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Category: Breeds

Chik-so Cattle

South Korea

Chik-so, Tiger CattleThe native Korean Chik-so are often called "Tiger Cattle" in English. Their yellow and black stripes begin to develop on calves after about three months. Chik-so are larger than other traditional Korean cattle, and quite aggressive towards other cattle, but mild-mannered towards people and resistant to disease. They have well-developed shoulder muscles and hooves, suitable for plowing sloped fields. There are many recipes for chik-so meat, including naejang stew (internal organs), somuri stew (head), jangjorim (meat boiled down with soy sauce), woosulzzim (steamed cow's tongue), and korigomtang (stew with backbones) and woojoktang stew with cow's feet. Bulgogi is the most typical Korean beef preparation, grilled beef marinated in soy sauce, garlic and other herbs or spices. It is believed to have originated from the nomadic Maek people over two thousand years ago.

 

There are murals portraying black, yellow and striped cows in South Korea dating back to 357 AD. The woo-e-bang, Korea's first veterinary science manual published in 1399, also described the striped cow as one of Korea's traditional cows. Chik-so were very common in the early 1900s, but under Japanese colonial rule and a need for war supplies, the majority of chik-so were exported out of the country. There are currently 1500 striped cows in the country, 400 of which are raised on Ulleung Island in the East Sea where breeders are trying to increase the number of purebred striped cows. Ulleung Island farmers have traditionally raised all their cows on wild plants, which give the beef a darker color, less fat content and a lighter taste than other kinds of beef. These striped cattle are often mistaken for crossbreeds, which lowered their market value and the number of breeders. Today, farmers are coming to know the merits of raising chik-so, and thanks to government support, the number of striped cattle has slightly increased. However, this breed still requires continued management, as their pedigrees have been disrupted over time from crossbreeding with other common Korean cows.


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