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Shocking but its the truth...(Dried Dog Meat for Hot Pot)..MAMMA MIA!!!!

A few nights ago, I was walking down one of Shanghai's smaller streets when I came upon what seemed to be a rather popular hotpot restaurant.  Just outside the shop, I saw the usual laundry load hanging out to dry on a section of sidewalk for all to see... 

But what really caught my eye, was this unusual image you see above of a salted dried meat hung alongside the laundry...  Of course, anything related to food always captures my interest and so I took a closer look to further understand the Chinese culinary customs.  As I approached the meat, initially I thought it may have been the leg of a rabbit, but as I got closer I realised the leg was relatively larger...  Even compared to that of a cat's...  I finally managed to communicate with a gentleman standing near by to find out that this meat was in fact that of a dog's!!  I was horrified (as I am a dog lover - as in the pet), but remained polite and asked what it was used for.  The man pointed his finger towards the hot pot restaurant... 

Apparently, in China, dog meat is consumed particularly in winter time to "heat" the body (keep it warm).  It is often consumed in hot pots or in stews.  For those of you who do not wish to make the mistake of ordering dog (as I may have without knowing it!), look out for the following characters or descriptions in menus when visiting some local restaurants in China ("dog meat" may not always be so plainly written):

1) Xiang rou (香肉): fragrant meat

2) 3-6 xiang rou (三六香肉): in Cantonese refers to 3+6 = 9. The number 9 and dog in the Cantonese language are homophones.

3) Di yang (地羊): means mutton of the earth

I must articulate that NOT ALL Chinese eat dog meat.  In fact, in Shanghai it is rather rare to find a restaurant or a Shanghainese person that eats anything besides pork, beef, chicken and fish.  Most cringe when asked if they've ever tried dog meat.  The areas in China where dog meat is consumed are the Northeastern, Southern and Southwestern parts.   

For our culture we may find that eating dog is an atrocity, but we must remember that we all have our culinary differences, and at the end of the day, a meal is a meal.  After all, not so long ago, people used to think the Japanese were crazy for eating raw fish...  Now it is has become a trend! 


November 30, 2009 |


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