Eating dog meat in Korea

dog meat

I managed to get gastronomically acquainted with man’s best friend during my trip to Korea. I have made it a personal jihad/crusade to sample their wonderful canine products. It was harder than I thought, despite the English – Korean word translator because: 

dog meat translate

Contrary to popular belief, selling dog meat is illegal in Korea

eating dog meat korea

We had to ask a lot of street vendors, who all shook their heads and looked away. Just as we were about to give up, one kindly old lady overheard us, proclaimed gae jang guk (dog meat soup) and made the appropriate “woof woof” sounds. She led us down this really dodgy and narrow side street and we half expected to be mugged in the cobbled alley. 

dog meat shop korea

…but lo and behold – there it was, an eating establishment in the middle of nowhere, out of the sight of casual tourists and probably accessible only to locals. 

dog meat korea

We entered the establishment and I asked for gae jang guk. The female proprietor eyed us and our entourage of cameras with some suspicion and I improvised a combination of sign language and enthused “I eat”. She finally nodded and let us into the seating area. 

dan gogi tang

I present to you dan gogi tang (dog meat soup) made with 100% authentic dog meat! It’s served with the usual Korean condiments and steamed rice. 

dog meat soup

It should be noted that the dog meat in Korea is not from your pet Labrador but a specially bred dog made for eating. 

gae jang guk

I find the dog meat excessively gamey and there is a lot of fat in this breed of dog. It tastes like nothing I’ve ever sampled before – the best I can describe it is a cross between lamb and pork but with a VERY strong smell and aftertaste. The odor was quite overwhelming despite the hot peppers and what not used to flavor the soup.

I would love to try it again though. I’m thinking back to the fatty-lean texture and pungent odor infusing the meat, and I’m drooling at the thought of chewing that in my mouth right now, allowing my palate to savor the taste of dog meat.

Bon appΓ©tit!

Oh, and the first dog I met barked at me. I’m serious. Does he know I ate his brethren?

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63 thoughts on “Eating dog meat in Korea”

  1. Damn Dirty Angel: Yeah, but it’s dog meat. It tastes really interesting, gamey, and quite fatty for this breed. It’s a special breed made for eating, not the domestic breeds. πŸ™‚
    Where did you have cat meat? I’ve heard about it in Sibu but never found a place that serves it.
    fish fish: Yeah, dog meat is available in Sarawak too but the dogs they use are of dubious origin. Most people say it’s strays. The ones in Korea are specially bred to be eaten.
    The cooking style in Sarawak is so fully of seasoning to cover the smell of the dog meat that you can’t really taste it. I like the Korean one, you can actually taste the dog meat. πŸ™‚

  2. Dude, my Ang Mo co worker went to his Korean friend’s house ( this was like in the 60’s), the dog came out to greet the Angmo. My co worker told his friend ” Complement the canine, Nice dog” he said. Big mistake, the next time Ang mo saw the dog was in a claypot…the Korean friend thought he meant ” Nice to eat!”.

  3. e: Haha! That is really funny. The Koreans only eat certain breeds of dog though, especially one specially bred for eating.
    Man, that sucks, it was his pet dog. Communication fail. Heh!
    It happened to us too – we were shocked and awed at a 2 million dollar won bill, I pulled out 2 x 10,000 won, was pulling out the third, and the lady shook her head. It was 20,000 won after all. πŸ™‚

  4. dogs do able to smell if you’ve eaten their brethren. lol, i’m kidding. however, i’ve seen a cruel way the indo in one of the sumatra villages I visited kill dogs for their guests. and i’ve eaten horse meat before, actually i didn’t know it was horse meat until we’d finished our meal and the host told it was horse. horse curry somemore. horse!

  5. Heard that dogs will start to detest you after you’ve consumed dog meat so you managed to testify that aye?
    You can get dog meat in Sibu too I heard. I’m not so sure where the meat is sourced from but I’ve heard that they get it from stray dogs caught by SMC. Well I could be wrong. =P
    Haven’t really eaten dog meat before. Is it worth the try?

