Young Pioneer Tours

Can you do Keto in North Korea?

Some nice keto-acceptable samgyeopsal

We love everything about the food of North Korea, which you can read about here, here, and here. Whilst much has been said about the previous “arduous march” and the ever unending warning about imminent famine, generally speaking and for tourists at least, the food situation is extremely good.

But what if like many people, you have a dietary requirement? If you are vegan for example, we are certain you will tell us (that joke never gets old), and you can read bout being a vegan in North Korea here. But, what if your dietary requirements are less about being a tree hugging, Greta loving beatnik, and more about less of a fat bastard? We bring you the guide to keto in the DPRK.

If you are unfamiliar with the keto diet, you should probably not bother reading this blog, but I guess I’ll humor you anyway. Keto involves eating little to no carbohydrates, almost no sugar and eating lots of meat/protein.

So, how does a keto diet fare in Pyongyang?

Some very non-keto acceptable Pyongyang cold noodles

First let’s start with the negatives to keto in Korea. Koreans eat a lot of rice, and although to a lesser extent, also noodles, and bread, as well as breaded things. Yep those all be carbs! But do not worry, things are not all bad.

Breakfast ALWAYS has eggs!

Spot the many varieties of egg in this wide platter?

Breakfasts can be a bit weird and eclectic in North Korea, but one constant is the egg. Boiled, fried, whatever, there’s always egg. And tea! These will keep away the morning blues.

Foreigners get meat with every meal

Ginseng and chicken soup

Whilst regular families in North Korea might not do meat everyday, foreigners will get served meat at all meals… Unless you are a vegan, but again you would have already told us that (again see what I did there). They come in a variety of styles and can sometimes be breaded, but there’s also a lot of boiled meat (such as hot pot), or great restaurants like the duck BBQ, and lamb BBQ restaurants in Pyongyang where you will not go hungry.

North Korea has amazing seafood!

Plenty of seafood and meat here!

Well to be fair they are surrounded by the sea! Most restaurants serve one or more seafood dishes, again often times it is breaded, but at worst you can de-bread it. Top tip here is the live sashimi at the seafood restaurant in Wonsan.

And the North Korean countryside?

Be sure to try the petrol clams!

The further into the boonies you go obviously choices get a bit more limited, although generally speaking the same rules mostly apply.

To summarize on keto in Korea

The most important thing to remember is that keto, much like veganism, or vegetarianism re lifestyle choices. We at YPT will always do our best to accommodate people’s dietary requirements, but if you do for example decide to travel to the countryside of North Korea, remember these people have had serious food issues occur during their and our lifetimes. You will need to be flexible as much as you can, but as aware minimum show understanding and respect.

To read more about keto, and other fun food jollies follow my Street Food Blog