When it comes to myths about South Korean cuisine, there's one big question on people's minds. Do South Koreans really eat dogs?

Photo © iStock/hanhanpeggy

Is dog on the menu in South Korea?

Eating dog has been part of traditional South Korean culture for centuries. However, its popularity has fallen dramatically in recent years. According to a 2020 poll by the International Humane Society, the vast majority of respondents said they have never consumed dog meat, and restaurants that serve dog meat are dwindling in South Korea. Nearly 60% of respondents were in favor of banning dog meat altogether.

Currently, dog meat is neither legal nor explicitly banned in South Korea. But in November of 2021, the South Korean government announced they are considering outlawing dog meat consumption.

Salty & spicy foods

South Korean food typically has lots of salt and lots of hot spices, which might be difficult for those of you trying to cut back on sodium intake, or anyone who can't handle spicy food.

Generally, when you take a seat at a restaurant, you'll be able to convince the waiter to ask the chef to put less spices and salt on your selected dish.

Want to know more about South Korea? Listen to the World Nomads podcast. Is it safe to visit right now? - How hikers might find themselves invited to a family picnic - Beyond barbecue (and the secret 'man food') - and how to score yourself the best value round-the-world ticket.

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42 Comments

  • None of your bussnes said

    I think that this is STUPID !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "Yes, dog meat is available in South Korea for consumption"

  • none said

    It is weird they eat dog. That is so mean. They are better as pets.

  • None of your bussnes said

    I agree 100% with None! Why would you eat a dog, a loving dog! I will never go to South Korea because of them.

  • YuMin Lee said

    It was not considered odd to eat dog meat in only my parents ' generation. However, with the dog becoming a household animal, there has been a controversy over the use of dog meat as more people are against eating dog meat. The trend is not to eat dog meat. There are also few shops that cook and rarely sell dog meat. In conclusion, eating dog meat is not our popular culture in Korea.

  • potato said

    I understand why everyone is getting hyperactive, you probably have pets, and you have every right to find this disgusting... but in your country. Ancient Korea did not consider them as pets, and if you eat any type of animal you have no right to write that this is disgusting. The culture was different back then and they began eating dog meat over thousands of years ago. If Europeans weren't the dominant force you would not be able to say this, just because of your culture doesnt believe in something doesnt mean that you can disregard years of history. I personally do not eat dog, and do not wish to. Since people in Korea now keep dogs as pets I hope that dogs are not consumed as a meat source anymore. But you do not have the right to call a culture nasty, this is part of history and this is part of culture. I personally find it disgusting to eat a poor little bby lamb.

  • respondingtopotato said

    @potato, couldnt have said it better, thank you so much.

  • Anonymous said

    There are plenty of other meats to eat such as pork, cow, chicken,fish, lamb not dogs or cats. Those are a loving domestic pets we should protect and care about them.

  • Wdoapj said

    Those people who says there are plenty of others meat to eat are such a terrible person. Only cats & dogs should be protect and care of? Such a shame on you saying that.

  • Jinje said

    What an fucking dumb Article I’m from SouthKorea and im 19years old in Korea no one eating the dogs how did you get the picture?
    have you ever visited southkorea? You guys are just believing Wrong informations please fucking don’t spread wrong imformations.

  • taehyungseyebrow said

    Is this true? I really want to move to Korea in the near future, but I also really don't want to accidentally consume dog meat while I'm there. I love getting food from street vendors, I'm a foodie in general lol.

  • Kim Nicky said

    Simply explaining that Modern people don't eat dogs whereas in Ancient Korea dogs were eaten . Today's society is educated and they don't eat dogs , you can take example of Kim Taehyung , Kim Namjoon who are celebrities with pet dogs who don't eat dogs.

  • Curious said

    Let them eat as any dogs as they want! Just so long as they don't do that in the USA please!

