What happened to Mr. Ed?

Jetlag still has a strong control over my life, but I think that S. and I are liking Almaty (Kazakhstan).  We have mostly just wandered around our neighborhood, gone grocery shopping, taken a trip to “Mega” (a mall several miles away from our home), driven around the city with friends, and gone up the mountains to a restaurant with some colleagues of mine. We do have internet and cable– so S. is enjoying watching the World Cup and we even went to a bar with friends to watch Germany solidly beat Argentina.  All and all, things are good.  Now, if I could just stop waking up at 5am!

There is one notable food experience that I want to tell you about though.  We went, with someone from the office who was sent to show us around, to eat at “Guns and Roses”.  Yes, there is a restaurant called Guns and Roses. It was closed though, so I can’t talk about their food.  Hungry, we ventured to “Noodles”.  S. ordered lamb chops, the person from work “tortillas” (which were much more like calzones), and I ordered beef with a side of mashed potatoes.  My beef came with a funny dressing, but was okay. S. lamb chops were good, but too small.  I shared some of my beef, which he tried.  A funny look came over his face as he nibbled, and then he said:

“Do you know what you are eating?”

“Some beef-thing.  I think the menu said it was supposed to be from Belgium.”

“So, you don’t know?”

“Know what?”

S. smiles and giggles.


“I think you are eating  Mr. Ed.”

“The menu said ‘beef'”.

“That is not beef.”

I guess he could be right. Horse is a specialty here.  In the supermarket, we probably saw more horse meat than any other type.  It is a bit darker and purpler in color when raw. Also, if you have ever used bablefish (or any other online translator) or you have giggled at a silly or inaccurate translation while overseas (“squashed potatoes” comes to mind), then you know translated menus are not always reliable. So, perhaps I ate Mr. Ed. Or, perhaps, it was just not tasty beef.

And, for those of you who are intrigued by the idea of eating horse, here is a recipe I found online for Beshbarmak, the national, traditional dish of Kazakhstan.

Beshbarmak is a national dish of Kasakhstan. It is traditionally made of horse or mutton meat, but also commonly made with horse. Its name means “five fingers” (besh = five and barmak = fingers) as it is typically eaten with one’s hands. The broth is typically served in Chinese-style cups without handles called pialas.


For the broth:
4 ½ pounds horse with bones
10 ½ Cups water
For the noodles:
4 ½ Cup flour
2 Eggs
1 Cup water
1 Teaspoon salt
For the vegetable portion:
1 Onion, chopped
1 Carrot, chopped
3 Tablespoons oil, for sautéing
3 Onions, cut into thin rings
1 Cut chives, minced
3 Tablespoons parsley, minced
1 Teaspoon ground black pepper


Step 1 Cook the horse in the 10.5 cups water over medium-low heat. Cover and simmer for 2.5 hours until meat is easily separated from the bones.
Step 2 While horse is cooking make a dough with the 4.5 cups flour, 2 eggs. Mix well and roll into 12-inch circles about 1/2 – 3/4-inch thick.
Step 3 When the horse is ready remove from the broth. Remove the meat from the bones and cut into chunks.
Step 4 In a saute pan, add the one chopped onion, chopped carrot and the horse meat and sauté until the onions are golden.
Step 5 Bring the horse broth back to a boil and add the noodle circles. Cook until cooked through.
Step 6 To serve, place the horse in the middle of a large serving dish. Place one layer of noodles around the horse. Sprinkle the horse and noodles with black pepper and onions that were cut into thin rings. Serve the broth separately in small individual bowls and sprinkle with chopped chives and parsley.


  1. You sound so calm writing this! I know one is supposed to be accepting of other cultures and the food they eat, but I feel so nauseated every time I think about eating horse meat, probably because I grew up riding horses and to me, they just aren’t food, the same way dogs and cats aren’t food either. Here in Chile I have a really hard time with the charqui (or however you spell it). So anyway, better you than me living in a country who’s national dish is horse!

  2. Horse meat is unfit for humans to eat. Food and Chemical Toxicology, Volume 48, Issue 5, May 2010, Pages 1270-1274
    Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk
    Nicholas Dodman, Nicolas Blondeau, Ann M. Marini http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6T6P-4YF5RB0-1&_user=10&_coverDate=05%2F31%2F2010&_alid=1317753422&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_cdi=5036&_sort=r&_docanchor=&view=c&_ct=4&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=2f8a2c55a559e5963d0f1e02b682319c
    Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – prohibited as well Phenylbutazone, known as “bute,” is a veterinary drug only label-approved by the Food & Drug Administration for use by veterinarians in dogs and horses. It has been associated with debilitating conditions in humans and it is absolutely not permitted for use in food-producing animals. USDA/FSIS has conducted a special project to for this drug in selected bovine slaughter plants under federal inspection. An earlier pilot project by FSIS found traces less than 3% of the livestock selected for testing, sufficient cause for this special project. There is no tolerance for this drug in food-producing livestock, and they and their by-products are condemned when it is detected. Dairy producers must not use this drug in food-producing livestock and if it is found, those producers will be subject to FDA investigation and possible prosecution. http://www.saanendoah.com/prohibiteddrugs.html
    Horse Owner Survey Shows NSAID Use Trends
    In a recent survey, 96% of respondents said they used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to control the joint pain and inflammation in horses, and 82% administer them without always consulting their veterinarian. More than 1,400 horse owners and trainers were surveyed to better understand attitudes toward NSAIDs, in a project sponsored by Merial, the maker of Equioxx (firocoxib).
    99 percent of horses that started in California last year raced on bute, according to Daily Racing Form. Bute is banned in the United States and Canada for horses intended for the food chain. That’s a permanent ban.
    Nonsteroidal Medication (NSAID’s)
    Phenylbutazone (Bute), flunixin meglamine (Banamine), and ketoprofen (Ketofen) are the most common NSAID’s used in horses while aspirin and ibuprofen are the most commonly used NSAID’s in humans. These are very effective in eliminating discomfort and are usually the first line of therapy in minor musculoskeletal pain.
    NSAIDs The systemic NSAID group includes phenylbutazone (Butazolidin) and flunixin meglumine (Banamine), which are 2 of the most widely prescribed drugs in equine medicine.
    Volume 25, Issue 3, Pages 98-102 (March 2005)
    Dr Anthony Blikslager, DVM, PhD, DACVS (Associate Professor)a, Dr Sam Jones, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Associate Professor)b

    Are horses used to make pet food?
    Horses are not raised for food in the United States so they are not generally used in commercial pet foods. http://www.petfoodreport.com/aboutpetfood.htm

    Horses probably have more antibiotics in them then any food animal and the FDA Says Antibiotics In Meat A “Serious Public Health Threat

  3. Abby, I have had a while to come to grips with the fact that it would probably happen while I was here. And, no, I could never eat dog.

    Monkey, tell me how it goes.

    Tom, I debated if I should approve your comment. But, I did, because it was not offensive– even if I do not agree with you at all. Horse may not be my first choice; however, in this culture it is acceptable and it is healthy.

    Jason, haha. I loved the photo too. I, however, do not have my own photos yet!

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