Go back ten or twenty years, and Korean food was pretty niche. Nowadays, though, there are Koreatowns everywhere, and Korean food can be pretty easily found in most major cities. Classic Korean fare includes such things as Bibimbap (a mixed-rice dish) and Korean BBQ (pretty much what it sounds like). But the most famous dish north of the 28th parallel is, without a doubt, Pyongyang cold noodles.
What are Pyongyang cold noodles?
Pyongyang cold noodles are – prepare to be shocked – noodles that are cold. And preferably from Pyongyang. The noodles are made from buckwheat, have a somewhat tough texture, and are usually green or brown.
Now whilst cold noodles might not sound that great off the bat, there are a couple of additions that make them delicious. Korean vinegar, which is mouth-burningly hot, plus North Korean mustard (super spicy and amazing) turns this dish into one for the ages.
Where can I try this culinary masterpiece?
To state the obvious: Pyongyang cold noodles are served throughout North Korea, and you’ll definitely have a chance to try them when you travel to the country with Young Pioneer Tours. If, for some bizarre reason, it doesn’t pop up on your tour, there’s a cold noodle restaurant in the basement of the Yanggakdo Hotel for after-hours snacking.
Pyongyang cold noodles across the world
There’s also the legendary Pyongyang Restaurant franchise that has been popping up all over the world. This restaurant serves authentic North Korean cuisine prepared and served by – you guessed it – North Koreans.
Yanji, the capital of the Korean Autonomous Prefecture of China, also does a fine line in authentic Korean/Chinese-Korean cuisine, including dog and cold noodles (not together).
On the off-chance you prefer your dishes with a hefty side-serving of filthy capitalism, there are members of the North Korean diaspora in South Korea who can dish up a serving of cold noodles for you (or if you’re really desperate, South Korean who’ve filched the Ancient Korean Secrets of their Northern counterparts).
Of course, the best way to sample them is to join one of our North Korean tours and sample Pyongyang cold noodles the way God intended – in Pyongyang. If you’re lucky, you may even get to hear the North Korean song dedicated to this famous national dish..