‘Sweet Meat’ Soup

‘Sweet Meat’ Soup

Category : Food

This is a euphemism. It sounds a great deal better than ‘dog meat’ soup, although there is nothing sweet about it.

People tend to have strong reactions when it comes to the idea of eating ‘pets’. Let me say right away that I don’t really see the difference between eating any sort of animal. I have kept and loved rabbits, guinea pigs and horses, yet have happily eaten the meat of all three when I had the opportunity. The sort of dog that crops up on Asian menus is not, incidentally, the sort you keep as a pet – these dogs are generally bred for their meat in the same way as chickens or cows.

In many places, like Vietnam, dog meat is a delicacy which is expensive and tricky to track down. In North Korea, where the soup is offered at only 5 euros a bowl, it proved hard to refuse the chance to try a brand new culinary experience.

So did I like it? The straight answer is no. It arrived at the table looking murky and unappealing, like particularly dirty dishwater, and some fishing about was required to find the slightly purplish strands of meat at the bottom of the bowl. Then it did not really taste of much, even when I scooped in the entire accompanying saucer of chili paste. My main objection, however, was the texture. This was like too-soft lamb which came apart in my mouth in a way I really did not care for.

I could not finish this, and will not be ordering dog meat soup again. If anyone offers me something slightly different, however, like maybe roasted dog, well, who knows….

Hot Can

This name makes me laugh, because it describes exactly what you end up with when you try this product. Essentially, it’s a self-heating can that can give you a hot coffee or cocoa, or even a comforting soup, however far you are from the nearest café or kitchen.

There’s a fairly simple science behind it – the insulated aluminium can is made in two parts, with the drink in the outer shell and the chemicals which create the heat in the inner compartment. Although when I say chemicals, these are actually just water and calcium oxide. Pressing a button on the bottom of the can then shaking it for 30 seconds allows them to combine, which creates enough energy to heat the drink by 50 degrees C.

The chemicals never come into contact with the drink, and the bi-products of the reaction are non-toxic and non-flammable, which means that they are not going to harm either you or the environment. The only thing you need to be careful of is the temperature, but there is a heat indicator label on the can which will not only tell you when your drink is ready but also warn you if it has become too hot.

The range here includes tomato and chicken soups as well as tea, coffee, cocoa and mocha, and although the cans are fairly heavy they are probably ideal for long walks and picnics in remote (and chilly) places.

You may have noticed that I haven’t yet mentioned the taste. There’s a reason for that. They aren’t actually that nice, but the cans do what they say and sometimes you really need a hot drink, so for that reason I am going to cut them some slack.

These are made in Malaysia and currently only available there.