adventists and Dr. Kellogg with his organic veggie natural foods in USA early 1800’s. Maybe society should pay attention to what God and heaven wants, not their apelike materialistic views of calculated greed and animal rationalization with Gone with the Wind and Gay sex etc. Time to move forwards past these hypocrites.

  4. Hi, it has been a great issue in the recent years about eating beef in India. I hope it is not same everywhere over there and environment is good at most of the places.

  5. I am from Kerala, there is no cow slaughter act here. why you guys saying beef beef beef. it is COW… not buffalo…Please avoid the word beef. We should consider cow as a symbol of life. So I am agree with you

  6. I want to eat better and feel better. Stop supporting cruelty against chicken, pig, cow, fish and other animals being killed for human food. Giving positive feedback along with negative feedback reduces discomfort and anxiety in those carnivorous human, rather than getting killed them-self for this issue.

  7. I am in little confusion about this, Actually, I feel nobody following this religions (saving Cow) they just show ups that they religious loving their cultures. Once side they say “save cow and Its our mother” and other side they left the cow on road to eat garbage (Poly bags, Infected papers and other unwanted things) just because she is not giving milk. If cow is producing milk they otherwise they don’t how mean they are.

    If they really value their culture then why they do such things. I am not support of including cow in daily meals but, it is better to kill in one chance instead of killing everyday.

  8. I dont like such things, I dont know why people eat Non-veg. How can they do this only for taste which is only for sometime. God does not give any right to human to kill animal only for eating. Cow is equal as God in our hindu religion. We worship the cow even lord krishna give his services to cow.

  9. I don’t like beef Killer After reading your article i’m felling So sad but i’m unable to do anything.

    Please save Cows India don’t replicate Other countries culture with our Culture.

  10. If they really value their culture then why they do such things. I am not support of including cow in daily meals but, it is better to kill in one chance instead of killing everyday.

  11. Though a hard core non vegetarian by birth, I somehow don’t prefer beef. May be it comes from our family’s upbringing, where we are made to worship cows and treat them well.

  12. I am a Hindu , from Kerala and i eat beef. No holy texts or scripts of Hinduism said that cow is a holy animal…. Even you can see that in old times Brahmins eats beef….it can be seen in Mahabharata also. These are political gimmicks to get vote .

  13. A post with many prejudice details e bom verified information such as saying some Muslim in Kashmir now eat meat JUST TO PISS Hindus of… Ridiculous and not accurate at all. More likely they quit eating meat just because of government and manipulate people’s pressure.
    Do better.


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