Thang Co, a Sapa specialty

If you want to experience Sapa like a local, pluck up your courage and have a taste of the interesting and unique specialty, Thang Co – a dish made from horse.

Visitors to Sapa will have the chance to not only admire the alluring beauty of nature but also savour the unique culinary of the ethnic minorities here, especially the controversial dish made of horse, Thang Co. Foreign travelers, or even Vietnamese visitors who lives in big cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi City, Ha Long, may have difficulty eating this unique dish at the first try because of its unpleasant fragrance. However, once you have swallowed the first bite, we’re quite sure that you’ll be addicted to its distinctive taste.

Despite that there’s a lot variations of the origin and name of the dish, it seems to come to the conclusion that Thang Co originated from Mong ethnic group and it gradually spread to other minorities in the mountainous region in Northwest of Vietnam. It is considered that the name “Thang Co” comes from how the Mong ethnicity call and pronounce it - “thoang co” which means “a pot of water” or “khau tha” which means “meat soup”.  

It was traditionally made of horses when they become too old to work or get sick. Horse was the major mean of transportation during that time; therefore, meals with Thang Co was considered a feast and served only on special occasions. Nowadays, you can find this dish in the menu of almost every restaurant in Sapa as people also cook the dish with not only horse but also buffalo, cow, pig…


You may know that Thang Co’s main ingredient is horse meat, but traditionally, it is made from a whole horse, which includes horse meat, intestines and bones. Yes, you’re reading it correctly, it includes horse intestines. Cooking authentic Thang Co means you’re not wasting anything.

Now, you must be wondering, how can the ethnic ones can cook and eat a dish like that? The answer is quite simple! They know how to combine it with different herbs: Twelve kinds of spices are added. These consists of cardamom, citronella, ginger, star aniseed,… and last but not least the “thang co leaf”, the soul of the dish. It has such a special fragrance that without the plant, we cannot cook a perfect Thang Co. After the meat and organ are washed, they are stewed with bones, blood and the 12 botanical herbs for hours. The locals often consume the dish with chayote vegetables, cabbage, bokchoy… Chilli, pepper and salt can also be added to better suit your personal taste.


If you have decided to give this specialty dish of the minorities a try, here's is our recommended restaurants:
A Quynh Restaurant: 15 Thach Son Street, Sapa Town
Moment Romantic Restaurant: 26 Muong Hoa Street, Sapa Town
Sapa Deli Restaurant: 11 Cau May, Sapa Town


About Silk Path Grand Sapa Resort & Spa
Perched on its own picturesque hill overlooking Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range, Silk Path Grand Sapa Resort & Spa is an exceptional blend of culture, French Indochina architecture and vibrant local touches, offering guests a true escape into the natural richness of Sapa.Treat yourself to a memorable staycation in Sapa with more attractive things - absolutely a good idea to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. Plan your vacation with the resort to explore the distinctive cuisine and attractive attractions in Sapa.

Silk Path Grand Sapa Resort & Spa


Other blog

Công thức nấu nướng tại nhà cân cả thế giới mùa dịch

Trong khoảng thời gian giãn cách xã hội, còn thú vui nào tuyệt vời bằng việc nổi lửa căn bếp xinh mỗi ngày? Bữa sáng, bữa trưa, bữa tối - Chúng ta đều có thể gửi tới những người thân yêu chút ấm áp lan tỏa từ dạ dày tới trái tim.


Hanoi's Tofu Pudding

Hanoi is a street food-lover’s paradise, but for first-time visitors, the plethora of options can be a bit overwhelming. Have no fear though, as we’re here to introduce you to one of the city’s top desserts, “tao pho” or tofu pudding.


Hoa Lo Prison Museum

Hoa Lo Prison, also known as the Hanoi Hilton, is a mere 750 meters from the Silk Path Hotel Hanoi and is well worth a visit to explore the history of the notorious prison that housed both Vietnamese and American prisoners.


Water Puppet Show

The Water Puppet Show is a great chance to enjoy some traditional Vietnamese culture right in the heart of Hanoi.


An Hien Garden House

Located near Thien Mu Pagoda, An Hien Garden House has outstanding architectural, historic and cultural values and is well worth a visit.

Contact us

Silk Path Hotel & Resorts - Corporate Office
3rd Floor, 4 Pham Ngu Lao, Hanoi, Vietnam
+84 24 3266 8585