  6. Actually, HB…how do you REALLY know it was bred as food for the table? U r, after all, a tourist. U know what we know abt how tourists are usually told different versions of the truths πŸ˜‰
    Anyway, food for tot (pun intended)

  7. It’s widely available in China! My parents went and every morning at 4am they can hear people slaughtering cats and dogs for sale in the market right from their room. Geez so scary. As much as I am adventurous in food, dog and cats are out of the menu. They are so cute!!! You are so cruel πŸ˜›

  8. jg: Haha! That’s what I heard too. I didn’t believe it until we went to a Korean grocery shop and their dog barked at me. T_T
    Hmm…horse meat eh? I would love to try but unless it’s a wild horse, I imagine horses would be expensive to kill for food no?
    Ryan: Haha! I don’t doubt it. The SMC rounds up the strays and sells it to the restaurants. It’s not as bad as it sounds though – stray dogs can’t be as bad as pigs when you think about it. Pigs eat just about anything. πŸ™‚
    eiling: Heh! Yeah, I did, it’s what it’s supposed to do, heat you up. I like the taste now that I think of it. πŸ™‚
    aud: OMG! It’s a good thing I don’t like dogs then. I prefer cats. Cats are nice. Felines are like girls actually. =D
    fufu: I want to go to China and eat all sorts of wierd and wonderful stuff…starting from the legendary monkey brains (while it’s still alive and in the middle of your table). πŸ™‚
    Eleen: Haha! It could be a stray dog for all I know, but you know, I’ve never seen a stray dog in Busan. No kidding, no stray dogs around Korea at all. It’s kinda like Australia, no strays around…so I doubt it’s a stray. I don’t mind either way, dog is dog. πŸ˜‰
    goolooloo: …but why? I’m sure cows have feelings too. Look at their big, round sad eyes. πŸ™
    suituapui: I shall avoid dogs for the time being until my system processes the dog meat. πŸ˜‰
    I love cats! I’m not a big fan of dogs too. πŸ™‚
    M-Knight: Mmm…gotta head there then. Cheers! πŸ™‚
    They sell all sorts of stuff in China. Pangolins and other wild creatures.
    chefmel: Cats? I’ve never eaten cat meat before. I wonder what it tastes like. Hmm…
    No la, it’s not really cruel when you think about it. PETA would say eating chickens is cruel (coz of their living conditions). πŸ™‚
    I love cats too. T_T

  9. No….not lassie….that poor dog….
    On a different note i think you need to list down on all the weird/exotic food that you have eaten.

  10. Jason David: Haha! I doubt it’s that dog, the breed is too expensive to be eaten. πŸ™‚
    Okay, I’ll make a list of exotic food/creatures I’ve eaten!
    I’ve had snake, ostrich egg (the entire fucking thing), kangaroo tail etc. I’ll make a post of it with photos. πŸ™‚
    thenomadGourmand: Gotta try everything at least once! =D
    I’ll even eat human flesh if I ever go to interior Papua New Guinea. πŸ˜‰
    shimmers999: Well, I guess it’s a cultural thing. French, snails, Chinese, just about everything, so from a cultural perspective just about anything is alright. I’ll eat a rat too (just like in the good ol days of famine) if someone would cook it for me coz I don’t know how to cook rat. πŸ™‚

  11. Ya that’s one food that I would have trouble eating… Had horse a few times and it sat unpleasantly in my stomach afterwards, it’s probably more psychological than anything.

  12. julian: Horse! That’s a bit rare over here coz horses are bred for racing, so it’s expensive. Ya, I imagine a lot of it is psychological more than anything. πŸ™‚

  13. My poor dog is staying away from the likes of you. I couldn’t imagine my furry pal ending up in a pot! On the other hand, you’ll have a hard time removing her furs. πŸ˜‰ Er, I hope the meat was prepared hygienically. Or the very least, they weren’t subjected to a slow and painful death.

  14. Cheers: Haha! Oh well, I don’t eat dog on a regular basis mate. πŸ˜‰
    I think they sear the fur off with a propane torch or something…not sure of the prep process though. πŸ™‚
    chris: I imagine that would be the case, but if I don’t, I’ll want to partake in their human flesh meal. =D

  15. Now you said something about eating cats, i remember a friend treat us to Tiger’s Meat somewhere in Johor Bahru.
    Most of us haven’t tried Tiger’s meat b4 so i am wondering if its one of those strays at the back alley. Taste like venison meat and cooked in Kung-Pao style though.

