Head of Shenzhou 5, China's first manned spaceflight
Head of Shenzhou 5, China's first manned spaceflight.

According to the newly published autobiography of Yang Liwei, head of China’s first manned space mission in 2003, the crew’s meals included dog meat from Huajiang county, which is renowned for its health benefits.

The meat is claimed to “cure high blood pressure, help build up old people’s health, and reduce frequent urination,” handy on a long voyage.

Head of Shenzhou 5, China's first manned spaceflight

Yang Liwei

Head of Shenzhou 5, China’s first manned spaceflight

In contrast, according to a Reuters article from last year, American space food runs to chicken with rice and macaroni and cheese, and Russians go for canned fish and borscht. The Japanese, of course, eat sushi.

A Chinese space menu from 2009 includes Huajiang dog, as well as some rather more appealing fare. It certainly sounds tastier than what the Americans get, although the actual logistics of cooking complex dishes in space is not explained:

Day One: Lotus root porridge, crispy tofu with spring onions, braised yellow croaker fish, pork ribs with seaweed, spinach with minced garlic.

Day Two: Spicy pig skin, braised duck neck, hairy crab with ginger, chicken liver with chilli, pine nuts with sweetcorn, three-flavour soup.

Day Three: Poached egg in fermented rice soup, Harbin sausage, Huajiang dog, baby cuttlefish casserole, eel with green pepper, spicy beans with dried tofu.

_Apples, pears and oranges served with every meal, as well as rice, noodles, sweet potatoes.__

Laika, the sole passenger of Sputnik 2 in 1957, was the first dog in space.

[the Telegraph via Fuchsia Dunlop]