"Koreans eat dogs". That is the most common stereotype about Koreans. Vostok Magazine finds out how close it is to the truth.
One of the walls of Goguryeo tombs located in the modern North Korea displays a picture of a dog's carcass lying in the warehouse, dated IV century A.D. In 1816 a Korean poet Chon Hak Yu wrote a poem describing everything the villagers do during a year. In the poem we can see a description of how married women are visiting their parents in August and carry a rice pie, rice wine and boiled dog meat. One of the books of a XIX-century Korean scientist Hong Seok Mo contains a recipe for a dog soup. So historical evidence leaves no doubt that dog meat is a traditional Korean dish.
In the North Korea dog meat is presumably still consumed equally with chicken meat and pork. In 2010 dog meat was included in the list of goods that must be sold by fixed prices by the North Korean government. However, there is no precise data about dog meat consumption there.
According to the statistics, from 5 to 30% of South Koreans tasted dog meat, but only few consume it regularly.
Before Seoul'88 Olympics the government closed lots of restaurants that offered meals made of dog meat and started to make use of a 1984 law concerning the prohibition of dog meat sales. In 2002 during the FIFA World Cup government tried to limit the sales again. Those measures were taken in order to not to worsen the international image of South Korea, as the world considers the dog meat consumption to be "blasphemous".
Lately, an opinion that dog meat consumption is an unnecessary cruelty has become more popular (earlier everyone thought that was one's own business)
During the protest against dog meat consumption in South Korea
Trivia about meat
In Korea it is considered that dog meat is healthy. The meals made of it are eaten mostly in summer.
Koreans don't eat Maltese dogs, Chihuahua, sheep dogs and other home breeds. There are special breeds for consumption the most common of which is nurongi.
Nurongi dogs at the dog farm
We don't know why Koreans were honored to gain the title of the main "dog eaters" of the world. The point is not only they eat dogs, but also other Asians uch as Chinese, Vietnamese, the citizens of some Indonesia and East Timor islands.
The stereotype that Koreans eat dogs was confirmed but only to a certain extent: most of the modern youngsters haven't even tried dog meat and have the same negative opinion on dog meat consumption as Western people do.