  • alien said

    so much confusion ....can any korean confirm me if they really eat snake soup, snakes, dogs before i move to south korea i should know this

  • vegan said

    Thank you south koreans who posted and set the record straight. You hear a lot of talk about it in the states....eating animals is foul.abusing animals is inexcusable. If you are mean to animals, you are a bully, and not very nice.

  • winkwink said

    bruh, oh my god. These people in the comments. I thought we were better than this. But, I guess i need to say this. STOP BEING RACIST. That is their culture and even if they do eat dog (actually nah, I'm south korean and i've never even seen a dog dish in my life). this article is bull and that stock image is just, GASP. IT'S A STOCK IMAGE!!! does it say dog meat in the stock image? what? btw i have a dog. would not eat her.

  • winkwink said

    @alien swear to god. why do you need to know that? but
    A, no. Bruh, is that even edible? that's gross af
    B, what's snake soup??

  • Entayin said

    1. Some of you guys are being very rude to South Koreans (I'm talking to the comments way at the very top).
    2. South Koreans are protesting against the consumption of dog meat, so the food is becoming very unpopular.
    3. Eating dogs is based on culture. YOU guys might think dogs are pets, but do you think EVERYONE will share your views?
    4. Apparently, the west is cruelly taking care of pigs in slaughterhouses. Pigs are just as intelligent as dogs, and they have feelings too. Even if Korea really was torturing dogs, is USA (and possibly the UK) any different? After all, we are just poorly taking care of animals all the same before they are killed.
    5. Do you think every place in the world was as well suited for agriculture? Korea's mountains made it difficult for crops and livestock, so dogs may have been one of the only choices for food.
    6. Don't judge people based on what they eat. Some people here are being racist.
    7. Stereotype

  • Abel said

    Well don't worry about that culture.
    The culture eating dog is vanishing.
    Many of people in Korea are against dog meet

  • Andrew said

    Look, it's real easy. If you find it culturally acceptable to eat meat, don't be surprised if other cultures eat meat you wish not to. It's not gross, and most any meat you eat would have made an ok pet. Don't tell anyone, but they still sell horse meat in France. I hear it's delicious, but I sure don't want people killing horses for anything but the horse's health concerns, ie. incurable injury or disease leading to unmanageable pain and suffering

  • han said

    I am 40 years old Korean.
    My mom and dad's childhood was right after the war. Their parents were dead and had nothing to eat. There were no trees in the mountain, and there were no cows or pork rice. There were many cases of starvation or freezing. It was enviable to eat a dog then. And Korea suddenly developed. And so far, many customs still remain.

    There may be a long and long reason for someone's story.
    However, there are many reasons why one country has a story.

    It may be difficult to understand because I used a translator.I'm sorry.

  • British Woman said

    Well, as a British woman I'm aware such culture is vanishing and the majority of South Koreans are against such culture. It is unfortunate how it is perceived to the world but if you look at French they eat Frog legs, rabbit, insects and monkey yet the focus is heavily on South Korea. This is probably the typical media play ran by the Westerners..

    Anyways, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and China all the East Asian countries are getting more prosperous and they will probably take top position soon (wealth, capital, etc.)

  • eun-seong said

    What is this? No we don't eat dogs. What the fuck? this is so stupid. We don't eat dogs or cats. Some old fashioned Koreans is a maybe. But no we don't eat them just whenever because they taste good. This person who wrote this totally incorrect article isn't even Asian. They're British that's been to Australia. I recommend deleting this article. It's so wrong. Do we eat snakes? um no? Too many bones in the meat. And no as in why would we? And why is it only about Korea and dogs? What about other places that eat rather exotic things? You guys need help because apparently a lot of people think we eat dogs and cats.

