Skip to content

Eight Hours in North Korea: a cold reality check (3)

November 30, 2008

Local fare – 13 kinds

The local fare of a country is something I don’t usually blog about. I’m too busy eating it to be thinking about it. But this time I’d thought I would blog about it, because it’s North Korea.

A traditional style lunch was provided as part of the package. A lunch which consisted of 13 different  side dishes, and all the food groups:meat,vegetable, fruit, bread (grains), dairy. And one more, chili. 

by Cate

by Cate

Marinated wild mushrooms with red chili, marinated fish with red chili, fresh soya bean shoots with red chili, a gelantinous concoction – red chili, steamed fern bracken and… red chili. And a yummy onion cabbage soup with heat to boot.

While the South Koreans complained about the food being bland and not enough heat, the non Koreans enjoyed the meal. There may have been an overdose of chili going on, but the vegetables were fresh and the food actually tasted organic. No additives – except for the generous handfuls of msg.

Unlike their southern comrades, the North Korean diet (Kaesong) seems to include coriander (cilantro). My guess is as a breath freshner????

by Cate

by Cate


Presentation was part of the meal. Not up to Japanese standards, but given the circumstances, the cooks made a good attempt. I was intrigued with the way they prepared their egg dish.

by Cate

by Cate

My first impression was a custard type dessert. It was not until I had vacuumed up the first portion did I realise there was no custard flavour to this dish. Egg and only egg.

Although I was busy enjoying the wonderfully prepared and efficiently ran lunch, I sensed an underlying pride from the young waitresses. Proud that they could produce something edible for these odd looking foreigners. Edible in the way that the odd looking foreigners were not choking on the heat or pulling faces of disgust at the indistinguishable food in front of them.

The lunch was a novel treat for most of us non Koreans – something new to try, photograph, and use as a topic of polite conversation afterwards.

 Sadly though, this type of meal is probably something the average North Korean only dreams about.

What did you think of this post on North Korea?

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. December 1, 2008 1:09 am

    One thing I truly enjoy about travelling to different countries is trying out the local food, sometimes it works out good and other times I become a vegetarian for a while!

    Those eggs sure looked like something a lot tastier than plain old eggs.

  2. December 1, 2008 9:00 am

    Yes the egg dish was much much better than plain old eggs. I’m like you with food, whenever I go to China I ALWAYS go vegetarian for safety reasons.

    Have you found anything of interest foodwise in Barbados?

  3. Bear permalink
    December 1, 2008 8:55 pm

    It’s a fascinating post. Interesting about the fondness for red chilis and the egg presentation is imaginative.

  4. December 2, 2008 4:03 am

    Hi Bear, yes the koreans both south and north love their chili. I was interested in just how they made that egg dish. Thanks for all your comments I am happy you are really enjoying my posts.

  5. December 29, 2008 1:41 pm

    Korea is one the most beautiful country of the world, i will visit it soon Inshallah.

  6. December 30, 2008 9:32 am

    Yes it is a scenic place. I think Pakistan has tremendous beauty as well. I really want to visit around the Hunza region.

Comments are closed.