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Good Doggy [Nov. 8th, 2006|03:31 pm]
Food Tube
Unusually straightforward Chinese name - "dog meat hotpot"

What it really is - a dog meat hotpot

Location - Backstreet restaurant

Everyone knows how English people are sentimental about dogs. Given the choice to either contribute to a charity for the homeless or to one for homeless dogs, a significant majority of the public opted for the latter. The idea of eating them seems to actually offend people who never think twice about eating other meat. During the 2002 world cup people actually went over to Seoul to protest about it.
I don't see anyone protesting about the eating of bacon, though pigs seem to be in every way more intelligent than dogs. Besides that I've never been attacked, threatened or snapped at by a pig.
So when I met up with my ex-girlfriend last week and she mentioned a place that served dog meat I insisted that she take me there so I could try it. The restaurant was tiny and down a series of backstreets. Here it is, and here she is:

As you can see, it wasn't anywhere near as classy as the previous restaurant. When I first came to China I'd have probably even been scared of eating here, but now I've come to love these places. The prices are cheaper, the staff friendlier and the food often just as good or even better.
By the time the food had come we were joined by various acquaintances of my ex. They ordered a very expensive, very bland fish. Then the dog hotpot arrived. As with the duck parts there was an oil-lamp fire underneath, and a covered container on top.

After a couple of minutes the top was taken off to reveal the meaty hotpot goodness. Besides the meat itself there were big chunks of ginger and nothing else, no vegetables, no rice. When you're eating a carnivore you might as well dispense with garnish.

There was a side-dish, though - a very small saucer which contained some fermented tofu. Fermented tofu is the Chinese equivalent of blue cheese - it smells even stronger and more sock-like than a ripe gorgonzola. The taste is also surprisingly similar. Most people have trouble getting past the smell. I mashed it up, took a bit of dog meat, and dipped.

I put a little into my mouth and chewed. The first flavour was the fermented tofu, sour, pungent, cheesy and delicious.

The meat itself was pretty good. The texture was like beef, but not quite as tough, and quickly softening. The flavour, under the tofu, was surprisingly mild. I'd been told to expect a strong, bitter taste, but it just wasn't there. It was just like eating a nice piece of beef, but leaner and more tender, and with more small bones.

There was even a segment of tail in the pot. It had been skinned and cooked for a while, but I just wasn't really up for trying that yet, so the ex ate it instead.

She was loving it.

The more I ate the dog hotpot the better it got. The ginger in the sauce complimented the meat perfectly. I've never really been a fan of really red meat - it's always seemed to me to be too chewy and gristly to be really enjoyable. The dog meat was just generally nicer. The meat came right off the bone and tasted very good - mild, sweet and delicious. The ex and I polished it off in no time.

Because there were so many smaller bones in the pot, the leftovers ended up filling up a bowl. The fermented tofu had to be rationed - don't know how I ever thought twice about eating it. There was a stray dog wandering about - I asked the ex whether she thought it would eat the bones if we gave it some. She thought it would know, somehow. I thought she had some very strange ideas. Don't worry, we didn't give it any.

So, all in all, dog hotpot is the heavily recommended. Don't listen to people who say it is poisonous - that's just the liver. Don't listen to the people who say it tastes foul, they are evidently just eating the wrong dog. Don't listen to people who make jokes about unidentified meat in low-priced restaurants being dog, either. It's one of the more expensive meats and if you serve it you'd want to advertise the fact.

Update: 10/1/2007

Since I wrote this a couple of months ago there have been more comments than I can deal with. Since I haven't the time or the inclination to reply to all of them here are some further points:

Vegetarians vs vegetarian-haters - I choose to eat meat, some people choose not to. This is all fair and good. Any further arguments are unneccecary, surely?

People don't really normally eat dog - Around here they certainly do. I see dogs hanging up in butchers' windows pretty much every day.

Dogs are treated cruelly - This is a tricky one, and a lot more complex than at first sight. The main problem here is getting independent information. There are a fair few sites on the internet with grisly details but these seem to all start with the premise that 'eating dog is wrong' and work from there. Aside from this they are all based on the Korean dog trade - I'm a long way from Korea and Cantonese food is as different as, to take an example, Italian food is from Scandinavian. This doesn't mean they are treated well, of course, just that it is near impossible to say. Local friends have re-assured me that many of the horror stories don't apply down here, but until I know more I won't be eating dog again.

Personal insults - If you have something to say I'd be a lot more willing to listen to it if you stay calm and don't resort to name-calling.

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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-08 08:53 am (UTC)

dead dogs dinner

that sounded so good i now have the urge to dig up my dead dog's remains and gorge on the feast within.and he's been dead 6 years...
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-08 09:56 am (UTC)

Re: dead dogs dinner

Mmm... gamey.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-08 12:37 pm (UTC)

On feeding a dog the bones

I read in a book a Karibali- a small island country in the middle of the pacific- that the dogs there kill and eat each other all the time, due to the fact there's nothing else to eat.

