We may not have Kobe beef, the Japanese bovine meat famous for its tenderness and flavour, but we have something similar of a delicacy– the Mirkadim beef.
Mirkadim cows, raised especially for the Eid cattle market, on sale exclusively at the Rahmatganj cattle market in the city yesterday.
The cattle from Mirkadim, an area in Munshiganj, are one of the most sought after among the country’s beef connoisseurs. And you won’t get Mirkadim cows everywhere or in large numbers.
There is just one cattle market during every Eid-ul-Azha where traders sell the particular sub-species of cattle. The numbers are limited and the cows are, like those from Kobe, quite pricey.
For around five decades, Mirkadim cows are exclusively being sold at the Rahmatganj cattle market every year.
What is so great about this Rajasthani breed of cattle raised specially for the Eid cattle market?
Firstly, the meat of this cow is extra tender with a distinct flavour, different from any other. Secondly, you won’t find a bull among the cattle being sold. The cows are all white in colour with a reddish tint. Their eyebrows and horns are also white, making them look quite different from a distance.
“This species are generally brought through West Bengal,” said Ziaul Haque, one of the cattle traders who brought 40 such cows in the market yesterday, “but we also bring them from Rajasthan.”
This year, the traders have brought only around 250 such cows. Only a decade ago, the number soared as high as 3,000, traders say.
Lack of supply from India and rise in the price of cattle feed are the main reasons for the declining availability of Mirkadim cows, said the traders.
With such restrictive availability, its no surprise that each cow would be sold at a price of Tk 70,000 or 80,000, almost double the price of an ordinary cow of the same size. Some of them will cost even higher, even up to Tk 2.5 lakh each.
The traders have no difficulty selling them too.
“I will buy seven Mirkadim’s cows from the market for my family as the meat is very delicious and it is one of our family traditions to buy one,” said Selim who comes here every year on a particular day like his father and grandfather.
The same goes for Mohammad Sani, a resident of Sundor Rai Sen Lane of Lalbagh in the city, who has also gone there to buy Mirkadim cows to maintain his family tradition.
Traders said there are over 50 such families of old town to surely visit the market to buy this particular species as their choice of sacrificial animals during Eid-ul-Azha.
The Mirkadim cows are typically sold out within just one day, said Nure Alam, a resident of Lalbagh who also came to buy this cow. What he implies is that you may not get to see any of these cows today.
But there are a huge number of cows of other species in that market.
Traders from Mirkadim collect the cows from different districts of the country and India and rear those for around eight months in order to make them fit for sale in the market, said Ziaul.
“We rear the cows like our own and ensure special diets like Jau rice (a specially cooked rice), grounded maize powder and chick peas for which the cow’s price remains high,” said Shukkur Miah, another trader.
The tradition of selling this cow in the Rahmatganj market started five decades ago when the field (used as the market) was called Gani Miyar Hat, said Mofizur Rahman, general secretary of Garu Babshayi Samity in Mirkadim.
The Rahmatganj club took charge of the field after independence.