co cooks a 5-horse meal, a Thang co festival and its
featured horse meat dishes will for the first time be the
focus of Bac Ha tourism's cultural week, held between May 30
and June 2 in the northwestern province of Lao Cai Vietnam.
If you have never tried horse meat, the Bac Ha tourism week
taking place from May 30 to June 2 may be the perfect
there won't be enough? With the largest pan this country has
ever seen boiling five horses simultaneously, there should
be enough to feed all those curious and hungry visitors.
The horse meat, called thang co, is a traditional dish of
the Hmong ethnic group in the mountainous north-western
With the thang co festival organised for the first time
during the local tourism week, this event is looking to make
its mark with a giant pan measuring 5m in diameter and 1.5m
in depth, large enough to be entered in the Vietnam book of
According to Tran Huu Son, director of the Lao Cai
Province's culture and Information Department, a two-horses
cart will carry the giant pan set to be cast in Bac Ha for
Following its grand entrance will be a ceremony to set fire
to cook thang co, accompanied by the sounds of a musical
orchestra. Tourists taking part in Bac Ha festival can come
to the ceremony and enjoy the special dish.
Thang co has been known for years as a speciality of the Hmong
culture. The technique of making it is quite simple.
After the animal is killed and washed, its internal parts
are removed, which are later cut up. These parts are put in
a big pan and fried in their own grease. Minutes later,
water is added to the pan and the meat is simmered for
To spice up the dish, salt and some spicy fruits including
"thao qua" and "dia dien" can be added, giving to the dish an
Wine is always recommended for men when they eat thang co
and women often eat it with "com nam" (rice balls) or men men
During the group meal of thang co, participants exchange
stories about crops, hunting, villages and daughters-in-law.
For young bachelors and bachelorettes, it can be a good
opportunity to make new friends and even find a future
husband or wife.