The debate of eating horse while travelling in Kazakhstan
The Fougner family travelled their way through Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan over 3 weeks in July, 2019. The trip was enjoyed by all, and certain aspects of it opened up debates amongst the family as to what they should or should not do. Food was a big one, with horse meat being such a prominent part of food culture and history in Kazakhstan. Read on to learn more!
-Blog Written by Cadence Roche
One of the topics of discussion that we had before going on this trip was around the eating of horse. An interesting topic to discuss with your kids, family or friends with whom you are travelling! We wanted to make sure that no one would be alarmed by seeing horse on the menus and in the markets as we had read about how horse meat is everywhere in Kazakhstan.
While we have traveled to many parts of the world and faced lots of diverse foods, this was the first time we faced the prospect of horse being a staple on almost every menu. As a group of travelers we are diverse in our opinions on this topic, and in our group some of us are keen to try horse meat and others are a hard no.
What’s interesting is that the Kazakhs respect horses and due to their respect for them, eat them, while we as North Americans respect horses and don’t eat them. Kazakhs are thought to have been the first to domesticate the wild horse and the country’s success and culture is thought to be directly tied to horses.
While at one point North Americans did eat horse meat, it is thought that because we moved away from using horses for transportation, horse became more like pets which in turn moved us culturally away from eating them. While Kazakhstan is now a thriving and modern country, eating horse meat is still deeply rooted in their culture and is thought to have many positive healing properties.
So we will be faced on this trip with the decision of whether or not to partake as the Kazakhs do in eating horse meat, while we will also experience riding them while we stay in the mountains later on in our trip.
What do you think? Would you or have you eaten horse meat?