Ha Giang is not only famous for its gorgeous landscape, typical habits and customs, but also for its food specialties. We see it as a piece of land with of attractive natural products and one of the best attractions that lure travelers is the food culture with dishes made from many materials available in nature that have become exotic, interesting and impressive specifically available only in the highland region of Ha Giang. Thang Co is considered the characteristic of Ha Giang Market which shows the tradition and flavor of Ha Giang. It also dares your brave because not all visitors are able to try this.
Thang co is an indispensable dish at Mong ethnic markets, eaten mainly when the market closes and everyone sits around a pot of Thang co enjoying the speciality along with some potent corn wine. The local people usually have Thang Co with Khen wine. It’s such a traditional way of eating in this highland area. Thang Co is famous among tourists when visiting Ha Giang as an important dish to try as it’s featured as the highland’s culture.
Authentic Thang Co should be made from viscera of horse, pork or cow and it should be always hot in the meal. Salt or seasoning can be used to fit each person’s taste. The aroma of cardamom, lemon grass, chilli, pepper mixed with the fat of the meat warms up the space among the freezing air of mountain. The meat and offal are cut into small pieces and mixed with special spices that are popular with the Mong people. Then all the ingredients are poured in a big pot of water and simmered over a fire for a long time. You can eat the dish at the fairs in Dong Van, Meo Vac, Lung Cu at a cheap and cheerful price… for about 1$ a bowl.
The market in Dong Van has been rebuilt, look similar to markets in the cities however the roofs and ceilings cannot replace the umbrellas of ethnic women. In the middle of the market, the Thang Co shops are placed behind the foodstuff. Pork, buffalo, beef is hanging for sale in the big hooks, the wine shops are right beside the Thang Co shops, wine is stored in the big plastic can or ceramic jars carried on horseback from the early morning or the night before, a world of wines mingled with the flavour of hot fiery leaves.
H’mong men to Dong Van market all want to have a bowl of Thang Co soup, drink some cups of wine with friends. Men who have many friends are invited to many wine, those who are drunk at the end of the market session is considered as blessed for having many friends. H’mong people usually bring to market Men Men, a kind of corn cakes, when they come to market they buy a couple of wines and a bowl of Thang Co is enough to make a party with friends. You must squat when eating Thang Co, the bowls are put on a long wooden span and served by a wooden spoon, there is always a bowl of salt and hot chili, a little salt would make the Thang Co very strong. Thang Co must be eaten with friends so that you can talk about family, health and business and the sounds of cheers go all about the market. When you begin to get drunk people would sing and play flute, all men and women can be drunk at the Thang Co table.