Eating dog meat in Hanoi, Vietnam

dog head

How much is that doggie in the window? *woof woof*

The one with the waggly tail?

dog head me

How much is that doggie in the window?

dog paws

I do hope that doggie’s for sale!

thit cho

Eating dog meat is popular amongst certain demographics in Hanoi, Vietnam. The place to head to is the row of shops bordering Red River. It is full of mom-and-pop shops with names like thit cho. Thit cho literally means dog meat in Vietnam.

dog meat butcher

It looks like a butcher shop and not a restaurant since all the dog chopping action is happening on the ground floor, but fear not, there is actually a place for people to enjoy a nice meal of canine meat upstairs.

chopping dog meat

I chose a platter of mixed dog cuts to experience the texture and taste of man’s best friend – it’s served with a dipping sauce which tastes like fermented shrimp paste (cincalok) and turns into a vivid shade of purple when my guide mixed it.

cooking dog meat

My guide is a motorbike driver you’ll find loitering around in the Old Quarter – it’s the best way to get around! I negotiated a return trip for VND 5,000 + 1 Beer Hanoi and I get to choose the thit cho place. Pro tip: You should always have the final choice when dealing with local drivers coz they might have kickbacks from certain outlets. I chose the one that had the most locals upstairs – a rowdy bunch that kept on chanting something before drinking their vodka.

dog sausage

The portly woman who owns the place did not appear to be very friendly (she viewed my camera with considerable suspicion) but after one of her staff passed me a piece of dog meat and I ate it before giving her the thumbs up sign, she warmed up to me considerably and led me upstairs. The price for dog meat should range around VND 20,000 to VND 30,000 per 100 grams.

dog meat shoes

You take off your shoes and sit on the floor with a piece of newspaper being the communal dining place in lieu of a proper table. It’s customary to drink vodka with dog meat but I didn’t want to get fucking sloshed and then lose my way in a dodgy part of town so I went with the ubiquitous Bia Ha Noi instead.

dog meat seating

Most people choose a selection of mixed cuts. This is an interesting dish as it comes with pure cuts from the dog (without further cooking) and a mix of dog sausage (which gives a totally new meaning to the word “hot dog” smirk).

dog meat stew

There is also dog stew available – it tastes pretty good but after a while it got a bit cloying due to the amount of oil they use in cooking.

deep fried dog meat

Deep fried dog! Not too bad, but I prefer pure cuts.

dog meat meal

The entire meal (inclusive of beer) only costs VND 180,000 (RM 28) – a fucking bargain if you ask me.

Q&A time!

eating dog meat

I bet most of you is going to ask me this – what does dog meat taste like?

Well, dog meat tastes like dog. I’ve had dog meat in Korea but the dog meat in Hanoi tastes better since it’s not infused with a multitude of flavors. I particularly liked the pure cuts of dog – some parts like the thigh is nigh impossible to eat due to the huge bones and the tough skin and fat, but some cuts are easy enough to chew though.

dog meat upstairs

Dog meat has a very interesting taste to it. It is very odoriferous so people who don’t like mutton probably should stay away from it. You can literally taste/smell the dog as you chew it.

dog meat dip

There’s also a layer of fat between the skin and meat that imparts a very vivid flavor to the dog meat.

dog meat cuts

I love the taste – it’s like a cross between castrated pork and mutton. The meat is tough and the skin is chewy but it’s an experience unlike any other.

dog heads

The canine culinary experience is a must try for everyone with an adventurous palate. Mmm…dog meat.

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134 thoughts on “Eating dog meat in Hanoi, Vietnam”

  1. kenny: Thanks bro! :)
    Putixing: I totally understand where you’re coming from but it’s a local specialty over there. :(
    Adam: Haha! You have a right sense of perspective my friend. All humor bones intact and all. :)
    Si: Erm…I don’t want to apologize but I’ve never had fox before. :)
    Lainie: Seriously doubt it, at those prices, it’s gotta be raised or strays. :)

  2. Actually i would still EAT dog too if I had to, though it sounds disgusting..That first pic just reminds me of the skinned fox I saw. Is it true dogs can smell it on you once you have eaten their kind and forever fear you as a predator?

  3. Well, I do see how people would say ew to eating a dog..I say ew to it too..but anyone who’s saying EW is only saying EW because where they live, dogs are domestic, and pets. It’s just like we eat cow and goat and sheep and chicken and turkey and lamb? Some other places some of those things are domestic pets, and they’re sacred too. So they’re saying EW to our ideas. So pretty much what I’m trying to say is, don’t say EW how could someone do that, because they can just say EW right back to us.

    • We can say whatever we like on the matter. The fact is that dog is man’s best friend – they lead the blind, assist the police, aid the disabled and provide love and loyalty to people worldwide. They are not farm animals but have a special connection with mankind – I was in Vietnam recently and the Dogs and puppies all wagged their tails and wanted to play when I came near. How can someone slaughter something which puts such faith in mankind?

