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Thursday, January 3, 2013

I Ate Dog, Then I Saw His Kinfolk...Uh Oh

 By:  Brittany S

Yep, you read correctly.  You can stop wiping your eyes, or staring at the screen with your face scrunched up and head cocked to the side.  I, Brittany, ate dog…on purpose.  No I am not starving or in a third world country.  No I wasn’t on Fear Factor or the victim of a really demented dare.  I didn’t get paid for it and outside of this post, I didn’t really cause much of a fuss.  It was just a typical Saturday in Korea and I decided “I think I’ll eat dog today.”

            I know a few of you need a moment to process that.  I’m sure a few of you may feel you know me somewhat if you are a loyal reader of my posts.  I know at least a handful of people are reading this like “I was with you on everything, but DOG?! Really?!  You are on your own on that one.”  Need a moment?  Cool.  Take 5.  Look at this completely unrelated video to ease your mind.

            We good now?  Interested in Ameriquest...or maybe pick up on my subliminal message in the tagline?  Cool.  I know…the next thought after the “Eww!” or “OMG!” is “WHY?!” so here it is:  because they serve it.  I mean as long as it isn’t human (and hey, even that isn’t off limits for some people) and is considered a delicacy (or at least local cuisine) somewhere, then why not?  In my personal opinion, there is nothing wrong with eating dog, but Eastern cultures have started to shy away from it because of how Western (particularly American) cultures have made them feel about it.  Why is it gross or primitive to eat a dog?  I believe it is because we view dogs as household pets and family members at best.  How could you eat a member of the family!?  You savage individual you.  But hey, my Grandmommy had a pet chicken once, and you better believe she can fry a mean bird.

Such eager foreigners.  Our food was getting cold...

            Think about it, why shouldn’t we eat dog---because it is a pet?  Well in that case, Grandmommy eats her pet regularly.  I have a friend who had a pet cow named Oprah  (we are from the same state).  Do you think she doesn’t eat hamburgers or steak?  Ever have a pet fish?  So only the small ones are cute and shouldn’t be eaten but the big ones are fair game?  But you’re right…a dog is a “special” pet.  -_-
            Or maybe that is just unhealthy or unnatural in some way…perhaps even ungodly to have such a meal.  Without turning this into any type of spiritual conversation on what not to eat I will just say pork…really?  Pork is like THE most unhealthy meat we can consume.  No matter what we name it (bacon, ham, pork steak, sausage, pig feet, chitterlings/”chitlins”, etc), it is still terrible for our bodies.  Dog is actually a leaner meat and many Koreans believe it is good for your health.  But, I digress.

My friend was happy to share this part of her culture with me...just not happy that we took so many pictures. :-)

            Bottom line, my reason for eating dog is to say that I am embracing a part of their culture that my (American) culture rejects.  I ate it because I am learning to acculturate myself to the world’s culture and not just my own little piece of earth.  I ate it so the next time someone calls me a picky eater I can say “If only you knew…”  It made me feel a little like a daredevil, too.  Don’t be fooled; it played with my head a little when I saw the food in front of me.  I just scooped up a large spoonful and shoved it in my mouth before I could over-think it.  After that, it wasn’t that bad!

WARNING: First bite of dog causes you to change colors.

            I ate it in two forms: a bibimbap and a soup.  I prefer the bibimbap form.  The meat was lean and spicy.  It tasted a little like goat (yes I have eaten that, too…is that one off limits too? J Oh well…).  I sat there with my friends chatting away as if we were sharing a pizza.  Of course we took a TON of pictures (as it was my American friend’s first time eating it as well.  My Korean friend just shook her head and laughed at us.) to document our “Bucket List” event.  Would I eat it again?  Yes.  HOWEVER, I don’t see myself ever getting a craving and saying “Hey, let’s eat dog tonight!”  I WOULD however eat it again if a friend wanted to try it and was scared to do it on their own.  Friends don’t let friends eat dog alone. ;-)  In the meantime, bring on my Grandmommy’s pet chicken and my friend’s pet cow!

It comes out like this...

...then you add raw egg and white rice, stir, and VOILA!

It doesn't look so bad...right?

            The workers were so nice to us and very worried about us foreigners eating dog.  They constantly asked us if it was ok and if we thought it was delicious.  This is exactly what I mean.  Poor Koreans, all worried about what us foreigners think of something that makes them happy and isn’t really our concern.  After we finished eating, we were escorted to a bus stop and informed that it will take about 25 minutes before the next bus comes.  Not even three minutes later after we ate Fido, FeFe, and Fluffy, a dog goes sniffing around in the field in front of the restaurant.  We all just looked at each other like “Uh Oh.”

The victim...

            As time progressed and a bus still hadn’t come, we started making up a whole story about that dog.  It sniffed its way all the way to behind the restaurant and we pronounced him dead on arrival.  After we had a good laugh about it and the dog STILL didn’t resurface, we stopped smiling.  Where exactly do they get the dogs for the restaurant anyway?  I’ve never seen “Beef, Chicken, and Dog” listed at the grocery store.  We imagined the dog fell victim to a bug zapper meant for dogs and would soon be served up.  To make matters worse, shortly thereafter a man came walking by looking for something (or someone).  He practically traced the steps of the dog and eventually ended up behind the building…for a loooonnng time.  Oh great, now the bug zapper got him, too!  That explains why the field on the side of the restaurant looks like the earth was freshly turned.  Poor guy…didn’t stand a chance.
The crime scene...
            Just when we have completely turned our innocent dining experience into a sick horror story, our ride comes and it is time to leave this place.  Even in my brave moment of eating that meal, a tiny part of American me wondered where the dogs came from and felt sorry for the dog I saw.  What can I say, I can’t overcome everything at once—Rome wasn’t built in a day!


  1. Hilarious! Great story! While in Japan, I worked at an international school and one of the students loved to tell us, "Did you know Koreans eat dog?" She said it so often, I had to ask her if she had ever eaten it. Unfortunately, she hasn't. Thanks for this tale! Glad you enjoyed Fido!

    1. Thanks! Yes my students are full of little tidbits about the Japanese as well. Do you think you would ever try it?

  2. Hi! I liked your story. Now, please...don't take this the wrong way...but I feel your writing was a little too defensive. Okay, so you ate a dog. Maybe some people had a shocked look on their face, but trust me...if you're writing about it and people are reading it, it's pure curiosity. Don't feel you have to defend yourself for eating a dog. Trust me I myself, as well as other people, have eaten worse. Kudos for taking a chance!