Dog Ramen Puts Some Growl In Your Bowl
Shopping at Asian supermarkets can be a culinary adventure, even more so if the market happens to be IN Asia. The shelves stock a number of food products you're not likely to see on your own continent; a mixed blessing to be sure.
Take this package of instant ramen noodles, which looks much like dozens of other such college student staples offered in a vast variety of flavors like Beef, Chicken, Seafood and more. If you can read Korean, however, you'll note the main ingredient is Dog. Now that's ruff.
Dog Ramen is made in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, located in China's northeastern Jilin province which borders North Korea and Russia.
The region's population is just over 30% ethnic Korean (as of 2000) and most of the manufacturer's production is consumed locally. Most but not all: distribution networks funnel the product to stores in Beijing, Guangdong province near Hong Kong, even to reclusive (but hungry) North Korea.
Researchers at Japan's Rocketnews24 managed to contact a worker at the factory who stated “it takes 30 kilos of dog meat to make 3,000 packages of Dog Ramen.”
Meat sourced from roughly 20 large dogs would be required daily if we extrapolate the worker's figures over an average 9-to-5 production run of 30,000 packages.
Sales figures for Dog Ramen are hard to come by but a Hong Kong media outlet reports a rise in interest since the media jumped on this story, so we can assume sales are rising as well. The product has been marketed for about 10 years and prices have remained steady at 2 yuan or about 30 cents per package. Two flavors seem to be available, presumably mild and hotdog.
What might we expect now that the international media spotlight is shining on Dog Ramen? Will howls of protest chase the product off Chinese store shelves? It may not come to that, as China may soon enact a raft of new animal cruelty laws meant to punish those who traffic in dog or cat meat and use it in foodstuffs... since moral deterrents obviously aren't working.