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Pyongyang's finest restaurants: a guide

Brian S Jan 8, 2011 01:15 PM

I haven't been to Pyongyang, North Korea and I don't think I ever will. Still, it's always good to plan ahead. So I've managed to compile a list of top restaurants for anyone making the journey.

Okryu Restaurant

Huge, and apparently as elegant as it gets in North Korea. A big new wing opened last year. Though they are famous for simple cold noodles, there are dishes that feature, among other things, quail, terrapin and sturgeon.

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/dprk/2010/dprk-100810-kcna03.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okryugwan

Chongryu Restaurant

Also in its own riverside pavilion, this is Okryu's only rival for elegance. It was restored in 2008 and features various Korean dishes.

http://www.chandelierinc.com/wall-chandelier/chongryu-restaurant-in-pyongyang
http://www.lonelyplanet.com/north-korea/pyongyang/restaurants/korean/chongryu-restaurant

Samtaesong

The best burger in North Korea is served at Pyongyang's only fast food joint, Samtaesong. Don't call them burgers though, that's considered Imperialist. Ask for "minced meat with bread".

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatnews/6315394/Minced-beef-and-bread-please.-You-want-fries-with-that.html

Pyulmori Cafe

About the only place for pies and coffee, and they also serve a burger.

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/north-korea/pyongyang/restaurants/cafe/pyulmori

Pyongyang Sweet Meat Restaurant

If you don't like dog meat, go somewhere else because that's all that's on the menu. You can get an 8 course banquet starting with soup and going on to dog meat prepared with various sauces.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE4AP11020081126

Pyongyang No. 1 Duck Barbecue Restaurant

You cook your own duck meat on little tableside grills. One traveler said it was the best meal she'd had in North Korea.

http://www.lindsayfincher.com/2009/12...

  1. scoopG Jan 10, 2011 02:49 AM

    Very entertaining read Brian! These are the most famous of the Korean restaurants (Okryu, Chongryu, No 1 Duck Barbecue Restaurant.) From a reliable source in the WP, I hear though that the Pyulmori cafe has gone downhill and the best Western place now is the Italian pizza place on the Taedong river. Great place to eat after visiting the USS Pueblo!

    1 Reply
    1. re: scoopG
      Brian S Jan 10, 2011 09:50 AM

      Thanks for adding the pizza place. Apparently, it opened last year. I think it's called "Italian Restaurant". It looks quite elegant:
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaruka/3951438106/in/set-72157622321475051

      Here's an article:
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/world...

    2. p
      penang_rojak Jan 13, 2011 06:04 AM

      Interesting info. Though Pyongyang's definltely one of the 100 places I don't need to see before I die!

      1 Reply
      1. re: penang_rojak
        scoopG Jan 14, 2011 01:56 AM

        The Arirang games in the summer isn’t a draw for you?

        Pyulmori went downhill because they stared using goat's cheese on their pizzas. It was as a terrific hit with the expat community when they opened, but then the “owners”, a Swiss NGO left the country and the cheese source presumably dried up for some reason.

        http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/nor...

      2. erica Jan 19, 2011 03:20 AM

        Love this, Brian. Got to sample that cow-belly-flesh-tray noodle!

        1. z
          Zaruka Jan 25, 2011 12:27 PM

          I know something about this. The Samtaesong I have been in briefly and photographed. It is generally too expensive for locals and I did not have time to grab a burger but they did not smell bad. see http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaruka/4920154525/

          Simon Cockerell took us to the Pyulmori Cafe in August and indeed the pie was great. Eating apple pie in the DPRK is unusual but - the rest of the food here is not really that good. The pizza was worse than a bad frozen pizza and the pasta was not that good. I have heard that under new management the restaurant was not as good as it had been. see http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaruka/4934698382/

          Pyongyang No. 1 Duck Barbecue Restaurant is not bad at all and I go there on every visit. Indeed it can be the best food in Pyongyang for most visitors because they do not get to go to many other places. See http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaruka/2...

          Brian S has cited my photoshoot of the Italian restaurant and indeed that is the best restaurant I have eaten in during my three trips to Pyongyang. It is wonderful. Despite the fact that few locals can afford it and I suspect it is generally closed most of the time it still stands as the best I have had. I will head back in September and see if I can get into the Okryu.
          Ray

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