Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Dog Meat Chronicles, part 1

A few things about eating dog meat:

The funkiest thing about the meal wasn't actually the dog meat itself but the sauce that is used on the side for dipping, muom tom. Muom tom is a sauce made from shrimp paste that I suspect goes through some sort of fermentation process as it certainly stings the nostrils. Muom dom is a greyish lavendar color, which I found a tad disconcerting as well. Fortunately my hosts provided me with a dish of salt, lime juice, and chiles to use as an alternative.

The locals eat dog meat at the end of the lunar month in order to deflect trouble and bad luck. It is unlucky to eat dog meat at the beginning of the month. They also like to eat dog meat when it rains.

It is known in Vietnam as "thit cho" and is pronounced "teet chaw" (which is also the same way the students at school pronounce the word "teacher").

Three different preparations of dog meat: on the bottom is stewed dog meat, above that is roasted dog meat, to the right is dog liver and sausage. At the top of the picture is a dish of muom tom. Later in the meal dog meat on the bone that had been simmered in some sort of broth also came out.

The dog stew was my favorite part of the meal and was quite good in a slow-cooked meat sort of way. The roasted dog was good except for the skin, which was much tougher and chewier than I expected.

These are my hosts and meal companions. That's Hoan (American name: Carlos) and Mr. Tien, the boss men, on the right. The other three are security guards at the school.

The meal was accompanied with what they called rice wine, but although they served it in wine size portions I'm pretty sure that any distilled spirit that rates at 70 proof would be more accurately called liquor. The guy on the left is the only one in this group who can handle his drink. It was his job to make sure the glasses stayed full (note the 2 liter jug at his feet).

They assured me that at the next dog meat party dog testicles would be served.


  1. hey steve... uh, those veggies look pretty tasty...
    actually watched a pretty good horror movie last night called The Breed. Pack of genetically modified killer dogs on a deserted island that attack 5 friends on vacation. do you know if the dog you had was non GMO? i only eat organic...

  2. So what kind of dog is it? And does all dog taste the same?

  3. this is like watching bizarre foods or no reservations but hosted by my cousin. i'm glad you seem to be having a good time!

  4. Definitely non GMO...I'd say Vietnam is at least two years away from genetically modified dogs. The cockroaches I'm not sure about though; there must be some explanation for their extreme size because they are definitely not natural.

    As far as the type of dog that we were eating, it was explained to me that in Vietnam there are three types of dogs, pet dogs for rich women, dogs that run around in the street, and dogs for eating. Presumably we were consuming the last type. I have seen dogs being delivered to thit cho restaurants and they look suspiciously like the dogs that run around in the street.

  5. This is, of course, what came up first when I told my students that you moved to Vietnam. So thanks for the first hand.

    I went to a tupperware party tonight (details some other time) and even though "the skin, which was much tougher and chewier than I expected" made me gag a bit, if given the choice, I'd eat Ozzballs before going to another.

    Eaten any flying mammals on a stick?