Sunday, July 22, 2012

Eating Dog for 초복

We are in the middle of the hottest days of summer, or 복날. During 복날, there are three days that are the supposed hottest days. Last Wednesday was 초복, the first day. Traditionally, there are certain foods to eat to strengthen the body and give you stamina during these blistering days. While I didn't get any of this special food on Wednesday, on Friday, I went out with the men of my school for 개고기찜- braised dog. Like samgyetang (chicken soup) and eel soup, dog is eaten during the summer to keep you going when the heat is keeping you down.

Our restaurant was really out in the countryside near Uijeongbu. It was nice to get out of Seoul proper, but, of course, this meant sitting on the ground. Ouch. It really was out in the middle of nowhere, and the dilapidated restaurant would have made a great setting for a horror film.

Dog is usually served with a dipping seasoning, and this braised dog was also served with some greens. Truthfully, I thought the greens were the best part of the meal. Sometimes I miss being a vegetarian...

This is the second time I tried dog and for the second time it was just ok. The meat itself has a bit of a gamey taste and there is a lot of gristle. I tried to be adventurous and tried some of the organs (kidneys and livers), but, unsurprisingly, I didn't enjoy them. I really wanted some rice to fill up my stomach, but I figured that it wouldn't be the most masculine thing to ask for, and this was the men's night out.

Of course, we drank soju with the dog and before we knew it, all the elder men at the table were drunk. Like standing up and singing drunk while the principal was falling asleep at the head of the table. The younger guys were designated drivers, and you could feel that the all were antsy to leave at around 8 pm, but the older men were taking their sweet time. Finally, around 8:45, we all had one last shot of soju and headed back to Seoul proper.

Eating dog is declining in popularity due to the increase in dog-owners and young people viewing it as somewhat old fashioned. Some of my co-workers declined eating dog, which I understand. I, on the other hand, don't have a special place in my heart for dogs, so I really can't find the difference between eating a dog and a chicken. And looking at the way these dogs were living (with a decent amount of space and their own dog houses) I would argue that these animals had a way better life than chickens. Look at how happy these guys looked:
If you want some more facts about dog eating and the debate surrounding it globally and in Korea, I would definitely recommend reading Ask a Korean!'s post titled Dog - It's What for Dinner. Some people get really emotionally charged over the idea of eating dog. To them, I say 너나 잘하세요 (kind of like a sarcastic 'you worry about yourself'). Dog meat is meat. Beyond the emotional attachment and eww factor, why wouldn't you eat it? I'd be curious to hear people's opinions. 

1 comment:

  1. 너나 잘하세요 ㅋㅋㅋㅋ I totally agree with you.I don't like to eat dog though.