North Koreans eat dog meat to beat summer heat

(AP) – In North Korea, summer is not a good time to be a dog.

In the sizzling heat, North Korea’s biggest brewery is pumping out twice as much beer as usual, Pyongyang residents are lining up to get their “bingsu” — a syrupy treat made with shaved ice — and restaurants are serving up bowl after bowl of the season’s biggest culinary attraction: spicy dog meat soup.

Euphemistically known as “dangogi,” or sweet meat, dog has long been believed to be a stamina food in North and South Korea and is traditionally eaten during the hottest time of the year, giving a sad twist to the old saying “dog days of summer.”

The dates are fixed according to the lunar calendar and dog meat consumption centers around the “sambok,” or three hottest days — July 17 and 27, and Aug. 16 this year. Demand appears to be especially high this year because of a heatwave in East Asia. Temperatures in the North have been among the highest ever recorded, hovering near 104 degrees Fahrenheit in several cities.

The restaurant’s menu lists more than a dozen dog dishes, including ribs, hind legs and boiled dog skin.

Like their neighbors to the South, North Korean attitudes toward dogs are changing.

It is increasingly common to see people walking their dogs on leashes in Pyongyang and other cities in the North, a trend that seems to have just begun to catch on over the past few years. Feral dogs are common in the countryside, however, and left to fend for themselves.