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.