      I consider my dogs family members and so do many people in Vietnam. I’ve heard that dog meat restaurants in Vietnam often buy dog meat from dogs robbers – this means the guy who wrote this article could be eating a beloved family pet – it’s sick.

      • I think its extremely sad when a dog wags its tail and rushes to its owner, not knowing that its death that awaits, often extremely cruel inhumane death. I see it as an abuse of trust and animal abuse. It is a no-go zone for me too, coz I think it is WRONG. It is almost like you have no heart.

    • My dogs are my family. Eating them is like eating my own parents or children.

      You can’t even differenciate between food & working animals. Name me a breed of dog that was bred to be meant for human consumption. I don’t give a damn if others say EW to me if I eat chicken or fish or pork & I totally against those who eat dogs or cats or anykind of animals that are not meant to be food.

      Maybe you will argue that the dogs population is over-crowded & no harm to eat some dogs. Well, I guess those who think that will eat up your own parents or children when your family or country is over populated?

  4. Krystle, chihuahuas and pekinese were specifically bred for food by the Mexicans and Chinese, respectively. Look it up.

    As for “doggy” taste…just like any other meat…if you feed it well as it is growing, kill it humanely, and prepare it carefully it won’t have the strong taste. The vietnamese sometimes grab any dog off the street and whack it after scaring the crap out of it…the adrenalin saturates the muscles and it tastes awful. If you stress a deer by chasing it before shooting it, the same thing happens…it does not taste as good.

    The filipinos and Borneo malay know how to prepare it. And it has to be black dog.

  5. EW! not to the dog meat (because I never tasted it) but to all those ppl who express disgust to others who njoy it! I come from a country where a certain religion considers cows (any bovine) to be ‘mothers’ (i took birth in that same religious community, i.e. hindus) and hate others who eats beef. Do you think its right? Do you think you can dictate ppl’s preferences? Its not cannibalism right! its not eating endangered species, right? if its none of those, how can you demand any moral superiority? Or u support conservative hindu idea of hating all beef eaters, which I think all of us here are, including me!

    Will eat dog meat if my subjective taste buds like it. No issues!

  6. This is absolutely disgusting. Considering the fact that my dogs are my family this looks like cannibalism.

    Wow. I wish this practice would completely stop. Aren’t there enough animals to eat already??? Jesus.

  7. WTF….fucking son of a bitch… YOU EAT DOGMEAT…i hope u will burning in hell!! BURN MOTHERFUCKER…BURN!!!! and ure hole family to

  8. CANT belive it…..BURN BURN BURN ….ugly asian visage …hope all of ur fucking dogeating bastards get fucked in your dirty asian ass by Hitler for that

  9. When you look at the faces of the slaughtered dogs, you get an impression of the pain and fear they endured before death released them. The grin on their face is a witness of the sickening torture they endured at the hands of men, for their greed, selfishness and lack of dignity and compassion. To that unworthy species dogs have given their love and loyalty, and to those who tortured them they wagged their tail and showed their affection. This was what they got in return… No words can express my disgust.

  10. I work at an animal welfare charity in Vietnam, part of out work involves investigating the dog meat trade. Yes it is a cultural difference and it is due to the values with which we have been raised which makes it acceptable for us to eat pigs/cows etc but not dogs. The issue, however, should not be the practice of eating dogs but the brutal and despicable treatment of the animals before being eaten.
    I would like to state categorically the welfare in this trade its atrocious, the dogs are crated, rammed full into containers where many suffer broken limbs and a significant number die from heat stress and suffocation before they even reach the slaughter house. A vast number of these animals are also stolen from local villagers – our local staff have their pets stolen on a regular basis. Once at the slaughter house the animals are dogs are beaten before being clubbed to death, this is thought to tenderise the meat. Our Vietnamese workers have accompanied international journalists to these slaughter houses – these people have all seen some horrendous things in their time and even they are still horrified by what happens to the dogs.
    I have no problem with people experiencing traditions but when those traditions involve excessive cruelty it would be nice if people could think twice instead of ignorantly participating with no thoughts or regard. If the transport and killing of these animals was humane then fine, experience it if you wish to, the transport and killing is on the contrary barbaric and yet tourists blithely continue to support it.

    • From Europe, those places and their owners attract only disgust and vomit.
      Violence bring violence.
      In fact, sixthseal, my friend, have you ever eaten shit? Some say it is very tasty.
      After all, this is also a travel experience you should try.

  11. Dog eaters swallow the blood of stolen dogs and the blood of people murdered for it…. and they laugh and drink while they do it… they don’t seem to realize or do not care that their taste for dog meat is the cause of the problem … for who would steal or kill if no one wanted to eat dog meat?

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