How much is that doggy?

Some South Koreans think having an eight-course dog meat meal is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

by: Reuters: Jack Kim | 02 Dec 2008

"Let's see by a show of hands, who won't be having sweet meat? Five? We're going then."

With that quick vote, it was decided that a delegation of 21 South Koreans visiting Pyongyang for a conference would be having an extravagant lunch where every one of the eight courses would be a dog meat delicacy.

"A once-in-a-lifetime experience!" a North Korean official chaperoning the group said enthusiastically.

While South Korea, mindful of its overseas image and the criticism attached in the West to eating dogs, has made the practice more discreet and better regulated, isolated North Korea attaches no public stigma to consuming the meat.

Dog meat restaurants in the South are usually back-alley fare catering to middle-aged men. In the North, dog meat has become a celebrated part of the culture served at its best dining halls to the few in the impoverished state who can afford it.

In South Korea, "boshin-tang" which translates as "health preserving soup" is usually braised meat, stewed in a spicy broth and served with steamed rice. But marinated ribs, as found in North Korea, are rare.

Sweet and Soft

The pungent odour of dog meat is far more noticeable in the North's cuisine with its fewer spices, leading a few uneasy Southerners to forego the feast. They were instead served a set that included chicken, fish, shrimp and vegetables.

The North's reclusive leader Kim Jong-il is said to be a fan of dog meat, and state media said he often offers advice on how the dish should be prepared, such as: "To get the broth right, the meat should be cooked with its skin intact."

The restaurant near the Taedong River in central Pyongyang can accommodate more than 2,000 people a day and manager Pak Song-suk boasts all the meat comes from home-grown canine.

"Sweet meat is considered the best remedy when the appetite is low because of hot weather or fatigue," a feature article in the North's official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.

What's you take on eating dog meat?

- None publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.