Not all dogs end up on a menu in Vietnam

The sight of roasting dogs in Vietnam (such as this one) regularly freaks out tourists who come from places where dogs don’t end up on a menu.

There’s an old joke floating around that goes something like this:

Q. How do you know if a Vietnamese guy has robbed your house?
A.  Your dog’s missing and your homework’s done.

I’ve never eaten dog meat, and have no great desire to try it, but one thing that’s struck me about this trip is that my aunt actually has three pet chihuahuas. (Last week there were four, but one died from a lingering illness.)

The family really love their little pet dogs and this morning I was hanging around the front yard with the housekeeper who was cuddling Lina like she was a little baby.

Lina is the oldest chihuahua (pictured) – I’m not sure where the name came from exactly, and maybe it’s actually Li Na after the Chinese tennis player.

Within a stone’s throw from here there are actually a couple of stores that sell pet accessories – including toys and clothes for dogs.

So I asked, “Is it only people in Hanoi who eat dogs?”

Answer: “Oh no, there are plenty of places you can buy dog meat around here.”

Every time I mention a dish that I haven’t tried or something I’m craving, it magically turns up delivered to our doorstep – like this morning for breakfast at 7.30am when we had steaming bowls of delicious pungent bun mam, a classic Delta dish full of seafood, fermented fish (hence the ‘mam’) and fresh vegetables (similar to the bun suong we had yesterday).

Hoping that there isn’t a plate of dog meat at the dinner table tonight!


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