Thursday, July 26, 2018

"Man bites dog: North Koreans eat dog meat to beat the heat"

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — In North Korea, summer is not a good 
time to be a dog. 
In the sizzling heat, North Korea’s biggest brewery is pumping out 
twice as much beer as usual, Pyongyang residents are lining up to get 
their “bingsu” — a syrupy treat made with shaved ice — and restaurants 
are serving up bowl after bowl of the season’s biggest culinary 
attraction: spicy dog meat soup. 
Euphemistically known as “dangogi,” or sweet meat, dog has long been 
believed to be a stamina food in North and South Korea and is 
traditionally eaten during the hottest time of the year, giving a sad 
twist to the old saying “dog days of summer.” 
The dates are fixed according to the lunar calendar and dog meat 
consumption centers around the “sambok,” or three hottest days — July 
17 and 27, and Aug. 16 this year. Demand appears to be especially high 
this year because of a heatwave in East Asia. Temperatures in the 
North have been among the highest ever recorded, hovering near 40 
degree Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in several cities. 
As is the case with almost everything, good statistics are not 
available for how much dog is eaten in the North. 
But in South Korea, where even President Moon Jae-in has dogs as pets, 
at least 2 million canines are slaughtered and eaten each year even 
though its popularity as food is waning. While many older South 
Koreans believe dog meat aids virility, younger people generally are 
either against the practice or indifferent to it and there has been 
increasing pressure to ban it altogether. 
On both sides of the Demilitarized Zone, dogs used for their meat are 
raised on farms for that express purpose. 
“It’s been our national food since olden times,” explained Kim Ae 
Kyong, a waitress at the Pyongyang House of Sweet Meat, the largest 
dog specialty restaurant in the North Korean capital. “People believe 
that heat cures heat, so they eat dog meat and spicy dog soup on the 
hottest days. It’s healthier than other kinds of meat.” 
The restaurant’s menu lists more than a dozen dog dishes, including 
ribs, hind legs and boiled dog skin. 
Like their neighbors to the South, North Korean attitudes toward dogs 
are changing. 
It is increasingly common to see people walking their dogs on leashes 
in Pyongyang and other cities in the North, a trend that seems to have 
just begun to catch on over the past few years. Feral dogs are common 
in the countryside, however, and left to fend for themselves.

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