The central Vietnamese province of Quang Nam has Cau Mong beef as one of its famous specialties.
It is the meat of cattle kept in ‘the cow grassland’ Long Hoi, an area bounded by the Thu Bon River and fertilized with silt from floodwater rising every year, which is suitable for cultivating grass and crops to farm cows.
The ‘cow grassland’ includes two communes, Dien Quang and Dien Trung, together with a part of Dien Tho Commune in Dien Ban Town.
Local residents often say that “those who come to Quang Nam but have never tried fried or rare Cau Mong beef with vegetables are considered failing to know a thing or two about this land.”
Cau Mong beef is well known because the cows are fed with grass and crops only, making their meat tender and nutritious.
It is different from other areas where cattle and poultry are partially fed with chemicals to quickly gain weight but lose meat quality.
On a hot day of August, a senior woman in Long Hoi said adults in the area usually do not stay home in daytime and visitors can find them by the river banks.
“Just come down to the rivers. Adults are all there. Billionaires are all there,” the elderly woman said.
Cow farms are located by the bank of the Thu Bon River, which provides water, grass, and alluvial land for cattle to grow.
Nguyen Thanh Hoang, a farmer, said it was then under the scorching sunlight and other farmers were rounding up their cattle into cowsheds.
Hoang added he started settling down in Long Hoi nearly 20 years ago as a hired cow-tender.
Farm owners have money to buy cows and cow-tenders just supply labor service to take care of the cattle.
Calves born under the cooperation model are equally divided, a half for the owner and the remainder for the hired cow-tenders.
After four years, Hoang said he has had four calves that way and stopped working for the farm owner to run his own business.
He leased 2.2 hectares on the grassland and began ‘multiplying’ his cattle herd.
The Long Hoi grassland has become the ‘land of cows’ in two recent decades following the success of some farmers.
“With silt added annually, the rich soil of the grassland is suitable for grass, crops, and any kind of tree,” a local named Nguyen Duc Son, who always has over 100 cows on his two farms, said.
“We locals here are not talented but bestowed with this fertile soil to farm.
“It is good for both plant cultivation and cattle and poultry raising.”
With the beef fetching VND180,000 (US$8) per kilogram on farms, a small breeding facility of 50-60 cows can generate a revenue of VND1 billion ($44,500).
So most cattle farm owners in Long Hoi are now called ‘Vietnamese dong billionaires.’
Now the Long Hoi grassland has over 130 cattle farms with over 1,000 cows in total.