Eating Horse

I’ve had my share of suspect meat throughout my travels and have learned to live by the Mystery Meat Rule of Ignorance: Don’t ask and assume it is cow.

I ate a lot of meat in Kazakhstan a few years ago and for the most part, enjoyed whatever I found on my plate. Sure, the meat was a bit strange at times, but hey, it must Kazakh cow!

I don’t recall, however, eating the most famous plate of meat in Kazhakstan, the national dish of beshbarmak. Had I done so, I would have known immediately it wasn’t my friend the cow.

According to a Reuters article by Michael Steen, Beshbarmak actually comes from at least two, and perhaps even more, four-legged animals; the horse and the lamb. More specifically, it is stewed horse head, lamb, and liver. Apparently the liver can come from a variety of different creatures, hoofed or otherwise. The photo above includes beshbarmak served with the ever popular side dish of koybas: a boiled sheep’s head.

The good news is that if the barnyard found on your plate tastes a bit funny, you can always wash it down with a swig of Kumys. That’s fermented mare’s milk for all you non-Kazakhs out there.