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Ask a Korean on Dog Meat

Ask a Korean posts a Q&A about a subject close to my heart — dog meat.

As something of an expert on this subject, however, I would like to correct one thing:

Q: Is dog meat considered a gourmet delicacy?
A: No. It is traditionally a peasant food, and was never considered high-end. Reflecting this status, you would have to get out to the poorer outskirts of Seoul to encounter a good dog meat dish.

Regardless of whether dog meat was originally a peasant food or not, it’s not anymore. Now, it’s a straight-up boyangsik. It’s not particularly cheap — a bowl of bosintang will run you about 10,000 won or more, while jeongol costs about 25,000 won a person. And nobody should have to get out to the poorer outskirts of Seoul to enjoy a good dog meat dish — one of the most famous dog meat restaurants (and a personal favorite of this humble blogger) is Ssarijib in the far-from-poor neighborhood of Pyeongchang-dong. President Lee Myung-bak, meanwhile, apparently sends the presidential bodyguard to buy his bosintang at a place in Segeomjeong.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    Robert, you may be a fan of dog food, but ‘the Korean’ is correct. His opinion is supported by the Korean 4 character proverb 양두구육 (羊頭狗肉). The meaning is sheep’s-head-dog’s-meat. It means passing off dogs meat as a sheep’s head, meaning selling inferior meat as better meat.

    No matter how expensive dog food gets, I doubt that it will ever be considered high class. The poor mans viagra at best.

  • dry

    There really was no concept of high-end food except anything involving ginseng, Koreans (who were pretty much all peasants 60 years ago), like to feel good about themselves and call strange or disliked things ‘peasant’ food. Even the whole royal court food stuff is, in a way a recent trend after someone read up on how some King used to eat.

  • dry

    #1: Thanks for the translation shak. What’s funny is that if anything, ginseng would be a better choice to tingle the loins, but at the price people pay for that over there, might as well just hit the viagra.

  • cm

    This, again?

  • MrMao

    That is propaganda. Even the President eats it.

  • NetizenKim

    Is it just me or does Da Korean’s writing come across as thin-skinned, defensive, and devoid of any humor?

    For all that verbiage, he doesn’t talk anything about whether dog meat is really good for male stamina or if that’s just a myth.

  • parang

    Frankly, could care less about old maxims, I miss the stuff over here stateside.

    Maybe the issue is more linguistic than cultural, if something is an acquired taste, takes extra effort to find, and might have detractors in the popular media, is it gourmet, “high class”/”soul food” (meaning in both cases the ‘real deal’) or something simply more suited for Andrew Zimmern? Anthony Bourdain has worked this vein, suggesting that almost all “high class” food originates as peasant food that somehow graduates to refinement and sought after status. ( yes I watch too much travel channel.)

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Robert, you may be a fan of dog food, but ‘the Korean’ is correct. His opinion is supported by the Korean 4 character proverb 양두구육 (羊頭狗肉). The meaning is sheep’s-head-dog’s-meat. It means passing off dogs meat as a sheep’s head, meaning selling inferior meat as better meat.

    Yeah, and tteokbokki was originally a dish served to the kings of Joseon. Doesn’t mean it’s a high-end luxury food now, though.

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    RJ,

    Fair enough, to each his own! Let me offer you another Korean proverb, you being a dog meat enthusiast. 개는 때려 잡아야 맛있다 (beaten dogs taste better).

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Thanks.

    Anything else you learn about dog meat at 2ch?

  • t_song

    Dog is definitely not boyangshik. By your own availability and man won measures, many types of Western food would qualify. I think the 10,000W price tag is mostly a function that you can’t in the middle of Lotdae World, 현빈의 개고기.

  • http://rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    Dog is definitely not boyangshik.

    Eh?

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    RJ, I actually learned that one right here on the ‘hole!

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    BTW, I have never actually read 2ch. I want to but I have no idea how to navigate the site. I have asked others, but neither do they.

  • t_song

    I’m gonna counter my own eh with Eh? I was too lazy to look up 보양식 and thought that 양 was from 양반. But boy did I pick a wrong sentence to guess what the word means. Haha…

  • Sonagi

    @t_song:

    You did graduate from SNU’s KLI, which may explain your ignorance of hanja roots.

    BTW, I have never actually read 2ch. I want to but I have no idea how to navigate the site. I have asked others, but neither do they.

    You’re full of shit. Even I’ve managed to look around some of 2ch’s forums with my very limited Japanese.

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    Sonagi,

    So you are saying that you managed to navigate this forum -

    http://www2.2ch.net/2ch.html

    With it’s millions of threads, multitudinous categories and so on? I don’t mean click and look at the site. Anyone can do that. I mean navigate the site, find topics of interest, and read them. That is very hard. I think you need to be a regular 2channeler to really understand how it works.

  • Sonagi

    Yes, Shak, I have browsed and read news story comment threads in the ニュース section in the left menu.

  • Sonagi

    東アジアnews+ under 世界情勢 is a good place to find news and comment threads on 韓国・北朝鮮、and 中国. The thread titles are crammed together in tiny font, but one can easily pick out the names of countries of interest, read the headline, and click in if interested.

  • DLBarch

    Sonagi’s Japper must be pretty awesome, ’cause for most non-native speakers of Japanese, including (and maybe especially) nisei and sansei types, 2ch.net will quickly disabuse any student of Japanese who thinks they have killer Japper skills. The site’s innumerable fora are so filled with obscure slang and abbreviations that translation is a real bitch.

