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Where the Bite is Worst than the Bark

Despite Confirmed Reports of Rabies, Bali Restaurants Selling Dog Meat Continue to Thrive.

(12/22/2008) BisnisBali reports that the current rabies scare is having little or no effect on the specialized "RW" restaurants that the sell dog meat, primarily to island residents originating from regions outside Bali.

One RW vendor, Loise Norkat, who owns a restaurant in the Renon area of Denpasar said most dog-meat-eaters hail from areas in East Nusa Tenggara and Manado where it is believed that dog meat has special nutritional values. Loise said, "most of my customers are young people engaged in heavy physical labor, with very few Balinese seeking to dine on menu items made from dog meat."

The restaurant operator confirmed that his customer base remains strong with no downturn attributable to the current concern over rabies in Bali. Norkat explained that RW products in the form of satay and curries are particularly popular during the colder, rainy season when customers think dog meat products can warm the body and provide protection against influenza.

Another RW shop, run by Ketut Mustika in the Yangbatu area of Denpasar, is open only in the afternoon selling "og satay." Commenting on the current rabies scare, Ketut said: "For my basic ingredient, I have had no supply problems. There are people who bring dogs and sell them to me or, alternatively, I can buy dog meat from established suppliers in Denpasar. Demand remains stable, with many of my regular customers remaining loyal consumers."

The average cost of a dog-meat dish is around Rp. 5,000 (US$0.45) with aficionados of this epicurean delicacy insisting the taste of cooked dog resembles beef or goat meat.

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