This past Saturday I fulfilled another wishlist item for my time in Korea. Throughout the past nine months a few of us have always bounced around the idea of eating dog at a dog meat restaurant here in Daegu.
Dog meat is not that common in Korea. There aren’t restaurants everywhere and every Korean I’ve asked about it has adamantly denied ever eating it. It’s not a delicacy but more of a novelty cuisine. I suppose there are plenty of anti-dog-meat groups in Korea as there might be in the US. I might equate this with eating Rocky Mountain Oysters (which I recall doing in the summer of 2003-ish) in Wyoming. Some people cringe, some smile, few ever salivate.
I have no moral obstacle with the idea of eating dog. So, the decision to seek out one of these restaurants was reached with relative ease. It began with conducting a search on Naver. Naver is the Google of Korea. I looked up 보신탕 which is dog soup, the prominent dish made with dog meat. I narrowed the search to my district and found the following map.
Took a cab, walked around until we could find the place, then entered. When we arrived we saw about 5 ajummas sitting in the front floor doing 김장 which is the process of making Kimchi. It’s the Kimchi-making season now in Korea, and these ladies were hard at work.
There were four of us in the group, all non-Koreans, and we were greeted and seated. The restaurant was half restaurant, half house. We made it obvious we were there to eat dog and the owners seemed pleased with our enthusiasm. I hung up my coat and took a seat.
We ordered and began to drink a bit. The food arrived with a plate full of chopped up dog. I’m not sure the breed, sex, or anything about it. But, the meat looked rubbery and a bit grotesque. The plate was accompanied with a piping hot bowl of dog soup, the actual 보신탕. Various seasonings and veggies were added to supplement the dog.
I first tried from the plate and found the meat rather tender. While the plate meat was edible, I found the soup much more tasty. The meat there was really tender and savory. I found myself dipping my spoon in more to recover chunks of meat than the broth.
In Korea, the word for “woof woof” or “bark bark” is 멍멍. So, that’s my experience with 멍멍탕, or, Woof Woof Soup!