    DLB

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    Sonagi, I know but there are so many threads, and AFAIK each commenter is anonymous, so there is no way to know which commenter started a thread, whether it is worth reading and so on.

  • http://www.chiamattt.com chiamattt

    In Bulgwang you can get a good bowl of dog soup for 8,000 and the soju is 2,000 per bottle. :)

  • mateomiguel

    strange how the worst-designed forum on the Internet is also one of the most popular.

  • JW

    gawd almighty, I could really use a nice big helping of 개고기 수육 and 소주 right about now…

  • Jewook

    What’s this talk about high-end food? The only thing high-end about it, is it’s price. It’s all just food.

    he doesn’t talk anything about whether dog meat is really good for male stamina or if that’s just a myth.

    Come on NetizenKim, anyone with half an objective brain should realize it’s just a bunch of hogwash. That’s just as stupid as saying beating a dog to death makes it tastes better. I eat boshintang only because it tastes good, eating it for any other reason is nonsense.

  • cm

    Japanese 2ch is a cesspool of anti Korean racial hatred bordering on obsessive lunacy. I don’t blame Shak for denying that he reads that site. Even he feels embarrassed about that site, so it really must be bad. Like Sonagi, I don’t believe he doesn’t read that site. For instance, his 2006′s post in his blog that Koreans supposedly claim Confucius was a Korean, came from the 2ch forum members. The latest popularity at that Japanese forum is that dirty primitive animals that Koreans are, they drink “Shit Liquor”. Participants there really believe that Koreans drink “Shit Liquor”.

  • http://www.occidentalism.org shakuhachi

    cm,

    There is nothing wrong with 2ch. I would read it if they had an adequate format that was easy to navigate. There are millions of threads on 2ch, about child rearing, literature, politics, travel, hobbies, and almost any kind of subject you can think of. Anyway, you read 2ch?

  • t_song

    @Sonagi
    Again proving yourself to be the Korean blogosphere’s most self-reverent poster, by a distance. Care to pick apart my English just like many of us on this thread seem to want to tear into some boshingtang?

  • MrMao

    Shit Liquor

    So, can you definitively tell me what is in soju?

  • SomeguyinKorea

    10 000 won makes dog meat soup a delicacy? I’d almost believe it if I didn’t know that people pay about 30 000 won for a family-sized at Pizza Hut here.

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  • seouldout

    I like my meat to come from animals that dine on human fæces . From the bog to the hog, so to speak.

    Anyone here know whether beating a panda makes it tastier?

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    People who eat dogs are sinners.
    Dog eating is a practice also found in China, Vietnam, as well as Korea. It’s a stupid practice.
    To this day, I believe that dog butchers are more emotionally torn up inside relative to butchers who handle cattle, pigs, chickens, ducks.

    Sad enough, cats are also butchered for health reasons in the above reasons as an arthritis remedy. Where is that landmark study that proves cat soju treats arthritis or dog meat gives an old man a boner?

    It’s all shit.

    You eat dog, you go to hell, simple as that.

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    i haven’t seen Jay Leno do a show about the Chinese penis restaurant. Why doesn’t he?

    Answer: He’s a pussy.

    When dealing with the Chinese, numbers matter.

  • wjk, 검은 머리 외국인

    http://www.impactlab.com/2008/04/29/a-visit-to-beijings-exclusive-penis-restaurant/

    the roots and origins of your/our dog eating culture. Stupidity.

  • yuna

    wjk, you are a man after my own heart.
    It is indeed stupidity.

  • yuna

    It’s what I despise the most in (Eastern) medicine and food culture and its obsession with longevity, male sex drive and general health – the obscene arrogance that puts superfluous well-being of humans above everything and the utter disregard for all other creatures and their suffering. I know other cultures are also guilty but it seems to be more prevalent in the East despite its modernization. From the horrible way sashimi dish is brought to ones table with the fish still alive and whole but cut up in bits, to the horrible way in which the bears are tortured for their innards. It’s only one step above doing experimentation on disabled people. I never understood anyone’s argument that it’s our unique culture or right.

  • inkevitch

    A word of warning, do not take the “natural” chinese herbal erection pills. They are poorly controlled off label viagra. Had a patient that came in after about 1 week of erection (he had seen a doctor and the usual medication, sudafed, had not been effective and he did not return till he presented to the ED with his now black penis). The guy was a douche but….

    The blood had coagulated, therfore no new blood to penis, therefore ischaemia, therefore permanent loss of erectile function.

    On the other hand it is good fun practice for ED reg’s to extract coagulated blood from erect penises.

  • t_song

    With all this talk of aphradisiacs, I can’t hold off from this one. (Korean?) Male Sex Life Span is, ahhahaha — you can’t make this shit up — uhhh, 69.

  • seouldout

    Because a dog’s cell structure is very similar to man’s it is better able to counteract the effect of a 4-bottles-of-soju-and-2-packs-of-smokes-a-day habit. Can hang a full 5-gallon pail of water from your woody.

  • Mizar5

    @ yuna: excellent comment.

  • otoritakeo

    shakuhachi wrote:

    “BTW, I have never actually read 2ch. I want to but I have no idea how to navigate the site. I have asked others, but neither do they.”

    Later:
    “There is nothing wrong with 2ch. I would read it if they had an adequate format that was easy to navigate. There are millions of threads on 2ch, about child rearing, literature, politics, travel, hobbies, and almost any kind of subject you can think of. Anyway, you read 2ch?”

    Post amnesia?