An absolute tried and true classic. Dried Pollock, otherwise known as “talpi.” The quintessential accompaniment to beer, this dried and salted ‘fish jerky’ is perfectly matched to a sweet vinegar and wasabi dipping sauce.
Talpi is actually such a big deal we will give it its very own article, with it being available in Dandong, as well as other North Korean border towns. Is it bar food, or street food? Regardless it is a must when you visit North Korea.
2. Lamb BBQ
Streetside BBQs are becoming more of a fixture throughout North Korea, with most opting for lamb BBQ skewers as the meat of choice. Found during holidays, in public parks, outside popular department stores or scattered throughout the city, these BBQ lamb skewers are best dipped into dried chilli and cumin.
Literally translated to “rice with artificial meat,” is a North Korean specialty, created during the Arduous March and made of rice, kimchi, soybean paste and soybean oil, creating a meat-like texture. These days the dish is still a popular street food snack and can be found all over the country.
4. East Coast Clam BBQ
With an abundance of seafood and one of their main exports, the clams found on the east coast of Korea are generally bigger than the west coast counterparts and cooked over hot coals in their shells, BBQ-style.
5. West Coast Clam BBQ
For the more adventurous eaters, the cooking style and west coast specialty is without the infamous “petrol clams,” with an elegant spiral of leopard-print-clams meticulously arranged on a concrete slab, liberally doused with petrol and set alight in one of the more out-there cooking methods going ‘round. Fresh clams with just the faintest aromatics of petrol, bon appétit!
6. Mystery Sausage
Found all over Korea, these Kwik-E-Mart-esque sausages slowly turning around metal heating rods are not for the faint of heart. With rumours of them being imported from Ukraine and some being locally produced, this humble reader and would-be food critic has learned the hard way (twice) eating this bad boys. Just make sure they’re fully cooked through if you dare take the plunge.
7. Potato Starch Noodles
Not to be confused with Pyongyang Cold Noodles made from buckwheat, these potato starch noodles are a local specialty at Kwangbok Department Store’s upstairs Food Court, with locals queuing up to buy these starchy, chewy and delightfully simple noodles for their lunch each day. Oh and if you happen to be in Rason, we really recommend the Street Food there.
Want to try some of these classic North Korean street food staples staples? Check out our list of North Korea tours here.