Wednesday, August 14, 2019

[Food] Bosingtang (보신탕, Dog Meat Soup)


[Food] Bosingtang (보신탕, Dog Meat Soup)

!Warning! If you are a pet or dog lover, this article may cause you disgust. You may leave this article by entering 'backspace'.

Bosingtang (보신탕, Dog Meat Soup)

Today I bring you a very controversial food that has made Korea very famous (in another way) globally for more than 20 years. This is not my favorite food but I like it, and I usually eat it in a very hot summer's day for stamina and energy, as do other Koreans (though Koreans don't eat this dish much these days).

In the present day, only Korea and Vietnam has a culture of eating dog meat among Asian countries. Then since when and where did it come from?

Eating dog meat began in B.C. 676 in China. It is recorded that ancient people killed dogs for rituals and ate dog meat on the day of ancestral rites (Confucianism) for nourishment and the prevention of contagious diseases. Moreover, dog meat was considered a very precious and special dish for its nutritional value.

Chinese culture flowed into Korea, which also practiced Confucianism, and Korea sacrificed dogs for ancestral rites too. Dog meat culture gradually disappeared in China because nomadic tribes found their kingdom in China, and dogs became very important animals for nomadic tribes as they could be used for hunting and managing livestock. On the other hand, Koreans were agricultural people so they didn't have any reason not to eat dogs, which explains why dog meat culture still remains in Korea.

Anyway, I visited a restaurant which specializes in Bosintang (Dog meat soup) on Malbok (the last and hottest day of the year in Korea). In Korea, dog meat soup is called 'Bosintang', which means 'A soup that protects body'.

Kimchi, radish kimchi, dwenjang (Korean bean paste), chopped ginger, onion and spicy sauce for dog meat

Spicy sauce for dog meat is mixed chopped ginger and perilla

Bosintang: Dog meat, chives, spring onions in dwenjang (bean-paste-based soup)
It looks just like beef or pork. Dog meat is tender and chewy with a savory flavor. 
It is better when you eat the meat with chives and a special sauce.
Today, bosintang is not a very popular dish to young people 20-30 years old but it is still chosen as the best food for stamina and nutrition in the summer days. Moreover, Koreans aged 40-50  love to eat bosintang for energy and refreshment.

Meanwhile, there is on-going controversy over bosintang and the cruel method of dog butchery regarding animal ethics between animal protection groups and dog meat sellers, bosintang restaurant owners. It never ends because some people consider dogs as a 'friend' or 'family', while others consider dog 'livestock' that can be eaten.

As an epicure myself, I think that both opinions need to be respected because it is a matter of a difference of thoughts. There are many exotic and 'cruel' foods in the world, and I think bosintang is just one of them.

I recommend bosintang for people who need great stamina and energy unless you are a dog-lover :)

Bon Appétit!