Eating Dog in China: When My Roomies Bring Dinner Home

About a month ago, my roommates decided to get a puppy. His name is Loki, and he’s a mutt of all sorts—chest like a Bulldog, face like a bearded Corgi, and a cute allover scruff like a jolly, homeless Santa.

Mutt. It's what's for dinner.
Mutt. It’s what’s for dinner.

After only a few days we started to notice that people would tend to giggle and point every time Loki pranced by in his sparkly green collar and matching leash. No one thought much of the attention until a lady asked Nadia if she was planning on eating her precious pup.

“Was she being serious?” I asked Nadia.

“I think so! She was just curious and casual, like ‘Oh hey, what’s up? You gunna grill that pooch tonight?’” Her voice swayed between sincere surprise and hysteric laughter.

“Why would they sell people food at a pet store?” I wondered aloud.

“Well… it wasn’t a pet store…” She hesitated. “It was kind of a family, and he was just running around. They kept trying to get us to take him… so, we took him.” A giggle bubbled from her lips. “And now it all makes sense, because they just sort of threw him into a rice sack and gave him away.”

“Like a chicken chosen for plucking.”

Nadia nodded her head, petting her pot roast’s head as she pondered the sure fate Loki had been saved from.

“What I don’t get is…” She looked at him, and shook her head. “Why would anyone give away dinner?”  


Apparently a Chinese family that thought my roommates looked hungry.


Should've Come with Some Recipes
Should’ve Come with Some Recipes



According to a local friend, in the Hubei province, it’s not common to eat Fido. In some places, specifically the South and only in minorities, people do eat a certain kind of canines that are considered undesirable as pets. Luckily for Loki, it’s not his season. That hits in the winter which explains why I have yet to see the skinned version of his relatives in the wet markets. Gives Nadia time to fatten him up, I suppose. He is just a growing puppy after all.


In terms of taste, I have heard that hounds are “Hao chi” or good to eat, and supposedly they can be sweeter than most meats.  I’m sure at some point I’ll try a piece, whether by accident or for the mere need to satiate a morbid curiosity. But maybe it isn’t as unnatural as it sounds to my unaccustomed, Boxer-Pitbull loving ears. After all, people eat pigs and now it’s stylish to own a micro pig. People go to Red Lobster, pick an angry red fellow, name it, and then eat that same buddy they had bonded with only a few moments before. I’ve even had a cow named after me by a kid I once babysat. Chloe the Cow was shown at 4-H fairs and treated like a queen until she met her eventual destiny between a Styrofoam plate, saran wrap, and a freezer filed with her parts.  Rabbit is a delicacy that I’d have no qualms with trying even though I once had a bunny named Hagrid.  Squirrels are a common game meat, but I’ve also met a man who had a squirrel as a pet. He said its temperament rivalled that of a calm, clever, and loveable cat.


Seems like animals are animals, and meat is meat, and people are people. Is it that strange to eat dog? Can’t say I’ll be marinating my dogs anytime soon, but I don’t think the concept is very far fetched.




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