Hong Kong’s amazing truffle-hunting dog -- and where he goes

Hong Kong’s amazing truffle-hunting dog -- and where he goes

How one couple and their pooch are sniffing out truffles in the middle of a city

hong kong truffle dogPadstow spies a truffle. It doesn't stand a chance.

Rolling over and shaking a paw just isn’t going to cut it anymore if you’re a dog looking for a party trick.

The latest, greatest performing pooch has been discovered in Hong Kong, and far from merely looking cute and “sitting,” Padstow, a Boston Terrier / Pug living in Mui Wo, can hunt down and dig up truffles, according to his owners Caroline and Ali Bullock.

“We were having our usual breakfast of truffle porridge with caviar one Thursday,” said Ali, a marketing manager in Hong Kong, “and suddenly Padstow jumped onto our Evian-filled water bed and started howling every time I took a mouthful. It was quite bizarre, but ever since then we haven’t been able to have truffles in the house. It’s quite distressing.”

The Bullocks say walking Padstow around Hong Kong is now more an exercise in fungal foraging than it is a tranquil stroll -- who knew Hong Kong was such a truffle treasure trove?

Truffles can appear in some of the least expected places.

“I’m quite shocked to hear this news,” said Cornelius Cloverhoof, a fungus expert and Kylie Minogue fan -- he’s been to 157 of her concerts. “But Padstow does appear to have proved that under Hong Kong’s streets and beaches, lie a huge variety of truffles. Quite literally, people are walking over millions of dollars worth of mushroom every day, and Padstow is the only one who knows how to get to them.”

Until this discovery, truffles were thought to originate in Europe, primarily Italy and France, though truffles have also been harvested in China, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

Traditionally pigs have been used to sniff out truffles though dogs have also been used in recent years. When Stanley Ho, the Macau casino owner, paid the highest ever price for a single truffle in 2007 -- US$330,000 -- it was for one discovered by a man and his dog.

It’s for this reason that Padstow could prove to be a cash canine. He has started to generate a bit of a fan club.

Claire Pillswallow, head of marketing for a chain of restaurants in Hong Kong, says she would be happy to employ Padstow as an executive chef. “He’s reliable, he learns quickly and has a great nose for business, obviously. I think he would be a great part of the team,” she said.

As for Padstow and the Bullocks, the riches you might expect to flow towards a truffle magnet have so far not materialized. It transpires there’s a reason Padstow is obsessed with snuffling for truffles -- he loves to eat them. “We would love to show off Padstow’s truffle–hunting abilities to the world,” said Ali. “Alas, the proof is in his stomach!”

Gotcha! To adopt your own truffle hunter, CLICK HERE

truffles in hong kongSurprisingly the beach at Mui Wo is one of Padstow's most prolific hunting grounds.

Padstow’s favorite truffle grounds

The Kitchen, Mui Wo

Padstow says, “Love this place. You couldn’t find a more dog friendly joint and my humans are allowed to eat the best Pizza’s in town with my very own my own seat.”  Read more: www.woofguide.org

Tom’s Café, Mui Wo

Padstow says, “Tom’s bacon and egg rolls are a particular favorite of mine for some Sunday Breakfast. Alas it does however make the ferry ride home a little smelly as I tend to fart a lot.” Read more: www.woofguide.org

Hollywood Road, Central

Padstow says, “Now Stauntons has shut down Coast is one of my favorite places to stand and watch the action. If a truffle happens to be nearby too, you can bet I’ll get it.” Read more: www.woofguide.org