  16. chris: Tiger meat as in real tiger or cat meat? I’ve never had tiger meat before, imagine it would be rather rare. Bear paw on the other hand is pretty common in Sarawak. πŸ™‚
    hungry: Yup, write a post about it and video the process while at it yeah? πŸ˜‰
    I fully expect a proper review for such an undertaking – taste, texture, the works.
    Shirley Snow: Why is it cruel? I was just talking about this the other day – following the crowd and all that, one person flames and the others follow suit.
    Don’t be sheeple, be people! =D
    Cruelty is subjective. πŸ™‚

  17. LOL!
    Too speechless to shout abuse at you.
    I wouldn’t wanna wake up tomoro morning to a group of HuaiBin female supporters threatening to kidnap my dogs to be fed to you for breakfast :-O
    You know how we Sarawakians are wad.
    What is a puppy if they’re already hunting heads right?
    or I brush you with pork oil and send rabies infested dogs your wayy!

  18. dude. this is gonna sound horrific. well not, i guess. the north american indians ate dog. I like lamb. I got a bonless leg of lamb in the frezzer right now. it came from NZ. I havea sheep in my pasture called HOMMER, aka hommer the simpsons . he is a pet. I would not eat Homer, lest I had to. But If my family were starving, weeell, your the first to go… God Bless Hb. Kind of like the team in the andes, do or die. In survival training , I forced my self to
    eat ammadilo ( possum ont he half shell) and snake. Still cant eat raw clams though. but i have lived on ” potted meat” and ‘slimjims”” Remember your mission. My mom told me ( she was from Bristol)- keep your eyes open and eat what your provided. and that was some pretty gross stuff. jellied ells, kidney pie, etc… Hey, hagis aint too bad, with a shot…. God bless hb

  19. Kristin: Haha! I think they stopped that head hunting business a couple of decades back. πŸ˜‰
    Hmm…come to think of it, I was brought to a place in Miri where there had all sorts of “wild eats” – bats, armadillos, what have you. It was quite a dodgy place though, more like a shack than a restaurant. πŸ™‚
    BTW, I think your puppy is going to bark at me from now on. πŸ™
    chefmel: Hmm…cat tastes like fish? It must be their diet. πŸ˜‰
    Yeah, I’ve been needing a haircut for a very long time. :S
    I’ll get one this weekend! =D
    Jeff: Hahaha! Good one buddy. Nice pun! πŸ™‚
    yienyien: T_T
    I wanted to try dog meat in Korea coz it’s apparently quite good there coz they only eat certain breeds of dogs.
    I’ll like to eat anything at least once. Adventurous palate. πŸ™‚
    tom: I love NZ lamb too! You are a very pragmatic person tom, yeah, I agree, if my family is starving, I’ll do exactly that too. πŸ™‚
    Snake meat is pretty good, there’s a lot of that going around where I come from. Kidney pies are one of my favorite pies. There’s this dairy in NZ that sold apple and kidney pies (strange combo, but delicious).
    Be well, my friend. πŸ™‚

  20. i guess everybody gets on their high horse you eat what is near. and teach your kids. adapt. not quite. honor, truth, annd justice.

  21. come to think abt that horse meat we had at north sumatra, could hv been their most expensive meat served to us 😐 you’re right. true- a lot of it is psychological more than anything.

  22. man, Hb, youve gotten your self in deep deep shit. All the Peta persons over here…. .I have eaten bear. not so great. squerel, ground hog ( not to bad, skin it and soak in in salt water, par boil, then bake. But i woud never eat a possum all the same. Same as I would never eate horese meatm untillthelast. the same . still, it took me along time to eat squid tentles. calimari. but every culture is diferent. wtf is the difference between kosher and hallal. not much is my guess, aside from many centuries of hatred and war. yet this part of the world is tore up . But i underststnd. I eat fried pig skins with out a thouht, or a beef rare hamburger , but in India , no.

