Just one day after announcing he was adding horse meat to the menu at his BYOB Monsu restaurant, owner Peter McAndrews says someone threatened it.
“They called into the restaurant and said ‘You guys start cooking horses, I am going to blow up your restaurant,’” Andrews told NBC10.com Friday. “You know it’s OK to boycott but when you threaten me and my family then we have a problem. There are a lot of different causes that are important, but for anyone to go to that extreme it’s disheartening.”
Though you won’t be able to order the controversial delicacy at his restaurant -- located in South Philly’s Italian Market at 9th & Christian Streets -- until April, McAndrews has already lined up a few dishes he hopes will help patrons feel more comfortable with trying this unusual meat.
“We are going to start off with a few appetizers featuring the meat and then some pastas. We will do it as a test and see how it goes. This is a business; if it doesn’t sell then it won’t be on the menu,” he said.
McAndrews says his love grew for eating horse meat after marrying an Italian woman and spending 18 months in the country.
“It’s slightly tough and tender at the same time but it’s still unique and has a unique taste,” he said.
In 2012, about 75,000 horses were butchered for consumption in Italy, according to the International Business Times.
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“They have immense respect for food and cuisine. It seems like a first world issue as opposed to a second and third world issue. They do not have a lot of money to buy food, if they had a horse and it passed away, guess what is making its way to the table?” McAndrews said.
There was a ban on the slaughter of horses in the United States, but President Barack Obama lifted it in 2011 after Congress passed a USDA spending bill that reinstated federal funding for inspection of horse meat. McAndrews plans on importing the meat he will use from Canada.
The meat is high in both iron and protein. McAndrews says if you like liver you may enjoy horse meat too.
But not everyone is completely sold on the idea just yet.
“I’ve never heard of anyone that has eaten a horse and it’s probably trifling,” said Terek Pointdexter of South Philadelphia. “But I turned out to like deer after my friends set me up and told me it was hot sausage. It tasted just like beef.”
And for Diane Myers of Northeast Philadelphia just the thought of eating horse meat may deter her from giving it a chance.
“I don’t think I will because of the stigma that’s attached, said Myers. “I’ve had ostrich before so anything is possible.”
McAndrews owns five Italian restaurants and two sandwich shops in the Philadelphia-area. He believes as people evolve so will their palate.
“I was just at the Kimmel Center last night for Star Chefs, featuring rising chefs in the city, and they served pasta with pig’s hearts. It was the biggest hit. Fifteen years ago it would even cut the mustard,” he explained. “I love horses. I love animals. The better you feed and treat an animal, the better it will taste.”
So, will you give it a try?