  • ?????? said

    ??? who eats dogs in Korea these days? The first look of the headline gave me a feeling that it was written in 1960s or something.... zzzz I've never seen or known any people eating dog in Korea...
    The comments up above is just so uneducated...
    Better not believe everything the articles say or at least fact check.
    Really really small amount of people consume dog meat these days, and I have never seen any restaurants selling them;;

  • rob said

    Yes, dog meat is consumed in Korea and other countries. In 2018 National Geographic reported 2 million dogs are consumed each year in South Korea. KARA a Korean animal rights organization reported 1 million a year. I personally think these numbers are over estimating the actual numbers since there has been a rapid shift away from the practice in recent years. A recent survey found 83% of S. Koreans will not eat dog meat now or in the future. People have been eating dogs for thousands of years and it is just taking some civilizations longer than others to see them more as pets than food but I don't see how anyone who eats meat can be too critical. What bothers me is when Leno jokes about dog meat served in Korean restaurants he is pilloried. What he said was true whether you like it or not. No not in every or even most Korean restaurants but some, he is a comedian.

  • Jen M said

    I had to comment on this article because it was upsetting me to keep reading Koreans comments being so naive. Of course certain countries still eat Dogs and cats, just look it up. I was horrified to read how this one factory trapped cats in the worst inhumane way and had machines to seperate their hair, I cried for days. As well as how Sandiego rescues Dogs almost every year from Korean Dog slaughter houses. Yes even other countries are cruel for killing Pigs and Lamb and chickens and even cows, so those still eating Dogs and Cats AS WELL are more cruel and should stop and stick to all the other forms of consuming meats. We all already have so many choices, so I find no need or necessity to broaden our choice by still eating what many consider as loving pets! BTW, Vietnam eat Dogs more than any other place, look it up-their cruel manner of tying them up, even babies is sick and unnecessary!!! Had to post this, sorry if I offended anyone.


  • Jen M said

    Geez, everyone just needs to stop being in denial. MANY Asian cultures have and still eat dogs and cats as well as certain other species that they should have no right eating like monkeys, bats and snakes, rabbits etc. Especially in disgusting wet markets, stressing out animals and spreading diseases. Too many choices of meat already. Plus hunting for sport and ridiculous Asian medication practices-now causing animals to become extinct like Tigers, Lions, Rhinos, whales list goes on and on.. I just wish asians would stop such practices, but they cant even stop at dogs and cats and this us why people are outraged... people have rights to vent!

  • Dryad said

    According to KoreanDogs.org the raising of dogs for meat is incredibly common and widespread in South Korea. I was surprised to see how much of this goes on. I'm shocked and saddened to see how badly these dogs are treated and I hope that compassionate South Korean people will be able to make a difference in stopping this terrible treatment of animals.
    We must all try to stop suffering, be it to humans or animals.

  • dong-min said

    This is ridiculous. Polls show over 80% of the population do not approve of consuming dog meat. So I'm not sure why everyone is saying it happens. While yes, the consuming of dog meat is still a thing, it certainly isn't a popular delicacy. I am also incredibly offended by the amount of people making it out to seem like the people of Korea are heartless. Korea is a very beautiful country with very hard working people. The only reason why people are getting all upset is because we keep dogs a pets. If this were snakes or fish or some menial creature people wouldn't have this much of a problem. As I recall a Korean woman rescued like 100 dogs from a slaughter house and raises them all. There are other organizations in Korea that rescue dogs from slaughter houses.

  • Deznutz said

    U guys are mad about people eating libra le dogs when we have been eating cows ,chickens , goats , horse, duck , god knows what else we have eaten . I would never eat a dog but still seems very hypocritical I think only vegetarians and vegans should be mad at this point 🤷‍♀️😂

