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 appétit!

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. 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). ;)
    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. ;)
    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. :)
    Eh, don’t la…we’re like ex coworkers and all that. :p

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

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

  4. 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. ;)
    Raw potato juice? Okay! Lemme try it when I have access to a juicer. :)
    SW: Oh, everything is colored like that in Korea…the soups anyway. It’s their love for kimchi! :)
    I’ll lean towards more muttony, it’s like game meat, but not quite. :)

  5. 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

  6. 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. ;)

  7. 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.

  8. 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. :)
    Jules: Well, different societies different rules. :)
    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. :)

  9. 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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