  23. tom: Amen, brother. πŸ™‚
    jg: Sumatra eh? I shall go and try it sometime. πŸ™‚
    They might have wild horses over there, that would make it a cheaper source of meat.
    tom: I’ll eat a possum, never tried it before. I’ll eat a skunk for that matter. πŸ™‚
    I don’t think there’s a lot of difference between what makes food kosher or halal considering they have the same no-go animals…guess it’s in the preparation and (for kosher) yeast on some days/occasions. I don’t know enough to comment though since I’m neither Muslim nor Jewish.

  24. eldy: Yeah, it’s quite widespread, wikipedia says about 30% eat dog meat during the summer (or was it winter?) months. It’s autumn now. πŸ™‚

  25. HuaiBin – How could you? I am a big dog lover, as MAN’S BEST FRIEND”, not as food.
    I grew up with dogs in my childhood and have a cute pet Mini Schnauzer now. Regardless of what dog breed they use or specially “farm” for this, it is still wrong. You knew it to be illegal in Korea and you still ate it.
    I have a completely different perception of you now. Bad bad bad…

  26. cheddie: Haha! Okay, but you’re such a small dog! I don’t mind la, as long as you don’t bite me at the Important Bits (TM). πŸ˜‰
    yienyien: Hey, I am fully planning on doing it. It’s easy, will ask my friend to get some from Manila. It’s not that bad. I would love to try and video it. =D
    Winnie Chen-Head: Well, I like to experiment with new things and I’m a have an adventurous palate. πŸ˜‰
    I’m not a believer of the maxim “If the buying stops, the killing would too” – that has never worked with the “drug war” and it’s not going to work with food. πŸ™‚
    Eh, don’t la…we’re like ex coworkers and all that. :p

  27. yeah yeah I know that place!
    Everything from bats to snakes.. its horrible!
    And I heard they sell dog meat too πŸ™
    Balud is disgusting omg.
    Try raw potato juice!
    I threw up with just a sip πŸ™

  28. Whua. I got a stomach ache after reading this. Not from the dog meat though, but from the colour of the spices. πŸ˜€ Am really curious about the after taste of the meat though.. is it more muttony or porky?

  29. Kristin: I think they sell ALL kinds of meat, especially game from the jungle. Not too bad actually, I like game from the jungle. Gets us in touch with our hunter gatherer roots. πŸ˜‰
    Raw potato juice? Okay! Lemme try it when I have access to a juicer. πŸ™‚
    SW: Oh, everything is colored like that in Korea…the soups anyway. It’s their love for kimchi! πŸ™‚
    I’ll lean towards more muttony, it’s like game meat, but not quite. πŸ™‚

  30. That shit looks delicious… i wanna try it… lmao… um wat kinda dog do they breed to eat? like a pavement special? do u know wat they mix… mayb i can cook up 1 at home lmfu

  31. Luqmaan: Indeed bro, it’s delicious stuff indeed. I’m not sure what they call that breed of dog, but it’s not a stray, it’s specially bred for their meat.
    Haha! Perhaps you can try with any kind of dog. Watch out for PETA though. Illegal in some countries. πŸ˜‰

  32. Glad you clarified that eating dog meat is illegal in Korea cos I heard about it too. I just cringed looking at the meat. Looks like pork though. It didn’t take you long to find a restaurant that serves dog meat which makes me wonder if the officials there just look the other way.

  33. rosebelle: Yeah, it’s illegal but still a lot of people eat it. Wikipedia says up to 30% of Koreans do. It’s like…I don’t know, “wild eats” over here?
    The officials know it’s illegal (bear paw – illegal to hunt for those) but they are still operating. Plus, it’s kinda entrenced in Korean culture, something to do with dog enhancing your chi or something. πŸ™‚
    Jules: Well, different societies different rules. πŸ™‚
    It’ll be like the French and snails no? And the Aussies with kangaroo tail. Arguably those are not domestic pets, but still it’s just a cultural thing and I don’t like to judge. πŸ™‚

  34. Thanks for this info. I’m actually Korean, but I’ve been raised outside of Korea for 16 years. Now I where this restaurant is; thanks, I shall report this disgusting trend and raise awareness to stop this inhumane act.
    I have never been so ashamed of my culture and of being Korean.


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