Tashi Dolma is not pleased. In the midst of running a kitchen in the bylanes of Majnu ka Tila, she is suddenly forced to consider a re-print of her restaurant’s menu card. She is the owner of Tee Dee, a 25-year-old Tibetan eatery in the area that serves a variety of dishes, ranging from vegetables to meats, including buff.
The menu card, however, calls it “beef”. After the controversy over “beef fry” that stirred out of control in Kerala House on Monday evening, Dolma is apprehensive.
Watch: The Big Beef Debate — Kerala And Its Meat (click here)
“You don’t get beef anywhere in Delhi. We don’t even cook it in our kitchens. I don’t know why it has become such a serious matter now,” says Dolma. She says she will now have to get her menu cards reprinted to replace “buff” instead of “beef”.
At INA Market, another restaurant which serves Kerala style food is also planning to change its menu card, which mentions beef instead of the buff that it actually serves.
“The dish has been called beef fry for years, even decades. We automatically call it that, though we have never served it at our restaurant. But the incident at Kerala House has scared us, and we have to change the name of the item on the menu soon,” says the owner on condition of anonymity.
By Tuesday evening, The Toddy Shop in Hauz Khas Village, a restaurant that specialises in Kerala’s cuisine, posted a photograph on their Instagram handle of a board inside the restaurant that read “We don’t serve cows!” accompanied with a doodle of a cow. For Thomas Fenn, one of the partners of Mahabelly, the seven-month-old eatery serving Kerala food in Delhi, beef was an important topic of discussion when the restaurant was being conceptualised months ago.
“In Delhi, the words beef and buff are used interchangeably, so even when restaurants serve buff, they write beef. At Mahabelly, we do buff, and use an anglicised version of the name of the dish in the menu. We also always inform the customer that it’s buff,” says Fenn.
While one would expect beef at any food joint that specialises in cuisine from Mizoram, since it is the second-most consumed meat in that state after pork, the Mizoram House canteen in Vasant Vihar “strictly” sells buff.
While ‘beef fry’ may or may not come back on the Kerala House canteen menu, the city’s restaurants, it seems, have some tweaking to do.