Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Dog Meat Experience...

Well, I've been talking about it for long enough, it's about time I finally did it. I finally ate dog meat. I mean, how many chances in life do you get to eat man's best friend, right? So, I was invited to tag along with some other folks from my Korean class who were also going to try 보신당 (Boshintang- dog meat soup) on Tuesday night. Turns out there was a restaurant about 3 minutes from my house, but I never bothered to read the Korean to realize what it was.

First thing that hit me when we entered was the smell. It absolutely reeked in that place, and I have a terrible sense of smell. I don't want to know what it smelled like to folks with a more acute sense of smell...

First we had to order. We had to choose between dog meat soup or some sort of dog meat salad. Our Korean friend told us to go for the soup. I... had already eaten dinner... I didn't really expect to eat much of it... so I didn't really care. They brought us some side dishes of some sort of oil, red sauce, mustard and sesame (?). We mixed it together and that was for dipping our dog.

Then finally our dog soup arrived. It didn't look that weird, except that the meat had something that looked like skin (think of chicken skin) hanging on to it. I built up all my courage and finally bit in. And, you know, it was... alright. Actually the meat tasted more like really tender beef.. like maybe a pot roast or something.. The soup on the other hand had no taste at all. I picked through, ate what meat I could find that wasn't covered in fat or skin (?) and left the rest to the side... I've heard from others that the soup can actually be quite good. I think we picked a bad restarutant. But, hey, it was only 5,000 won for that big bowl, so I think it was worth it for the experience. Now I can scratch that one off the list of things to do here.

So... why do they eat dog anyway? I mean... aren't there so many more acceptable animals to eat? Well, according to Koreans, there are many health benefits to eating dog meat. It's supposedly very good for your health. If you can read Korean, this poster explains all the medical reasons to eat 보신당. (Anyone care to translate?)

I, on the other hand, choose to believe that this is what Koreans convinced themselves of while they had no other food to eat during the war and after the war when the times were hard. This... (ahem) idea... still exists today, since it really wasn't all that long ago that times were so hard that Koreans were eating dog meat. If you care for my two cents.. or twenty won that is.


  1. Ah... How brave you are.. Even me being a Korean, I don't dare to try it. I hope this doesn't mislead westerners to think Koreans eat dog meat regular base, which is far from truth and you can easily realize so if you've stayed in Korea long enough. At least none of younger people around me doesn't even think about it. I don't care, though. Anyway, one thing I don't quite understand is why only Koreans become very popular(?) as dog eaters because, as far as I know, Chinese and Some of East Asians also eat it. Anyway, I'm impressed!

  2. Some other asians do, but it is seen as sort of a "poor" or "last resort" thing, whereas in Korea it's actually just something else they eat.

  3. Interesting question... I don't know. But it's true. Koreans do have a bad rep for eating dog. That was the first thing some of my family members told me when I announced that I was going to Korea. "You know... they eat dog there!!! How can you go to a country where they would eat a dog??"

  4. Hi, I recently started reading your blog. Being a student in Boston who would rather be in Korea with family, I guess I get to live vicariously through your posts lol. Thanks for writing about your experiences =). 5000 won for bosintang is extremely cheap so I wonder a bit about the quality of the food you were eating? I think I paid roughly 3 times that much last time I was in Seoul. Traditionally it's supposed to be eaten on the hottest days of the summer.

  5. well.... like I said... the soup didn't taste all that great.... maybe that's why....

  6. This is translation of the korean words in last picture.

    보신탕의 효능
    Benefits of BoSinTang(dog meat stew/soup)

    1. 혈액순환을 돕고 양기를 높인다.
    1. help circulation of blood, and increase positive(male) element of energy in body

    2. 결핵이나 호흡질환에 좋다.
    2. good for tubercle and respiratory disease

    3. 아미노산 조직이 사람과 비슷하며
    단백질 흡수율이 높아
    병후 회복이나 수술 후에 좋다.
    amino acid tissue is simillar with human
    protein absorption ratio is high,
    so it's good for recovery from disease and good after medical surgery.

    4. 어린이 성장 발육에 좋고
    두뇌개발에 좋으며
    여성의 경우 피부미용에 좋고
    대하증을 낫게한다.
    Good for kid's growing up
    good for brain developing
    good for women's skin beauty
    cure leukorrhea

  7. 보신탕(BoSinTang) is a stew in a bowl,
    it's just most basic one,
    but a Dog Meat Lover said to me,
    For get to know what dog meat is, you need try 수육(SuYuk). it's boiled meat.
    Shall we try one more time??

  8. Tempting.... but.... I think I'll pass...