Do You Eat Dog?

Having lived in Asia, the question most asked by those who’ve never been is “Have you eaten <insert completely random animal/thing>?”

The answer is, I’ve eaten a lot of crazy things, but we’ll get to that later. The first thing I want to clarify is that, yes, they DO eat cats and dogs in China, but typically only the uneducated. It is also true that they love taking these animals as pets in their homes, and NO they don’t eat their pets. They are probably crazier about their pets than we are, and they tend to not use leashes in public.

SeanDogRestaurant 1024x613 Do You Eat Dog?

I have an American friend with an awesome dog that just follows him around. He goes in taxis, on buses, chases after him while he’s on the skateboard, etc. The animals that get eaten are strays, and although I’d NEVER indulge the curiosity of what animal a dog or cat most closely resembles to my tastebuds, I can say I’ve come across these restaurants.  I’ve also never had the unfortunate pleasure of seeing them hung from hooks, gutted and skinned, however I’ve heard markets exist where these sights are commonplace.

When I ask Chinese people if they’ve eaten dogs or cats, the common reply is “no! only peasants would do that!” It seems that my generation is much more open-minded about human/animal rights, but still a bit close-minded and class-oriented in other ways, which is an altogether different beast I wish to not let out of the cage.

You might see the picture of the scorpions on a stick, and you’re probably wondering if I ate them, right? The answer is also NO! The thought of consuming something with an exoskeleton and claws isn’t quite appealing, when lamb kebabs were being served in the stall immediately to it’s left. (Author’s note: I downed the kebabs in under a minute).

SeanScorpion Do You Eat Dog?

All in all, I’d consider donkey to be the craziest thing I’ve ever eaten. Served cool and sliced thin, you would imagine it was raw beef, but once you pick it up with your chopsticks and put it in your mouth, your brain informs you it’s nothing of the sort. Thankfully, I was told in advance what I was getting myself into, so I opted to try it, but it’s definitely not something I’d care to eat given another chance.

As I was writing the article, I came across this gem, so please give it a read: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2011-10/17/content_13909761.htm

About Sean

Sean lived in China where he taught English for 3 years. While there, he fell in love with cooking, sustainability, the outdoors and Eastern culture. Although he's been in the US for a year, he's gearing up to move back and start his own English school. You can read about his escapades at World Resolution.

Comments

  1. I’ll take the empanadas in the little picture on the bottom of the post, thank you very much.

  2. I’ll try anything once. I am currently working in Laos, and have indulged in most of the “strange” things that our crews eat. I figure if I want to absorb the culture, at least trying all the food is a big part of it. I’ll even admit to trying dog. It is not the best meat. It’s interesting that you say it’s for the uneducated (who are often the most poor) in China. As both here and Nam it’s expensive compared to the standard meat. One of our senior guys (highly educated) bought some dog kebabs to work. It turned into a huge event.

    I am not a fan of the crickets and the spiders (i haven’t had the pleasure of scorpion yet…) But here there is a local specialty of “Bamboo grubs.” Little bugs that spend their lives within bamboo. And they are a delicious snack!

    • Steve, somehow I completely missed your comment earlier! Sorry for the late reply! Sounds like you’ve gone head first into the “local” cuisine. I’ve only been as adventurous as to try insects, can’t say I’m too much of a fan. I think it’s a psychological thing, but the “crunch” grosses me out! We didn’t see the dog vendors in Vietnam, but I hear there’s a popular restaurant row if you will just North of Hanoi. And yet, there are still stray dogs in the street!

      • Yeah, I am not a huge fan of most of the insects. The crickets and grasshoppers and such, with the crunch.

        I tried a couple of new things the other day. Fried bat, and placenta soup!

        But saying all that, I will usually stick with the simple things. Chicken pork etc. Most of the odd things I would not really care to try again. But the bamboo grubs and snake are the exception. Delicious!

  3. 50+ and on the Run says:

    We noticed that some towns in China had lots of dogs and some didn’t…I don’t know…
    Re the odd food: I’m with you, but my kids ate scorpion on a stick! Want proof? Photo here: http://www.50plusandontherun.com/2011/09/is-that-snake.html

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