How much is that doggie in the window? *woof woof*
The one with the waggly tail?
How much is that doggie in the window?
I do hope that doggie’s for sale!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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” ).
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! Not too bad, but I prefer pure cuts.
The entire meal (inclusive of beer) only costs VND 180,000 (RM 28) – a fucking bargain if you ask me.
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 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.
There’s also a layer of fat between the skin and meat that imparts a very vivid flavor to the dog meat.
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.
The canine culinary experience is a must try for everyone with an adventurous palate. Mmm…dog meat.