| Packaged meat at a Suravi outlet. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Calcutta, Aug. 28: Sated with mutton curry, chicken korma and beef kebabs' Set the oven for a turkey roast or cook quail curry for a change.
Several “unconventional” meat are now within the grasp of Calcuttans with the state government raising the shutters on three outlets that stock cured meat of turkeys, rabbits, quails, cockerels and ducks.
The shops, named Suravi, have come up at New Market, Entally market and Jadavpur. Apart from meat, they are stocking milk and milk products like ghee, butter, mishti doi and paneer. The government promises one at every market if the new varieties of meat take off.
“People’s food habits have changed so much in the last few years. They are eating out more these days and are much more adventurous with food. Earlier, middle-class Bengalis would not eat so much of mushrooms and babycorn. Now these are selling very well and indicates that if a new product with genuine merit is marketed well, people will not reject it,” an official of the animal resource development department said.
The department began efforts to popularise quail and turkey through an outlet on the Writers’ Buildings premises. But few people knew about it; and those who knew found it difficult to access it because of stringent security at the seat of power.
“The outlet in Writers’ will continue to have all the different kinds of meat available at the new Suravi outlets. Our idea is to expand and popularise these other forms of meat that most people know so little about,” another official added.
While there is something new to tickle the foodies’ taste buds, poultry owners can look forward to a business boom.
The government claims it is offering the meat at a rate cheaper that the market price. “We procure them directly from farmers and offer them at a fair price. And since profit-making is not our sole purpose, our prices are naturally lower,” the Writers’ official said.
For one, turkey is available at the Suravi stores at Rs 125 per kg, whereas in city markets the rates are known to be between Rs 300 to Rs 350 per kg, and goes even higher during Christmas.