By John E. Carey
February 3, 2007
As you get ready to feast and feed on the biggest beer drinking, chip munching and guacamole slurping day of the year Sunday, I'll be with my Vietnamese family hoping for the best.
They have it in their minds to make a big batch of Thang Co.
Thang Co is basically noodles and horse meat and the hottest, spiciest sauce you can lay your hands on.
Thang Co has three wonderful advantages: First, it makes you feel hot. In fact, NhanDan (The Communist Party's leading newspaper in Vietnam, translates like "Peoples News") recommends Thang Co to warm you up during a cold evening.
Thang Co is also best consumed with beer, rice wine or your other favorite libation. Lots of your favorite libation.
For men, Thang Co also makes your, ahem, let us say "Arnold," hard. Since this is a family web site I'll say this about that: think of the "FIRM-inator." Forget the Viagra after the Super Bowl: I'll be stoked on Thang Co and Jim Beam.
Actually, horse is the wrong word for the meat you need for Thang Co. You need a little Pony. A tender pony. Mister Ed is way too old for Thang Co. My "Ba" (means Grandmother) says you need "lamb-like horse." Not a Clydesdale.
So while the rest of America and many of my friends in Canada and around the world (and let's not forget our troops serving everywhere) are scarfing up the fried chicken, ribs, pizza, pretzels, potato chips and....well....you fill in the rest....
I'm eating Two Bowls of Thang Co.
As the Brits say, Thang Co makes you "RANDY."
Watch out Honey! Arnold Need YOU!
Let hot dishes keep you warm on cold days
(Communist Solution to Lack of Heat!)
NhanDan (Vietnam) February 1, 2007
The cold weather often makes you hesitate to go out but never let it put off your idea of dining out at night when you are in Lao Cai and other provinces in northern Vietnam.
Going out in the chilly evening will be a nice experience if you know where to go and what to eat.
Eating local hot food specialties with friends during a holiday in northern Vietnam might be a good suggestion to take into consideration, as the dishes will somehow help keep your body warm.
One of the hot dishes that you should try is Thang Co, a popular, traditional dish of the Mong people that can be found in Sapa, Lao Cai City and markets in northern Vietnam. It is quite likely that you would find the original Thang Co unappetizing due to its unfriendly smell and flavour. Knowing this, restaurateurs make some changes to suite the taste of both local and foreign tourists.
To make a tasty Thang Co, restaurant owners travel far to markets of minority peoples to find and buy ponies and grown-enough goats and bring them home. They get up in the wee hours the next day to slaughter the animals and then cut their meat, bones and intestines into pieces, making a stew of the mixture, which is served in a big hot-pot.
You will use chopsticks to pick and then dip the meat chops and intestines into a bowl of spicy sauce before eating. Thang Co soup can be eaten with bread, instant noodles, vegetables and herbs.
Because the dish is served in a big a soup pan ethnic people do not eat Thang Co alone. They usually sit around low tables on mats in restaurants and enjoy the dish with a drink of wine made from maize or other wines.
At markets of ethnic peoples like Bac Ha, Thang Co is a favourite of men; they like to gather around a fire and the big hot-pot to slurp Thang Co, chat and drink wine from morning till afternoon when the colourful markets are open. It is not recommended that tourists try the Thang Co at these markets.
However, foreign tourists can enjoy Thang Co at Muong Khuong and other restaurants when they stay in Lao Cai. Here locals also put sausages, meat, seafood and eggs on open stalls for visitors to choose for grilling over burning charcoal. The heat of burning charcoal together with the wine and friendly chat will keep you warm when dining out at night in Lao Cai. (SGT)