Monday, May 12, 2008

The Other White Meat

Oh I dunno, just thought I'd throw this WSJ article out there.

SEOUL, South Korea -- As the hot summer rolls around, many South Koreans will dine on a local dish that's often named "sweet meat" or "healthy soup."

The dish is dog -- and it supposedly gives an energizing boost without a filled-up feeling. Some say it enhances stamina and sexual prowess. But dog meat has recently been linked to a spate of salmonella and staph infections, drawing the attention of authorities -- and bringing a long-simmering cultural dispute to a boil.

Or it makes you want to piss on your neighbor's shrubs.

Though dog meat is officially banned in Seoul, enforcement is lax. It is served by an unsupervised industry of small farmers, butchers and mom-and-pop restaurants. In Seoul alone, some 530 restaurants have dog on the menu, mostly spicy dog-meat stew laced with ginger and garlic for about $10 a bowl, about twice as much as soups made with seafood or beef.

Now that puts a different angle on Shepard Pie. I guess everything on the menu comes in a doggie bag. I wouldn't mind trying Leg O'Lassie, or the Rin Tin Tin platter - broiled Boxer briquettes, poached Pinscher and refried Retriever. Maybe the ever popular Shih Tzu on a Stick, a relative of the corn dog on a leash...

In March, Seoul's food-safety office tied some salmonella cases to dog meat. Concerned, officials proposed designating dogs as "livestock," which would subject the meat to rules on sanitation. While there's no timetable for a final decision, the agency is now making a formal survey of handling methods at restaurants known to serve dog.

Getting your entre to "sit," "speak," and "roll over" can be an excellent way to work up a healthy appetite. You can even take your dinner for a healthy walk before hand. Those beautiful, adoring eyes looking at you lovingly from between your hands will go nicely with cocktail sauce.

[,,,]Outside the capital, there are no restrictions on dog meat. A large outdoor market in the suburb of Moran, 20 miles south of central Seoul, is one of the centers of the trade in South Korea. About a dozen butchers line a row at the market, with a shop that sells herbs and spices for the stew at the end. The smell of butane, used to fuel burners to remove fur from dog carcasses, hangs over the market. Some butchers also sell goat, goose and chicken.

Today, most dog meat comes from a breed simply known as "yellow dog" that looks similar to an indigenous hunting breed called Jindo. Most are raised on farms with dozens of other dogs, fed scrap from restaurants and sold for meat at between 12 and 18 months of age.

Yellow dog, the Angus of the breed.

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