Thang Co, Ha Giang: A specialty dish of the H’Mong ethnic group

by Lam Pham

Thang Co, Ha Giang dish surprised many people because of the strange name, but no one expected that that dish had such a special taste. Whenever it comes to Ha Giang – the land famous for its poetic buckwheat flower fields, everyone is stirred and remembers the rich and delicious Thang Co. Let’s find out with Karst Plateau what is special about this Thang Co dish.

1. Overview of Thang Co

Thang co is a popular dish of the Mong people that shows a very high sense of community

Thang Co is a specialty of the H’Mong people in Ha Giang, showing the culture of the rocky highlands. In the past, it was considered a luxury dish that was only prepared during important holidays. Nowadays, the life of the villagers has become much fuller, and this dish has also been passed down to each other and has become quite popular. Currently, when traveling to Ha Giang, you can see this specialty anywhere in the province without having to find it.

2. Ingredients for making the Thang Co dish

Traditional Thang Co is cooked from horse meat

Thang Co also has the rustic name of meat soup. This is a savory dish made from meat, organs, and bones of animals such as horses, buffaloes, cows, pigs, etc, combined with 12 types of forest herbs and simmered for hours until soft, it has a very rich flavor.

Traditional ingredients in the processing of Thang Co of the Mong people used to focus mainly on the meat, organs, and bones of horses. However, with the rarity of horse meat today, people have replaced it with meat from buffalo, beef, and pork. This change has created a variety in the types of meat used in thang co, allowing visitors to Ha Giang to enjoy the special taste of this dish.

3. How to prepare Thang Co dish

Processing thang co is not too fussy and complicated

Although it is a specialty of the high mountains, the processing process is not complicated. People can also try making it at home and enjoy it with their families. After slaughtering, the ethnic minority people here will begin to separate the tenderloin to bring to the Ha Giang fair market for sale. The rest such as fat, bones, heart, liver, and lungs will be washed to remove the bad smell and marinate spices for processing.

Next, they will take these separately filtered portions and stir-fry them until the meat starts to tighten again. The mixture will be poured with more water and simmered until tender. Before enjoying, visitors will add a few raw blood pudding horses to the bowl and cut them into small pieces. In particular, this specialty will be put in a bowl by the locals and placed on a large, long wooden board. Alternatively, they will squat and use a wooden ladle to enjoy.

In addition, the spices added during the processing of Thang Co will be seasoned according to the taste of the H’Mong ethnic people. From there, it creates a unique flavor for dishes from the Stone Plateau. In a Thang Co pot, people have used a lot of typical spices of the mountains here. All of them are special spices of the H’Mong people such as ginger, lemongrass, cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, and toasted lemon leaves. The proportions of these spices have been passed down through generations and still retain their meaning.

The H’Mong people often cook this dish on a large cast iron pan

At the market in the big district, the H’Mong people often cook this dish on a large cast iron pan. According to the Ha Giang tourism experience of Karst Plateau, Thang Co cooking is a symbolic activity of gathering crowds.

4. How to eat delicious ha giang with the right taste

The way to enjoy Thang Co also shows the typical culture of highland people

Not only is it a prominent specialty in Ha Giang, but Thang Co is also a cultural beauty imbued with the national identity of the indigenous people. After visiting Ha Giang tourist attractions, you can eat Thang Co with grilled corn tortillas or men men.

Visitors can experience the feeling of a H’Mong child through the experience of eating Thang Co with a glass of sweet corn wine. Corn wine will have a slightly sweet and rich taste, which is very suitable for pairing with the fragrant crispy Thang Co dish. All blended together extremely stimulating the taste buds of diners.

5. Addresses to eat Thang Co in Ha Giang

5.1 Au Viet Restaurant

Au Viet Restaurant has spacious space, very suitable for large groups of friends

Au Viet restaurant has a spacious, airy, and luxurious space, which is very suitable for groups and families. Many tourists have chosen this place to experience this rustic dish because the owner has variations in processing and ingredients to suit the general taste of the majority of visitors. The restaurant selects ingredients very carefully so it is quite hygienic, and the menu is also quite rich and delicious.

Address: No. 45 Dong Van town, Ha Giang province
Price: 50,000 – 300,000 VND/bowl
Operating hours: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m

5.2 Tien Nhi Restaurant

The dishes here are very rich and considered very delicious

Tien Nhi restaurant compared to other eateries has a narrower space, but the dishes here are very rich and considered very delicious. Coming here, you can enjoy thang co and black chicken at the same time in a very special 2-compartment hot pot. In addition, there are many other regional dishes to choose from.

Address: 15 3/2 Street, Dong Van, Ha Giang, Vietnam
Price: 50,000 – 300,000 VND/bowl
Operating hours: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m

5.3 Dong Van Fair Market

Thang co, a culinary specialty at Dong Van market, still maintains its traditional taste from the past to present

Thang Co, a specialty cuisine at Dong Van market, still maintains the traditional delicious taste from the old days to the present. There is a popular saying in the tourist community that “If you haven’t tried to win the battle, you haven’t really experienced the Dong Van rock plateau”. So, when you visit this place, don’t forget to enjoy the unique taste of this special dish at least once.

Address: Dong Van Ancient Town, Dong Van Town, Ha Giang Province
Price: 20,000 – 200,000 VND/bowl
Operating hours: Every Sunday

5.4 Moc Mien Restaurant

The beef Thang Co dish here is very delicious, the broth is clear, the fatty meat is extremely attractive

This address always boasts a diverse and attractive menu. Coming here, you will experience many typical specialties in just one place without having to travel much. The most popular is still Thang Co, Ha Giang dish loved by many domestic and foreign tourists

Address: No. 140 Group 2, Dong Van town, Ha Giang province
Price: 100,000 – 300,000 VND
Operating hours: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m

Thang Co is really one of the unique specialties of the mountains, not simply a traditional dish of the nation, but also a symbol of special culture. It shows the diversity and uniqueness of ethnic minorities, especially the H’Mong ethnic group. When you arrive in this remote and untouched land, you will not only experience the stunning natural beauty but also enjoy an impressive folk specialty. Karst Plateau is sure to be an unforgettable impression in your heart. In addition, Ha Giang has many other specialties waiting for you to enjoy such as  Au Tau porridgedried buffalo meatsteamed rice rolls, Bac Me bamboo-tube rice,  grilled moss, etc.

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