South Korea is often maligned and mocked by natives of other countries because Koreans traditionally eat the meat of dogs as well as other, more conventional meats. As one of the rare foreigners (of Canadian origin) who was curious about this, rather than revolted, and tried dog meat for the first time last night, I would like to say a resounding "Yum!"

Boshin T'ang translates into English as something like "healthy body soup." Like most Korean soups, it is served in restaurants in a metal bowl kept hot on a portable gas range while you eat.

The broth is brown in color and very spicy. Aside from the dog meat and broth, there is dog skin and lots of leeks and sesame leaves. You essentially only pay for the meat, since you can continue to ask for more broth and greens as long as you want, for no extra charge.

What the reader is probably most interested in knowing, however, is what the meat itself tastes like. What it reminded me of more than anything else was lamb. It's very soft, and fairly fatty. It's also less stringy, and milder in flavour than lamb. It won't replace lamb as my favorite meat of all time, but it's certainly more tasty than boring old beef or pork.

The only thing I didn't particularly care for was the dog skin. Like pig skin (which I also tried for the first time this weekend), it is chewy and flavourless. No problem, though. I simply didn't eat more than one or two pieces of it.

My friend, Mr. Pak (who we nicknamed 2Pac) says that he doesn't understand why so many people are sickened by the fact that Koreans eat dog. I agree, in that most people would not consider eating rabbit to be strange, despite the fact that we also occasionally keep rabbits as pets. I love his justification, though: "The dogs we eat and the dogs we keep as pets are not the same dogs. We only eat the stupid ones." This is such compelling logic that I would probably opt to apply it if ever stuck in a Donner Party-type situation. :)

In conclusion, I would heartily recommend boshin t'ang to anyone coming to Korea. I plan on sampling other dog dishes before leaving this wonderful country. Unfortunately, the negative stigma imposed by the rest of the world on the habit of eating dog has resulted in dog restaurants being exceedingly hard to find, in obscure back neighbourhoods. The only good way to find them is to have a Korean friend.

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