Cheval, as the French call it, has graced the Gallic diet since Napoleon’s troops tucked into soupe de cheval and swapped salt and pepper for gunpowder. Foal filet was actually banned in butchers until the 1990s, but today steak à cheval is a common sight in supermarkets.
Perhaps it is a measure of how high the Japanese hold horse in esteem that its raw form, sakura, shares its name with the nationally cherished cherry blossom, thanks to its light pink colour. Sweet-tooths should indulge in basashi - horse meat ice cream.
Wild horses wouldn’t drag a Belgian from smoked and sliced paardengerookt served in a sarnie or salad. Gallop to the Low Countries’ edible equine epicentre, Vivoorde, for a slap-up stallion steak. The locals love it so much they are nationally known as Pjeirrefretters, horse eaters. And you thought Belgium was boring.
China is by far the world’s biggest consumer of horse meat, although we mustn’t generalise – it is rarely eaten outside the provinces of Guangxi and Yunnan. The signature dish of the south is horse meat rice noodles – chomp a former champion on the hoof from a street stall.
One of Ljubljana’s must-do activities is to enter the final furlong of night on the lash with lashings of hot horse from, er, Hot Horse. The house special is its horse burger in a bun, but it’s no one-trick pony – they also do horse tortillas.
In Tonga, you won’t find horse doner in your average kebab shop. As a beast of burden, man’s other best friend is held in such high regard that it is only eaten at special occasions like funerals and royal visits. Such occasions gave rise to the saying ‘eat like a king’.
Cavallo is popular in several parts of Italy. Try traditional regional recipes in Bari, Parma, Venice, Verona, and especially in the province of Padua, where the town of Legnaro holds the Festa del Cavallo, at which you can admire prize specimens, then eat them. If horse is old hat, head to Sardinia to try stracotto d'asino - donkey stew.
No, this is not a Borat-style joke. Kazakhs go crazy for kazy – horse sausages. Another favourite dish is karta, smoked, boiled horse’s arse. Yes, really.
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