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:
Contrary to popular belief, selling dog meat is illegal in 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.
…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.
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.
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.
It should be noted that the dog meat in Korea is not from your pet Labrador but a specially bred dog made for eating.
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.
Oh, and the first dog I met barked at me. I’m serious. Does he know I ate his brethren?