Horse Meat

by Nathan Hamm on 1/2/2006 · 9 comments

Sometimes I have a link sitting around that I keep forgetting to post but really mean to get around to eventually. I rarely end up posting such things because it seems that whenever I have something like this, more pressing or interesting stories come up. So, before I get back to paying close attention to more current news, I am finally now getting around to mentioning that C.J. Chivers had a story on eating horse in Kazakhstan.

Riding remains a symbol of Kazakh skill. Horse meat, horse fat, horse entrails and mare’s milk are principal ingredients in the national cuisine, and post-Soviet small businesses trade in horses and horse products with a vigor not seen in much of the economy here.

The season of horses is now. Every December and January, as sunlight drops away and winter hardens and darkens the steppe, Kazakhs harvest their animals.

I have actually been called “disgusting” for saying that horse might be some of the best meat I have ever eaten. It’s the truth though, and it’s nice to see a story like this one pop up in the Times.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 9 comments }

Matt W January 3, 2006 at 5:46 am

Kazy horse sausage is great! To get people to stop thinking how brutal you are for having eaten horse meat, just tell them how much better it is than dog meat…

Djana January 3, 2006 at 11:08 am

First of all, kazy is made from the specially bred horses. There is nothing wrong with eating it. I wish they sold it here somewhere. I love it!!!!! Its healthy too!

Nathan January 3, 2006 at 11:42 am

Good one Matt. I’ve heard dog meat is good too though.

The woman who told me this got a quick shot back from me accusing her of anti-Kazakh bigotry.

Rob January 4, 2006 at 6:37 am

I agree that eating horse meat /dog meat is not really any different to eating any other meat – I am a particular fan of dog meat having spent some time in Korea.
For more on Kazakhs and their love affair with horses check out this link:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianweekly/letterfrom/story/0,12807,1601034,00.html

Kuda January 4, 2006 at 7:33 am

Digressing. I heard how they killed the dogs – beaten to death in a sack to release adrenellin to soften the meat and give men more erm ‘strenght’ in certain areas. I ate dog a few times but was put off after hearing the story. Horse is great tho.

Samantha January 4, 2006 at 10:45 am

Meat is meat. You eat one, you eat all. I’d eat human flesh if prepared nicely, perhaps with a fruit glaze or something that brings out that nice gamey flavor. I wonder if different colored people taste different? Anyone know?

Disha January 4, 2006 at 6:35 pm

Samantha, trying to pull a Swift there, eh? 😉

Really distressing is the fact that one can’t bring kazy into the US due to customs regulations, and the last horse slaughterhouse was closed in the US relatively recently (now the only way to have horsemeat is to go across the border to Canada where there are restaurants and butcheries that serve it). The US is still the largest horsemeat exporter though, last I checked (it’s shipped to Europe, France and Belgium mostly).

Spanky McBean January 4, 2006 at 10:50 pm

Soylent Green is people, baby. A modest proposal indeed, Disha.

KZBlog January 6, 2006 at 9:07 am

A Kazakh student once left raw khazy in a taxi cab in New York, by accident. I want to know what the next people to get in the cab thought it was!

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