Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Dog meat soup was the most unusual dish I ate in North Korea – yes, dear canine lovers, soup with dog meat, locally known as boshintang or gaejangguk… But I guarantee you: nobody harmed your Chihuahua or Golden Retriever, so please get you blood pressure down again and don’t take it personal.
Eating dog meat (gaegogi) is one of the last few taboos in Western societies and honestly: I am a bit annoyed by it. I totally understand that a lot of people have a close, personal relationship with their dogs and nobody expects them to have their pets for dinner – but don’t look at people who eat dog meat as if they just butchered your first born child! Fact is: we eat smarter animals, we eat cuter animals, and we eat more endangered animals – leaving dogs out is animal racism! (Or rather “speciesm”? Hello, dear vegans, BTW… :))
Having said that let me tell you about my dog soup experience and why I won’t repeat it.

The second to last night of the *trip to North Korea* we spent in Kaesong. Dinner at the *Minsok Hotel* was good as always, but unlike the previous hotels this one offered dog meat soup as an additional optional course – for 5 Euros, which is a more than fair price by international standards (you can eat dog meat in most Asian countries, including Japan, prepared in all kinds of ways). Dog meat soup being a local delicacy and me not being an animal racist I gave it a try. My friends’ dogs always hated me and after them nibbling on my legs for 35 years I finally got the opportunity to get revenge and nibble on one of theirs… (Again, dogs eaten in Korea usually are Nureongi / Hwangu, specifically bred as livestock and not kept as pets!)
The soup came towards the end of the meal and in addition to dog meat had scallions, sesame seeds and some spices in it – a regular, rather thin grayish soup with some meat. On a small plate we received a spicy paste, most likely gochujang.
Before I even had the chance to try the soup its smell hit me – or rather its stench. Dog soup smells so bad! Basically like wet dog, I kid you not. Realizing that I’ve made a huge mistake I put the spicy paste into the soup and luckily the gochujang covered the smell and therefore most likely part of the taste, too – especially since the gochujang was quite hot in addition to smelling nicely. So in the end the soup tasted not nearly as bad as it smelled. The texture of the meat was a bit like chicken, the taste closer to beef. The broth was quite unspectacular and overall the taste was dominated by the gochujang; which was a good thing I might add, because I can only imagine what kind of taste adventure the soup must have been without the spicy paste! (There was another order of dog soup shared by two members of the group – their verdict was pretty much the same and they neither tasted the soup without the gochujang AFAIK.)

So will I ever order dog meat soup again? Highly unlikely, because I just didn’t like it – overall by far the worst dish I ate in North Korea. But I’ve heard that grilled dog tastes a lot better…

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