I Ate Dog Meat in Vietnam

Categories: Travel Hog

DogMeatVietnam.JPG
All photos by Zachary Fagenson
Dog meat, herbs, fish sauce.
No, I don't know what breed it was. Yes, I know I'm disgusting. It tastes mostly like overcooked lamb. The worst part is actually the mushy gray fermented shrimp sauce that smells like a bowl of anchovies left to bake in the sun for six months.

Now that your basic questions about dog meat -- thit cho (pronounced teet-choh) in Vietnamese -- are out of the way we can dig a little deeper.

In northern Vietnam dog meat is a common, even celebratory meal fare. It is safest, I'm told, to eat at restaurants that specialize in it. It's not uncommon for the poor to dig up a recently deceased Snoopy or pull a stray off the street and sell it to the highest bidder eager to make an extra buck.

In a country where a plate of grilled pork meatballs or chicken thighs sprinkled with rock sugar and fish sauce might cost you a dollar or two, a plate of dog meat with ribbons of fat and skin attached to each will cost you seven.

North Vietnam's taste for dog (and cat) meat stems from yearlong famine that took place there in 1944 and '45, long before work began on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and hippies burned their draft cards.

"Look around," my guide told me on a drive through rice paddies en route to Ha Long Bay. "You don't see any wild animals."

Somewhere between 400,000 and 2 million people died when Vietnam's then colonial master, France, forced its agrarian economy into one to support the war effort.

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23 comments
Angela Vergara
Angela Vergara

Never said it was the same you idiot. I'm making an analogy and while the level of "fucked up" is way different it is still fucked up. We live in a world where we eat dogs, monkey brains and marry 9 year olds. That's "entertainment" instead of condemning this behavior and so called "culture" we advertise it and idolize it. Sick sick sick.

Analise Calleiro
Analise Calleiro

Sooo... I am a dog lover and activist.., but i don't find this any different than eating a cow, chicken, or pig. It is, what it is. Respect different cultures.

Cts Limo Cts Limo
Cts Limo Cts Limo

Hindu treat cows as God's because they're not Christian, Asians eat cats & dogs because of powerty years ago there was no foid for common people only the rich it's in their nature to eat what they eat

tony.jones30
tony.jones30

 In Asia & SE Asia it is very common to eat any thing that moves including dog. The norm is to raise these dogs very similar to the way we raise pigs or cows in the US, In cramped pins, eating chemical ridden feed by companies specializing in dogs.  They are not pets they are a commodity.  The issue with the article is less about the subject and more about the way the author presented it.  The opening line says it all about the closed minded nature of the subject by the author.  What do you expect the comment section to be filled with starting a piece like that?  Poorly written and not informative just "I ate dog and it was disgusting" peppered with failed attempts at wit.  Terrible writing.

Mency Acosta
Mency Acosta

If you ever ate chicken/beef or any other type of meat than STFU! Hypocrites! only ones that should be allowed to complain are vegans. What makes a dog more special than a pig or a chicken. I have a dog and I had chickens I can say they are both smart as hell and deserve the same respect. But obviously that is not what are hypocrite society thinks.

Beci Figini Jacobs
Beci Figini Jacobs

Did you compare raping a child to eating a dog? Yea, that's the same...

Angela Vergara
Angela Vergara

Whatever makes you people sleep better at night.

Miami New Times
Miami New Times

Karolina, Angela suffers from an American superiority complex and cultural bias. She fails to realize there is a world outside American borders. Ignore her.

Karolina Sucre
Karolina Sucre

Did someone just tell the author to die because he engaged in a cultural commonality when he went to a different country? News flash: in America, we eat beef like its nothing meanwhile in India these animals are sacred beings. The Vietnamese don't treat Yorkies like a family member like we do in the states.

Angela Vergara
Angela Vergara

You sick enabler fuck. Die. This like saying you went to Irak and married a 9 year old and had sex with her just for shits and giggles. DISGUSTING

Ezequiel Galan
Ezequiel Galan

Something, something "doggy bag." Oops, my cultural bias is getting in the way.

rzayo24
rzayo24

My wife is Vietnamese, and eating dog meat is very rare in the towns ive visited with her (i asked to be sure i wasnt eating it). Most towns have one place that specializes JUST in that, and the locals joke about it and think its as gross as we do. The older people, as mentioned in this article, have lived through when it was normal, and will eat anything if hungry and poor, so its not as weird.


The "no seeing wildlife" thing is so true. When I last went we played "find a bird"...you cant. Rarely if ever will you see a wild animal. Turtles are really sought after too, and sell for a high price. A lot of people may comment on this post and scoff at the thought of eating dog meat, but I hope that they realize not all cultures are the same, and times have changed, however not everyone changes so easy.


Vietnamese raise chickens in their yard and build pools for fish to breed, they really are very resourceful...sometimes the resources we think are crazy are normal to them i guess. 

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