We ate a dog (thịt chó) in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Dog in your Face!

We are stuffed into a taxi like sardines in tomato sauce, swinging cab is accelerating, and breaking the cab driver is driving like a mad man through the Old Quarter of Hanoi. I feel heat, heat coming from my belly, a feeling I have never felt before. –Can it have anything to do with eating “mans best friend”?

Just an hour prior we were all sitting around a table asana style on the floor, trying different preparation of Vietnamese dog meat (thịt chó). Dog sausage, steam dog cold cuts, dog stews and fried dog meat accompanied with fish sauce and herbs. Vietnamese have a whole different love for dogs; they believe that eating dog at the end of the lunar month brings good luck.

— This is weird, do you hear the dogs barking?- asked Jared.

It was five of us, who decided to explore this Vietnamese delicacy, Jason, Jared, Leah and us the two Hot Toddies. A spontaneous idea, which became a reality. Quite surprised to see the three be so down to try dog meat but very awesome as there was no backing away.

— Aga, put the camera down and go ahead try the dog.‑ Said Iza.

I was stealing time by snapping pictures of others first reactions, everybody seemed to be positive. It was my turn and I decided to go for the dog sausage first. I guess a real “hot dog”. My initial reaction was surprisingly good; I thought the dog sausage tasted quite flavorful. The seasoning didn’t really allow for a true dog flavor. But is there a real dog flavor? Dipping into the other dishes I can say that dog meat can be as easily substituted for pork or beef. There is no distinct flavor where it screams DOG. Actually, a guide in Halong Bay told me that sometime they substitute dog meat with pork, as pork is cheaper meat. Main distinction of dog meat will be the fattiness. Dog meat can be a bit fatty and slightly chewy.

After the first few bites, I notice that my palms were sweating, I was nervous and excited to have tried this outlaw dish. I felt we all melted back at ease after trying all the dishes, a relief of accomplishment. Ahooow, ahoooooow.

Looking around the restaurant I noticed that it was becoming busier with a local crowd, it was a mix of families and businessmen. They all seemed to have a typical social dinner dine out. All eyes on us, as we were the only foreigners around.  

My favorite part of the experience was watching Iza’s face after her first bite of fatty fried dog. Priceless.

Now before you drop some morality shit on us like “Hot Toddies have you gone wild, eating dog is just wrong!” let me mention this:

1. Meat wise there is no difference between eating pig, chicken, horse, dog and any other wild animal; the only difference is the taste. Meat is meat. I happen to like pigs; often they are considered to be more intelligent than dogs, yet they continue to find themselves on western dishes. Just because dogs are raised to be “mans best friend” doesn’t change their placement in the food pyramid. You either are a meat eater or a veggie. If you are a vegetarian then I respect your argument and that is a whole different bark sound.


2. We are open-minded backpackers looking for adventure and experiences. No regret. Our life is a perfect balance of Ying and Yang and we try everything once.

Of course you will have your argument and your opinion. But for now lets just say that this is how we justified eating dog.

Not all Vietnamese eat dogs, actually there is a fatty portion of Vietnamese people who believe that eating dog is wrong and fight again it.

Where do these dogs come from? Unlike Korea, which mainly relies on farm-raised dogs, almost all the dogs that are used for meat in Vietnam are either imported from other Southeast Asia countries (especially Thailand) through a mafia controlled underground network, or stolen from pet-owners. 1.

Leaving the cab,  I placed my hand on my belly, it was on fire. The center of my movement and the heat within was incredibly strong. All the girls felt it, we were simmering the idea and trying to cool down the the heat. Perhaps an unfamiliar heat baking good luck? Not sure as the following days only brought us bad luck. I guess westerners folk aren’t meant to eat dog.

Would we eat dog again? You asked? Both Iza and I agree that once was enough.

Awooh, awooh.

Half of a dog.

Headless dog.

Street food DOG.

Dog stew.

 Doi Cho- dog sausage 

Steam dog cold cuts.

Assorted dog dishes. Including fried dog meat.

Our experience on video. Check it.

Places to find dog meat (Thịt Chó) in Hanoi?

Ref. 1. http://hanoiscratchpad.blogspot.com/2010/01/morality-of-eating-dog.html