Dog meat: Cuisine and the distraction of the Western culture

01/02/2017

It’s 2017 Tet festival in Vietnam, and the main topic is about cuisine. As usual cuisine is about dishes and specialities, but for many reasons including democracy and humanitarian values, people from other countries, other cultures, have criticized each other for what to eat and what not. This article is about dog meat, a special dish in some Asian nations like China, North Korea and Vietnam.
First, what is dog meat? Dog meat is the flesh and other edible parts derived from dogs. Historically, human consumption of dog meat has been recorded in many parts of the world, including East and Southeast AsiaWest AfricaEuropeOceania and the Americas. In the 21st century, dog meat is consumed in many parts of ChinaKoreaVietnam, and even Switzerland, as well as other parts of Europe, the Americas, and in the African continent, such as CameroonGhana and Liberia. Today, a number of cultures view the consumption of dog meat as part of their traditional and day-to-day cuisine, while others – such as Western culture – consider consumption of dog meat a taboo, although they have been consumed in times of war or other hardships. It was estimated in 2014 that worldwide, 25 million dogs are eaten each year by humans.
In Vietnam, dog meat is particularly popular in the urban areas of the north, and can be found in special restaurants which specifically serve dog meat. Dog meat is believed to bring good fortune in Vietnamese culture. It is seen as being comparable in consumption to chicken or pork. In urban areas, there are sections that house a lot of dog meat restaurants. For example, on Nhat Tan street, Tây Hồ District, Hanoi, many restaurants serve dog meat. The consumption of dog meat can be part of a ritual usually occurring toward the end of the lunar month for reasons of astrology and luck. Restaurants which mainly exist to serve dog meat may only open for the last half of the lunar month. Dog meat is also believed to raise the libido in men.
However, there are indications that the desire to eat dog meat in Vietnam is waning. Part of the decline is thought to be due to an increased number of Vietnamese people keeping dogs as pets, as their incomes have risen in the past few decades.
Many foreigners have criticized this dish in Vietnam when they come to visit the country. For them, dogs or cats are human’s friends, even like members of the family, so dog meat is something extremely terrible to them. For this dish and other Vietnamese ways of processing foods like killing animals in public, these foreigners and even some Vietnamese judge Vietnamese culture as undeveloped one even inhumane and undemocratic to animals. This is quite ridiculous if considering dog meat just cuisine aspects. It comes from the country’s history, a long harsh poor history of Vietnamese people’s lives in wars. Up to now, when the country has been impressively developing, this dish still sticks to the country’s culture as a cuisine routine not for barbarous intentions. I am sure that is the case.
  About the civilization in cuisine, to people who view dog meat attached to uncivilized communities or even nations, let’s take a look at cuisine in countries that claim themselves as civilized like France, Japan. Don’t you know the Japanese like eating sushi from fresh fishes even dolphins and whales, which are considered smarter than dogs or cats. Not just that.
Come to France, shining capital of European continental, there are two dishes that would be judged as inhumane and uncivilized: foie gras and ortolan.
Foie Gras" is a French dish meaning "fatty liver," and said liver comes from either ducks or geese. Yes, the buttery texture of Foie Gras is achieved by sticking a long metal pipe down the bird's esophagus and pneumatically pumping a pound of a greasy corn mix directly into their digestive systems, which then gets deposited straight in their livers, thus expanding and saturating them with fat. The birds are allowed to run around and indulge on grass when they are young, not to alleviate the farmer's guilt about what is to come, but to strengthen their esophagi so that they don't die during the food gun period, which can last two or three weeks (with two "meals" each day). You might be surprised to know that both the ducks and the geese don't take too kindly to being orally probed and force fed corn. Therefore the preferred method of keeping the birds from struggling and exercising is by sticking them in little boxes where the little buggers can't spread their wings or even stand up. At this point the ducks/geese are taken to slaughter, presumably being insulted the whole way.
An ortolan bird is about six inches long and weighs just four ounces. It's olive green and yellow, with a touch of ruby here and there. Most people who look at them immediately want to keep ortolans as pets and give them funny un-bird like names, such as Jerry or Ginger. The recipe for ortolan is this: Capture the bird in the wild, blind it using a pair of pincers, stick it in a tight cage so it can't move, keep it on a diet of millet, grapes and figs until it reaches two to four times its normal size, and then drown it in a snifter of Armagnac. We are still undecided if the last part makes this whole dish gruesome or totally fucking sweet. The secret to enjoying Ortolan is in the way you eat it. After roasting the bird for six to eight minutes, you cover your face with a napkin, place the whole bird inside your mouth, with only it's head and beak sticking out... and bite down. The head falls into the napkin, while you slowly bite through Jerry's tiny bones, tiny muscles and even tinier innards. The finale comes when you bite through its lungs and stomach, releasing pockets of brandy into your mouth. The covering your face with a napkin part is said to have been started by a priest, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, who did it to hide his gluttony from God. Though we'd think it probably also kept him from getting kicked out of multiple restaurants. That’s so civilized and humane to such beautiful animals, these dishes even get them criticizing each other like Vietnamese in dog meat issue.
Most of you love a good steak or some fried chicken or, hell, both at the same time. And it's no secret that the life of an animal headed for the slaughterhouse isn't all smiles and happy songs. Are American and European people vegetarians and do not eat meat? The answer is “NO”. They just don’t know or even don’t care where meats come from and how they are made. They just take it from supermarkets and consider them as attained moral standards, so they claim themselves rights to criticize others for eating dog meat or even pork due to their moral standards of killing. All are just hypocrisy. Meats are meat. Dishes are cuisine and cuisine belongs to culture. So different cultures hold different views about their cuisine, the civilization is that you do not judge or criticize other countries because of difference, even you don’t like and don’t agree with them. That’s civilization in the modern world of globalization./.
Chia sẻ bài viết ^^
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All comments [ 2 ]


John Smith 1/2/17 19:36

Generally speaking, the consumption of dog flesh is taboo not only in Europe but also in Asia. This has been the case for many centuries, although exceptions have occurred in times of scarcity such as sieges or famines.

Only Solidar 1/2/17 19:44

Not just dog meat, all meat before you eat must be some animals killed. Don't be foolish to think that meat just comes from supermarkets. LOL!

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