South Korea's Appetite for Dog Meat Is Fading
Young people just aren't into eating their pets
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 30, 2014 2:10 PM CDT
Chef Oh Keum-il of Daegyo shows how to cook dog meat at her restaurant in Seoul, South Korea. (She served her last dog-meat meal this week.)   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

(Newser) – For centuries, people have been eating dog meat—neither legal nor banned—in South Korea. Some 30 years ago, chef Oh Keum-il even traveled around North and South Korea, tasting everything from dog stew to dog taffy, to learn the craft of cooking dog. Today, however, customers aren't quite as interested in eating an animal many keep as pets. Oh, for example, served her last bowl of dog stew, or boshintang, this week, closing up South Korea's longest-running dog meat restaurant as young customers avoid the spot and animal rights activists protest her controversial meals.

Though an expert guesses up to 2.5 million dogs are eaten in South Korea each year, "there is too much generational gap in boshintang," says Oh. That's clear for a 30-year-old Korean woman who says she argues with her grandfather about the meal. "Whenever he saw my dog at home, he would say it's the size of one bowl of hot soup," she says. A butcher adds that "dog is not an industry with a long-term future," noting that about 800 restaurants serve it in Seoul, when 1,500 once did. It's sad to see the end of such a lengthy tradition, says Oh, who now plans to open a barbeque restaurant that serves beef instead.

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Showing 3 of 58 comments
ollie
Sep 1, 2014 7:56 AM CDT
"Where oh where has my little dog gone? Oh where oh where can he beeeee?" You don't need to ask in Korea. He's in your soup.
gomer99
Aug 31, 2014 6:53 PM CDT
Dog is fine meat....especially as a base for chili. I ate a lot of it when I was in Peace Corps. It tasted good and cut down on night time barking (by the dogs).
FarmerMichael
Aug 31, 2014 12:55 PM CDT
At least this article on foods folks love to hate mentions the decrease is because the growing middle class in South Korea. Dog has been on the menu for a long time. Lewis and Clark dined on dog (and horse) on their epic walk across America. Poi dogs are still available in Hawaii. I can now talk about the dog scam I found in Viet Nam...local mama san asks lonely new in country GI if he wants a puppy and then is there when guy has to leave beer fattened year old dog behind. (I was in Intelligence. I didn't turn mama san in and was rewarded with very good local gossip that saved lives.) Poor folks eat what they can find. Middle class folks love to tell folks what they should eat. It is the middle class values that threaten the planet more than poor folks values...so tread carefully here with condemnation.