I ate dog in Laos, and agree with you, it's yummy. Can't believe you ate balut though, that's just wrong, I used to leave the room when my ex was eating it.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-11 01:30 am (UTC)

Re: On feeding a dog the bones

ugh, balut - shiver!!!!!
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-10 08:12 pm (UTC)


is endemic in China

can you get it from eating infected dogmeat?
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[User Picture]From: skullbound
2006-11-12 07:04 am (UTC)

Re: Rabies

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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-10 08:27 pm (UTC)
I can't believe, this being LiveJournal and all, that you have not been flamed mercilessly already. Mmmmmmmm, dog...
Whaen are you going to eat cat?
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[User Picture]From: foodtube
2006-11-12 01:54 pm (UTC)
I'm not sentimental at all about dogs, but I am a little about cats. A shame, in a way, as there is plenty of snake and cat soup around here.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-10 08:50 pm (UTC)
Eating any meat is wrong, you scumbag
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-11 01:33 am (UTC)
get off it! not eating meat on pure principle is a disgrace to the culinary wonders of this world - and to humanity on the whole. face it, we are all part of a global food chain and refusing to eat meat is therefore going against nature!
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Re: Biologically - (Anonymous) Expand
Re: BONG - (Anonymous) Expand
Re: BONG - (Anonymous) Expand
scumbaggy me! - (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
erm - (Anonymous) Expand
Eating dog - (Anonymous) Expand
From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-10 08:59 pm (UTC)


Nothing I like to see more than a lady with some tail in her mouth!

Aside from the obligatory daft comment then this is a fine effort though the tofu sounds nasty. Next on your list, if your ever in the middle east, should be camel cock. While eating it a mate said "just imagine, thats been a camels pussy". That was slightly offputting.
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From: juliaqygak
2008-07-16 06:28 pm (UTC)
Whilst we would all like to see it in a more mainly cartridge than. 22LR, the advantage is that in this smaller calibre, it is fully UK legal in semi-auto format.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-10 11:01 pm (UTC)


ate some in nam, it was disgusting! but mine was cold served on some leaves and w/ a shot of snake wine-

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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-12 08:26 pm (UTC)

Re: dog

Cheltenham or Birmingnham?
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[User Picture]From: apweiler
2006-11-10 11:38 pm (UTC)


I'm not sure I could bring myself to eat dog, even though I know it's entirely irrational - heck, I'll eat fluffy bunnies; I don't even *like* dogs but the conditioning is to strong.

But the fermented tofu sounds interesting. Seems to be making a lot of people go "ewww", but I'm a great fan of strong blue cheeses, so that stuff sounds *very* intriguing.

Mmmh, exotic food...
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From: clarencemcguir
2008-10-17 03:50 am (UTC)
I'm not sure they would want to date you, though. Posted by: the doctor on January PM The harsh truth is - Its hard for men to find an intellectual equal - name me THREE decent female philosophers of note who have changed the course of human thinking on a scale the likes of Kant, Plato, Wilbur, Aristotle, Baudrillard.
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[User Picture]From: rob_t_firefly
2006-11-11 01:17 am (UTC)
I'm a dog lover and would never eat one, but I still have to thank you for doing so and writing this. You've saved me from just that much idle curiosity.

Hooray for foodtube!
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From: ritacelur
2008-07-17 03:06 am (UTC)
For me, that’s the best thing you could have done to make ME happy. Yes, I’m that sad. For me, a Sheppard centred episode is good, but not the be all and end all, if you will.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-11 09:00 am (UTC)


Sod the tales of dog scoffing - why is she your ex?
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[User Picture]From: xvmorganalefayv
2006-11-12 07:07 am (UTC)

Re: Ex?

Best comment so far.
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-11 10:15 am (UTC)

Bullet proof stomach!!

I love my B3TA for opening my eyes to all these things you guys get up to!! I have travelled and worked in many countries worldwide and have come across some very strange food!! But I have never been very good at trying these exotic dishes!! I laugh my arse off when I see what your Bullet proof stomach can take!!!! I am proud of you my son!!!!
The camels cock btw i did try by accident, I saw one on a plate and it was remarkebly like a fried banana so I ordered it! only when I took the first chew did I realise my mistake, so now bananas are off the menu too :-(
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[User Picture]From: bad80shair
2006-11-11 10:32 am (UTC)
You've no idea what breed it is? I want to post cute pictures of one.

Fuck it, let's just asume it was this little tacker:

cute puppy

No wonder the meat was tender, this little bastard's never worked a day in his life!
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-11 01:21 pm (UTC)


No offence mate, but with your ex and all that: Is this a case of Dog eat Dog?

Barbara Wodehouse
[always available to sort your ex out]

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Re: Dogs... - (Anonymous) Expand
From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-11 06:56 pm (UTC)

May I please ask two questions,

1) Why?
2) Are you a vegetarian?
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[User Picture]From: moodring54
2006-11-11 05:40 pm (UTC)
I have yet to try it, but I really want to. I'm putting that on the list of places to go in Korea, but there probably aren't many places in the city to get it because a lot of restaurants got intimidated by foreign protesters during the World Cup.

Maybe it's just having a family of farmers and hunters who raise/hunt animals to eat them, but I hold no sentimental value for certain animals. Some animals I wouldn't eat simply because in my mind I associate them with disease and filth, like rats. I probably could get over that though if I saw the actual food preparation from beginning to end.
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[User Picture]From: xvmorganalefayv
2006-11-12 07:08 am (UTC)
Sewer rats are diseased and filthy, pet rats are perfectly clean and adorable. :)
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From: (Anonymous)
2006-11-12 07:34 am (UTC)
I love dogs, but I'm always up to try new things. I doubt I'll ever get the opportunity though :\

Good post :)
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