Having once written a story myself about eating dog meat or Boshintang for the Korea Times back in 2002 (not long before the World Cup), I was curious about this article I came across in the Joong Ang Daily yesterday, which for all practical purposes tried to defend this canine culinary dish.
“Professor Ann Yong-geun of Chungcheong University waded into the controversy last month when he said that there is a nutritious property of dog meat that cannot be proven by Western medical science.
He said in a CBS radio program that although dog meat has less protein and fewer minerals than pork, chicken or beef, eating dishes like gaejangguk and Boshintang (dog stew) mysteriously allow more energy to enter the body.
Drawing on folklore, others say that dog meat is good for stamina, the liver and the stomach, as mentioned in the Donguibogam, a medical text written by the physician Heo Jun in the Joseon Dynasty.
Also, dog meat eaters believe that the meat is low in unsaturated fat and high in protein with low levels of cholesterol. Some even argue that yellowish-brown dogs are more nutritious for men and that women should eat black dogs.”
Hmm…it all sounds pretty convincing to me, especially the part about how energy “mysteriously” enters the body.
What was not mentioned in the article was how some dogs are beaten to death to increase the flow of adrenalin into the meat, and thereby increasing the nutrients (or so I have been told by some of my Korean friends).
Personally, when I tried Boshintang back in 2002, I was not too crazy about it. I had wanted to do this article for the paper about it and the managing editor agreed to take me to this famous Dog House in Chongno (as far as I know, there is still my framed article hanging on one of the walls) along with some other cronies from the paper (no doubt looking for a free meal per gratis the newspaper). As soon as we walked into the nondescript restaurant there was an ajumoni sitting on the floor stripping dog meat from a dog’s carcass. Just seeing that was enough to turn me off from eating dog once and for all, but I was on assignment.
Like I said, I wasn’t too crazy about the eating dog. I thought the meat was tough and sinewy. I didn’t think it had much taste either. Maybe seeing that ajumoni stripping the meat off the bones was too much for me to put aside any biases I might have had with eating dog as well as when she offered me—what could have been part of a Fear Factor episode—the cooked dog penis to eat.
“No thanks,” I said, trying to be as diplomatic as I could as not to offend the editor and the other Koreans at our table.
No sooner had I turned down her offer for the dog’s penis when one of the cronies from the newspaper said he wanted it and shoved it into his mouth.
That was the only time I have ever tried dog.
Not to be too culturally insensitive or anything, but when it comes to eating dog, I am going to stick with hot dogs smothered in mustard, onions, and relish.