A Slow Day For Dog

A lady browses on her phone in boredom, as customers for her freshly roasted canines fail to materialise.
A lady browses on her phone in boredom, as customers for her freshly roasted canines fail to materialise.

I did something of a double-take when I spotted this street-side vendor in Tây Hồ District
on the very edge of Hanoi’s Old Quarter selling what I at first assumed was roast pig, but upon closer inspection, turned out to be the dish known as Thịt Chó Nướng – or ‘Barbecued Dog Meat’ which is somewhat of a delicacy in Vietnam – particularly in the North, where the eating of it is often associated with bringing good fortune. Pet ownership is still a relatively new concept in the country, which might go some way to explaining why the practice of eating dog is particularly prevalent there as the cultural taboo potentially hasn’t had time to become ingrained; or possibly it’s a result of influence from neighbouring China – I’m speculating as I can’t seem to find much on the history, but suffice it to say it’s a big enough business for both strays and pets to be ‘snatched’ by gangs in both in Vietnam and Thailand just across the border (the latter then smuggled into Vietnam), to then be sold and killed (often quite brutally).

The Hanoi government have made efforts to curb dog consumption (along with that of cat meat) in recent years in an effort to improve the city’s image to tourists and reduce the transmission of diseases such as Rabies which is still an issue in much of the country, and with the increasing number of pet owners, enthusiasm for the practice seems to be waning somewhat – and no, I didn’t try any in case you’re wondering (at least not to my knowledge)!

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