Dog Meat Soup
Gaejangguk (Kor. 개장국, lit. dog meat soup) is the name of a dish made by boiling dog meat in a soup flavored with fermented soybean paste and various spicy ingredients. It is one of the foods consumed on Sambok (Kor. 삼복, Chin. 三伏, Three Dog Days), the three hottest days in the sixth and seventh lunar months. Dog meat soup, along with other seasonal dishes such as gyesamtang (Kor. 계삼탕, ginseng chicken soup) and patjuk (Kor. 팥죽, red bean porridge), is considered to be helpful in coping with the summer heat. The dish is referred to by many names including gaejang /gujang (Kor. 개장/구장, Chin. 狗醬, lit. dog meat soup), jiyangtang (Kor. 지양탕, Chin. 地羊湯, lit. soup of the mutton of the earth), bosintang (Kor. 보신탕, Chin. 補身湯, lit. stamina soup), yeongyangtang (Kor. 영양탕, Chin. 營養湯, lit. nutrient soup), and sacheoltang (Kor. 사철탕, lit. soup for the four seasons).
Koreans ate dog meat prior to the Three Kingdoms Period (BCE 1st century - CE 668). However, the first records of eating dog soup, gaejangguk, were made in the middle of the Joseon period (1392-1910). According to the “Dongguk Sesigi” (Kor. 동국세시기, Chin. 東國歲時記, A Record of Seasonal Customs in Korea, 1849), the soup was widely enjoyed as a special treat for Sambok (Kor. 삼복, Chin. 三伏, Three Dog Days). In the 20th century, however, consuming dog meat started to be regarded as barbaric and, in an effort to make the dish more acceptable among its opponents, the name of the soup was changed. Thus, around 1942, gaejangguk became bosintang, and later yeongyangtang and sacheoltang. Nevertheless, dog meat soup has been consumed for many centuries as a dish with many beneficial qualities. According to the “Dongui Bogam” (Kor. 동의보감, Chin. 東醫寶鑑, Exemplar of Korean Medicine, 1613), "dog meat comforts the five viscera, balances blood vessels, strengthens the intestines and stomach, warms the waist and knees by enriching bone marrow, and increases stamina by promoting the flow of positive energy." In the “Dongguk Sesigi”, dog meat soup is described as a dish that stimulates perspiration, which makes it easier to endure the summer heat and strengthen the body. The favorite dog breed for meat was the hwanggu (Kor. 황구, Chin. 黃狗, lit. yellow dog).