I had been threatening to try dog ever since I got to Korea but for one reason or another I just never got around to it until now. Usually its because I cant get anyone else interested in eating it with me and dog restaurants usually only just serve dog meat. However, my directors brother, June, took me out with his family to a famous dog restaurant in Gimhae near Injae University.
Dog is not a typical dinner entrea and is usually reserved for special occasions. It is a traditional summer time meal and is reputed to be something of a cure-all food like garlic or fish oil. I have had Koreans tell me that dog meat will help you over come a cold, smooth a woman’s skin, give men more sexual prowess, and help to wake you up and give you energy. Why wouldn’t I want to eat it right?
I did at one point ask what breed of dog I would be dinning on that evening and June told me, “umm, its a mix.” Now June is not the best English speaker I have met here and thats the best answer I managed to get out of him. This left me with the obvious question of wether I was eating a mixed breed dog or if I was eating several breads of different dogs that were “mixed” into one dish! The question did little to hinder my appetite and so I forged ahead and dug in!
As an appetizer we order a plate of grilled meat that we dipped in a spicy garlic-chili sauce and wrapped in lettuce. Tastes a lot like pigs feet or a really fatty cut of beef. The big chunks of marbled fat were unexpected as I thought that dogs were more lean than cattle. Also the fatty parts were a bit less solid than the fat of a cow or pig. Tasted good to me! After the appetizer we were served the more traditional Dog Soup. Again, not really all that unlike many Korean dishes, spicy, lots of veggies, very tasty! The dog was actually cooked in the soup still on the bone. Eating the dog ribs is the only time that you can really tell that your not eating beef because the ribs are a little different looking.
This whole post might be slightly repulsive to some of my readers but like many of the things that I want to experience in Korea I think I would feel somewhat disappointed if I didn’t take part in some of the local customs. Especially one like this that is slowly dying out since eating dog meat is officially illegal. Like so many things in Korea though, the law is simply overlooked and there is little enforcement.