Kalman: The one-stop shop for your meat supplies this season
Come Christmas and one of the city’s famous cold storage sees hundreds of people queuing up in front of its doors to get the tastiest meat delicacies for the festive season. The Kalman Cold Storage, located at Free School Street, opposite St. Thomas Day’s School is the most sought after meat shop during the month of December.
Thus, we decided to go and see for ourselves the reason why it’s so famous and attracts customers even after eight decades.
On entering the shop and introducing ourselves we were greeted by Mr. Jay Ghosh, a friendly middle-aged man who was more than happy to take in our questions. He explained that Kalman has been running successfully for the past eighty- six years. In fact, it used to be the only all India storage wherein three meats – beef, pork and chicken, were sold under one roof. However, he added that many more may have sprung up during the course of time, but Kalman remains the first ever shop of its kind. He commented, “This is the only shop where under the same roof you will get three items- beef, pork and chicken. Earlier, this was the only shop all over India where you would get three types of meat in the same shop. But now some others have sprung up. But in West Bengal this is the only shop.”
Upon asking about the special items they have in their cold storage, Mr. Ghosh narrated a list which we saw, had mention of items that constituted less than half of the master list of meats available in the shop. According to him, “salt meat, ox tongue, spiced beef, roast pork, Hungarian sausage, duck roast, turkey roast etc.” are mostly loved by customers. He added that, “Hungarian sausage is famous all over India. This is the only shop which sells Hungarian sausage. No other shop in Kolkata or in India sells it. If they do, they purchase their supplies from us.”
When we asked him how the situation is during Christmas ; he continued with extreme happiness saying that Christmas is the busiest times of the year, and that the crowds start arriving in queues from the 18th or 19th of December till about 22nd December. In fact, the crowds last as late as ten pm at night on those days. Kalman has become so popular with the people over the years that he commented that while “On 22nd December we have majority of the people coming from Kolkata; on 23/24th the crowd comes from outside the city.”
Looking at high demands of meat from their shop every year, they have also arranged for taking orders. This has been done so that they can get the supplies ready for their customers in a day or two. The benefit that the customer gets is the assurance of getting their supplies and not hearing that the shop has exhausted the product, after standing the queue for quite some time.
In the course of this pleasant chat we managed to speak to one of Kalman’s regular customers who had come to order a lot of meat for Christmas. Mr. Arijit Sen, said, “I used to come here with my mother, then I have been coming here with my wife for about a couple of years and now I have been sent on a Saturday errand by my friends. So, I have been coming here for close to 30 years now.” The fact that the customers have been visiting this shop for over thirty years shows its immense popularity with the locals and also reflects its high quality products. He further commented that his favourite too, was the Hungarian Sausage because, “Everyone seems to love that and that’s amazing Sunday breakfast.” He even disclosed his Christmas plans with us, stating that he would be hosting a party at his place and the supplies would obviously be coming from Kalman.
Thus, with passing time, Kalman has stood the test of producing high quality meat products as well as maintaining its standard in a way that has retained its loyal customers for over thirty years. Its popularity and fame has reached every household in Kolkata making them one of the main assorted -meat suppliers of the city. Every customer who has ever visited this place has left satisfied, wishing for the cold storage to last many more years in the future.
By Subhadrika Sen and Sneha Rebecca Francis