The photo speaks for itself

So I’ve officially eaten dog.  Puppy, to be precise.  I’d better explain things before I start getting hate mail from the PETA types.  Dog is a fairly common food in Korea.  It seems less popular with the younger generation, and less popular with women, but it’s certainly not unheard-of.

On Monday we had a half-day because of midterms, and afterwards all of the teachers were to go hiking.  Prior to the trip, they asked us what we would like to eat.  The choices were chicken and dog.  Being the adventurous (and perhaps callous) type, I opted for dog.

The hike was a nice relaxing walk up a hill next to a stream.  After a couple hours, we re-convened at the restaurant near the base of the hill.  Side dishes were served, and before long the waitress brought out a steaming platter of puppy.

The meat was surprisingly tasty.  A bit chewy, and with an interesting flavor.  Maybe a touch gamey, but not in a bad way.  Just enough to make it interesting.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t much actual meat on the plate.  Most of it was skin and organs, which Koreans eat without hesitation.  I, however, am not a big fan of skin or liver, regardless of the source.  The entree was a big bowl of puppy soup, which was excellent.  Not much meat to be had, but excellent flavor nonetheless.

Apparently, Koreans believe that dog meat is good for regaining strength.  They suggest that women eat it after childbirth.  Men seem to eat it to increase their manliness.  Erin said the younger female teachers seemed to regard it as a silly male thing.

It caused quite a stir among the teachers when I sat down at the dog table.  Apparently they were very surprised that I had chosen it.  Maybe that’s just because I’m a bit of a picky eater here.  (I still can’t stand the sight/smell/taste of squid.)  They didn’t seem offended, just surprised.  I don’t really know what to make of that.

Lots of people are really offended by eating dog because they have dogs as pets.  This doesn’t really bother me, provided I don’t think about it too hard.  In my mind, there’s a certain distinction between pets and farm animals, and these dogs weren’t raised as pets.  Maybe people object because they think dogs are smarter than sheep/cow/goats/etc.  Maybe that’s true, but I’ve met plenty of stupid dogs.  I’m just going to assume that I ate a dumb one.

It wasn’t the best meat I’ve ever had, but it certainly wasn’t the worst.  I’d give it a B- overall.  One question remains, however:  What do they use to herd the flocks on a dog farm?


16 Responses to “The photo speaks for itself”

  1. erin on October 9th, 2008 1:36 am

    How do you know it was stupid if it was JUST A PUPPY, Ms. Cruella DeVil?



  2. Jose Rios on October 9th, 2008 2:11 am

    I’m so jealous! (I’m sure that wasn’t the response you were expecting.) I’ve wanted to try it out of curiosity and for the sake of culinary adventure I guess. Plus, a “B-” ain’t so bad.


    mike.sapak Reply:

    Yeah, it really wasn’t bad. I’d eat it again, but I probably wouldn’t seek it out.


  3. Evan Lowe on October 9th, 2008 6:08 am

    Wow. I’d been meaning to look at this blog for awhile, and when I finally do I see this. I don’t think I could do it, but I have recently determined that I really want to eat a whale. You might have a better chance of that being closer to Japan (since it’s illegal here). I learned this summer after taking a handful of “herbal pills” that one of the Korean university teachers gave me that I should be suspicious of asian herbal remedies taken in large quantities. The resemblance of these pills to rabbit poop and the horrible bitter flavor should have tipped me off, but the stomach-turning made it clear latter on that they were not for me. The pictures you put up of your apartment look great – at least twice the size of this small, expensive place I live in now. Anyway, I hope everything is going great for you two over there.


  4. Bob on October 9th, 2008 7:04 am

    So is it like choosing lobster? I mean do you get to go up to the cage and say, “how much for that doggy in the window?” ;)


    mike.sapak Reply:

    Someone else asked about that. Nope, you don’t get to see the dog prior to eating. That would have turned me off for sure. I didn’t even hear any sad barking coming from the kitchen.


  5. Clay on October 9th, 2008 10:18 am

    I’m pretty sure cats herd the dogs because that’s a hilarious mental picture.

    I’m not sure what to think about eating dog. If it was a chihuahua I probably wouldn’t have much of a problem with it.


  6. Anna on October 9th, 2008 12:59 pm

    I’m still laughing at that poor little doggy who really doesn’t want to be eaten. I’m glad you went for it though, and mostly happy that it doesn’t taste real good.


  7. RED on October 9th, 2008 4:50 pm

    OMG! Was the picture necessary?!? REALLY? OMG i’m a hot mess now. Thanks Mike. Seriously though, that picture was like pouring salt in an opened wound. Just wrong. Seriously I’m disturbed that you ate dog. and the the description of – well i’m glad you are still having fun! Tell E I said hi! Miss you guys!


  8. Mom on October 10th, 2008 4:13 am

    Thatta boy, Mikey! Life should be an adventure! I’m glad you’re making it one. I’m wondering if Anna will be as adventurous in Ecuador when it comes to guinea pigs!


  9. John Hojnowski on October 10th, 2008 5:01 am

    Mike, I’m sure glad you didn’t go to New Guinea where canabalism is a culinary option! PS. After reading your Mom’s response and talking to your dad, I think I know where you got this unfortunate affliction. Fortunately, they are working on DNA alternation technology. My hopes are that you research these options as they become available. Glad to hear all is well and hope you don’t bark when you come back to the states. Please let me know ahead of time because there are some people with the local PD who are wondering what happened to all the dogs in the pound when you were volunteering there. Best Wishes, your ex boss…and a woof woof to you.


  10. Bob on October 10th, 2008 8:43 am

    I agree with your mom. & glad you couldn’t see/hear them; not sure I would go through with it either otherwise.


  11. Julia on October 10th, 2008 10:19 am

    When in Rome…

    I think there are worse things that can be consumed…tofu comes to mind…and that is more readily available and socially acceptable. :P


  12. Sasha on October 11th, 2008 4:33 pm

    Mowgli literally just shed a tear. I would judge, but I’m going to eat a guinea pig tomorrow and today at the agricultural university I saw a bunch of fat pregnant ones and thought…. mmmm. yum…. but a puppy? fuck dude. You’re definitely never allowed to play with my dog again.


  13. mattsadd on October 12th, 2008 11:22 pm

    any idea what kind of dog (species-wise) it was? do they eat cats too?


  14. Emily (your cousin!!) on November 20th, 2008 2:25 pm

    OH NO!! The poor puppy! All i can think of is you sitting down to eat Daisy. haha.

    but either way, props for trying to take in the full experience!


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