Pyongyang North Korean

After weeks of persistence, I convinced someone to go with me to one of the most interesting restaurants in Beijing. Located north east of the Agricultural Exhibition Center on the first floor of a the Huakang Hotel is Pyongyang, an authentic Korean Restaurant run by the North Korean government. There are 3 or 4 of these in Beijing, and in many more in cities around the world, however the US seams to be missing one.

outside Pyongyang Restaurant

After walking along Nongzhangguan North Road for about a mile and crossing over and empty river, we walked past the target area and then had to backtrack until we spotted something restaurant like. I asked to see the menu so I could check the name of the place, but by the time it was handed to me I already knew. The waitresses makeup gave them a ghostly appearance, and the decor of the place looked like it stopped evolving with the rest of the world decades ago.

We sat down and went through an interesting ordering routine. We zeroed in on several intriguing pages, invariable the waitress would start saying 'Negga, Negga' when she knew we were close to a decision, at which point we would point at something and say 'Jegga'. The waitress finally mustered the courage to try some English on us and asked where we were from, she smiled when I said my friend was from Canada, and then frowned when I said I was from the US.

The whole time we were there this TV in the back of the room was playing some sort of propaganda DVD, with everything from violinists playing Eye Of The Tiger, to montages of different industrial accomplishments North Korea had made. I turned around to get some footage of this during the industrial montage, and after filming for about 20 seconds, the waitress ran over to our table and started making hand motions and saying things we couldn't understand. I pretended to ignore her as the video went on to show a North Korean missile launching, when I was done recording I turned around and put the camera down while the waitress stood for another minute giving us the evil eye.

Eventually the food showed up, plate by plate and was no disappointment, except maybe the french toast. I don't know why french toast was on the menu, or why we ordered it. My favorites were the dish with a couple of large peppers covered with a bizarre red sauce, and the pork dish serve on top of a mysterious black sludge. The other stuff was good enough, and probably better than similar dishes we've eaten at South Korean restaurants here.

kim chi
bean curd
glass noodels
french toast
peppers + sauce
pork + black slime

rice + egg dish