  • americanexpatinkorea said

    WTF who wrote this?? What are their sources?? Have they actually been to South Korea or talked to any actual South Koreans or people who actually KNOW this country at all? Because if they had, they wouldn’t have made such idiotic statements like “Dog meat is a Korean cultural delicacy” and “Many restaurants will serve boshintang (dog meat dish).” HAHAHAHAHAHA WOW.
    Yo, no-one here (no average South Korean) would even THINK about eating that shit or would have even seen it. I’ve only ever heard it being talked about as a joke. Dogs ARE much-loved pets here and if you ask any Korean about eating dog, they will just laugh at you because it’s as WTF to them as it is to you. It’s NOT a thing. Yet this horrifically ignorant article makes it sound like it is a thing and judging by some of the comments, it’s doing a great job spreading that ignorance and encouraging hate, racism and harmful stereotyping. Is this what you’re about World Nomads?? Very disappointing. Please delete this horribly written and ignorant article immediately.
    Let me set the record straight: as an American expat who has been living here for the last 20 years, I can say that I have NEVER come across a restaurant that serves dog meat, NEVER seen such a thing for sale, NEVER seen or heard of “dog farms” and have NEVER met any South Korean who has ever eaten (or would want to eat) dog. I am not saying it is not carried out anywhere at all in South Korea. But you would have to travel far and search VERY HARD to find it. In the past, when South Korea was still a struggling nation recovering from the war (which left them with next to nothing to eat & people were starving), dogs were not commonly kept as pets and, yes, eating them was a lot more common than it is now. BUT TODAY, the practice is likely to only be carried out by some very elderly folk (from that once-starved generation) living in a very remote village in the mountains or some shit like that. And honestly, what country doesn’t have some old folk doing weird old shit in the mountains or remote villages? IT IS A REMNANT OF THE PAST. And barely existent in South Korea today. It is not, and has not, been a thing for a long time. Therefore, it is ENTIRELY WRONG to identify the whole country as “dog-eaters” because it’s simply a very false assumption based on a TINY minority and thing of the past (even in the past it wasn’t common). Oh and I really think those numbers or “statistics” people are quoting from the internet are made up and entirely inaccurate. Those comments above saying “I will never go there, what a horrible country/people etc” are really sad to see because they’re making judgements based on assumptions that are based on stereotyping and ignorance. I hope those kinds of people stay out of the travel community, they don’t belong here. South Korea is a great country that has advanced tremendously in the past few decades since the war. Educate yourself properly with proper resources, not with fake activist’s “statistics” or ignorant World Nomads articles like this one (again, very disappointed at World Nomads for this). There are A LOT of us expats and foreigners here now. There’s really no excuse for such ignorance anymore. And btw, in case you STILL haven’t realised- South Korea is NOT China. Or Asia in general. I think a lot of bigoted, racist people are just trying to group these countries together and implying they are the same/do the same things. You don’t look at France and think they’re the same as all of Europe, so why do this to Asian countries? They all have different languages, cultures, people. And South Korea is as unique as any one of them. I can’t speak for the dog-eating issue in China but South Korea is a different country where eating dogs is just NOT a thing, except for those very few cases that I mentioned above. Millions?? HAHAHA please! Please stop spreading this stereotype and do better. South Korean cuisine is delicious btw (and none of it contains dog in any sane person’s book). How about writing an article on that??

  • I am Korean said

    Wtf reallyyyyy who wrote this. This is making people think Koreans eat dog meat. Actually Koreans ate it in joeseon(long ago at Korea) when they don’t have anything to eat. But now they have many choices to eat. So we don’t eat dog meat now, and if u just say to some one stranger do u eat dog meat? Then they will say it is so cruel. Find a better thing to write about.

  • Shanti said

    Why are people against eating dogs but in favor of eating pigs or cows? Pigs and cows are intelligent and just as sentient.

    If you think this is wrong, you should join me as a vegetarian. (:

    Animals are animals. Rights for all or rights for none. No Animalism against pigs and cows and beautiful chickens please. They all deserve to live as much as doggies.

  • Soo-ki said

    For those being racist and xenophobic in the comments please take a trip to South Korea and let me know if you find any restraunts or any food stands that sell dog. If you do please let me know. This entire article is very wrong and disgusting. If you’re not a Korean or ever been to Korea you can’t just say ‘but they DO eat them’ like no. I’ve never tasted dog in my entire life and plan not doing so. I’ve never met anyone that has eaten dog. So please everybody shut up in the comments. The fact that all of the Koreans in the comments are outraged says something. And it’s not because we’re telling lies.

