Dog on the menu to beat the heat

2011-07-14 15:00
Seoul - Thursday was not a good day to be a dog in South Korea. That's because it was one of the three hottest days according to the Korean lunar calendar - and dog soup is one way to beat the heat.

On "Chobok", people seeking to protect the body from overheating eat traditional healthy foods such as ginseng chicken soup, broiled eel, and "bo-shin-tang", literally "body preservation stew".

Dogs are bred to be eaten in South Korea, and advocates say bo-shin-tang, which consists of dog meat boiled in a mix of hot and strong spices and vegetables, is good for the health. It is considered a delicacy by some.

"The reason why I eat dog soup is because it boosts my energy, even when I'm most tired," said 56-year-old Shin Gwan-sup, sitting in a dog soup restaurant.

"Compared to other meats, it has more protein and less fat. I think it is healthy and clean, a more suitable meat for us."

The Korean practice of eating dog has drawn criticism from overseas for its cruelty, with French actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot among some of the most vocal critics.

But Korean dog meat connoisseurs remain undaunted, with long lines forming on Thursday outside dog speciality restaurants.

Beating the heat was painful for diners this year, though, with the price of the ginseng chicken soup, or sangyetang, jumping. Severe rain has also pushed up the price of vegetables used in the soups.

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