Despite popular belief, beef dishes are available in India. But maybe not for much longer. In fact, India is, ironically, the #1 exporter of beef in the world.

24 of the 29 states in India have various regulations around the slaughter or sale of cows and their meat. But as of 26 May 2017, the Narendra Modi-led BJP Government have tried to bring all states in line by imposing a country-wide ban on the sale of cows and buffalos for slaughter at animal markets across India. Effectively banning the sale of cow meat in India.

Needless to say, beef eating is currently at the centre of a raging political controversy in India. There’s increasing ‘cow vigilantism’ in Hindu stronghold states like Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, and Maharastra where Muslims have been lynched for allegedly consuming beef. The states where beef was previously available are protesting and having ‘beef-eating parties’ to mock the law and its attack on their traditional eating habits.

No beef sign at McDonald's, India. Photo by Phil Whitehouse.
No beef sign at McDonald’s, India. Photo by Phil Whitehouse.

“Is it safe for tourists to eat beef in India?”

Generally, it’s not advisable. If you’re in Hindu strongholds like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, or Maharastra, it’s a definite no with the rise of cow vigilantism from fundamentalist Hindus (it’s extremely unlikely you’ll find it anyway, unless offered it by a local).

If you want to try beef in India, the risk is far less in the below states as beef is served there and is part of their traditional eating habits. You might be surprised to know that even some Hindus eat beef, it’s especially popular amongst Hindus in Kerala. According to The Hindu, around 6.4% of Hindus in India in 2011 consumed Beef or Buffalo.

States you’ll still find beef dishes served in restuarants:

  • Kerala
  • Karnataka
  • West Bengal
  • Goa
  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Meghalaya
  • Mizoram
  • Nagaland
  • Tripura
  • Sikkim
Seared rare beef with balsamic onions and green beans in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. Photo by Charles Haynes.
Seared rare beef served in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. Photo by Charles Haynes.

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