  • j. GALOG said

    As a vegetarian for many years,of course its particularly outrageous to me, that
    people (unless actually starving to death) would eat dogs, in particular, as they
    often are smarter then most people I know. I abhor slaughtering animals for
    our food source, i hope koreans have evolved to understand that dogs are unique
    creatures, who only desire is to be loved and treated well, they are guards, they
    are loving, they serve people as guide dogs, comfort dogs, etc., please do not
    slaughter and eat them, it is cruel punishment for loving animals.

  • RandomKoreanPerson said

    Okay so: If there was a country that very commonly kept pigs as pets(There has to be), they would get mad at us foreigners for eating them. And you'd respond, "But bacon is good!" Now, I'm not saying dog meat is good(Where the flip do you even get dog meat??? I have not tried it.), but consider this, then tell me whether you guys are still that annoyed. Heck, some of you must be feeling guilty, even. So either hate on eating meat or accept what meat people eat.

  • hjsfdkfglrest said

    why do you care it doesnt affect you, we eat cows and they a fricking sacred to people that are hindu. so stop judeing and look at ur self

  • Yu-na Kim said

    Yes! It's true I've been living in Korea since I was born.And dog meat here is called hot dog Ohh no just kidding its called boshintang and I haven't tried it yet nor I wanna try it someday because personally I have a dog it's name is ggami and I think it will be unfair to him

  • Great American Imperialist said

    “Omg u Americans are like so racist, go eat ur animals while we eat ours!” *puts a dog in boiling water to sear its hair off whilst its alive, the puppy’s trying to swim, boiling water’s turning its body red and slowly broiling its organs alive*.

    Sadly 40% of Koreans AREN’T in favor of banning dog meat, which is a massive number, in a huge country. There are still huge dog-meat farms in Korea. Will the draconian, corrupt Korean government act? No.

    In America, the animal to be consumed is killed immediately. Harming an animal is punishable by jail, and massive fines. Moreover, Americans don’t eat animals that are domesticated for companionship.

    It’s not racist nor xenophobic to condemn one immoral and unethical cultural practice from Korea: Dog-eating. In fact, there’s no racial nor xenophobic component involved. Only moral.

  • Korean person said

    This is crazy! people have eaten dogs but you guys are being very rude to South Koreans! BTS IS SOUTH KOREAN!!!! :(

  • carolina said

    i really hope that this is fake. i was watching yt and this add came up and i started crying. i hope that dog meat is banned for good.

  • Just a Korean said

    I can’t believe how much stuff is wrong here and the comments. Don’t go based off of stats because we all know not all stats are 100% true. This is such a disgusting stereotype that people have used against us quite racially. It’s just because of the fact we keep dogs as pets that we have a problem with it. If dogs were wild animals and we didn’t keep them as pets none of you would care. Just like how none of you care for conservations dedicated to helping save endangered species and what not. Because if any of you cared you would join in on the action of saving animals. But since none of you are shut up. You all think you’re right but all of you are so wrong. Go to Korea and try to FIND a dog meat restaurant. I dare you. Because until you do all of you can keep your mouths shut.

  • Im from south Korea said

    Hello, I am a normal student in South Korea. Many people that live in other countries are curious about our consumption of dogs. And my answer is NO our people do NOT consume dogs ANYMORE, and when I say ANYMORE, i mean almost 90% of Korean people do NOT eat dog meat, because we have plenty of more food to eat, like fish, sea animals, and other veggies or meat. In the 20th century, South Korea had lots of problems. For example, we just faced the Korean war, and we also had the Japanese invasion in early 1910 - 1940. This caused our South Koreans lose lots of their property, including food. They had to eat something to survive, so they started consuming DOG. but now in the 21th century, we don't eat dogs that much.

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