North Korean cuisine

North Korean cuisine. Some dishes are shared by the two Koreas; however, availability and quality of Northern cuisine is much more significantly affected by sociopolitical class divides.

Historically, Korean cuisine has evolved through centuries of social and political change. Originating from ancient agricultural and nomadic traditions in southern Manchuria and the Korean Peninsula, it has gone through a complex interaction of the natural environment and different cultural trends. Rice dishes and kimchi are staple Korean foods. In a traditional meal, they accompany both side dishes (panch’an) and main courses like chuk (porridge), pulgogi (grilled meat) or myŏn (noodles). Soju liquor is the best-known traditional Korean spirit.

North Korean cuisine

Some North Korean dishes and foods are also prepared in South Korea, and many dishes that originated in North Korea were brought to South Korea by migrating families after the Korean War. Many of these imported dishes became staples in the South Korean diet

The flavors of some North Korean dishes differ from South Korean versions, with some being less spicy and more varied in composition than South Korean preparations. North Korean dishes have been described as having a specific tanginess that is derived from using ingredients with flavors of sweet, sour, pungent and spicy, in combinations that create this effect.

Some restaurants, particularly in Pyongyang, have expensive pricing relative to average worker wages in North Korea. North Korean citizens typically cannot afford restaurants. Per their pricing, upscale restaurants are typically available only to well-paid leaders of the North Korean government, tourists visiting the country, and the emerging affluent middle class of donju in the country Donju means “masters of money”, and the donju typically hold positions in the government, positions operating state-owned businesses outside of the country, and positions involving bringing investments and the importation of products into the country.

Some street foods exist in North Korea, such as in Pyongyang, where vendors operate food stalls. North Korea’s first pizzeria opened in 2009.[ Alcoholic beverages are produced and consumed in North Korea, and the country’s legal drinking age is 18.[

North Korean dishes and foods

  • Kajami shik’ae – a fermented and salted food prepared in North Korea using flounder and additional ingredients such as quinoa, garlic, ginger and chili flakes.
  • Kimbap
  • Kimchi – very common in North Korea, it is consumed as both a condiment and as a side dish, and often accompanies every meal Kimchi is relied upon by North Koreans during the winter months when fresh vegetables are unavailable.
  • Kogi bap – a rice dish with artificial meat, it is a popular North Korean street food
    • Injo kogi – sausages prepared using soybeans and other ingredients.
    • Injo kogi bap – cooked rice wrapped in a skin of leftover soybean paste.
  • Korean chestnut
  • Mandu – various dumplings, mandu styles vary in different regions of North Korea
  • Meats – meat consumption tends to be rare in North Korea, and most citizens only have access to meats during the public holidays of the birthdays of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, when extra meat is included in government rations provided to North Koreans. Meats that are consumed include mostly pork, rabbit and occasionally goat. Beef consumption is essentially not allowed in North Korea, but very limited consumption of small amounts of beef is permitted, which is sometimes used in stews or soups.
  • Millet
  • Miyŏk-kuk – a nutritious vegetable soup prepared with seaweed
  • Noodles and noodle dishes – in North Korean culture, long noodles represent a long life or a long marriage, and long noodles are served to people at weddings.
    • Beef noodle soup
    • Corn noodles
    • Raengmyŏn – referred to as “naengmyeon” in South Korea, it is a traditional Korean cold noodle dish that is prepared using buckwheat noodles in North Korea. In North Korea, additional ingredients in the dish typically include some slices of meat, dried egg and hot sauce. The noodles are prepared using the flour and starch from ingredients such as buckwheat, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Some variations of the dish in North Korea is to include raw fish, cucumber, radish and Asian pear. Some North Koreans state that raengmyŏn originated in North Korea, and that it was introduced to South Korea by North Koreans who emigrated to South Korea after the Korean War occurred.
    • Ramyŏn – referred to as “curly noodles” in North Korea.[ Shin Ramyun is a brand of instant noodles produced in South Korea that is nicknamed “money ramen” in North Korea, due to its relatively expensive pricing in North Korea at around 800 won per unit. In 2009, boxes of Shin Ramyun that contain twenty packages of ramen per box cost around 30,000 North Korean won, which in North Korea is expensive, and therefore not available to most North Korean citizens at this price.
    • Rice noodles
  • Snack foods – examples of snack foods produced within North Korea include kangjǒng, cookies, puffy snacks and cotton candy pieces.
  • Sundae – traditional Korean sausages that are a popular street food
  • Sungŏ-kuk
  • Tangogikuk – traditional soup with dog meat as a primary ingredient
  • Tofu – a staple food in North Korea
    • Tofu bap – a tofu and rice dish that is a common street food in North Korea.
  • Tot’ori-muk – acorn jelly
  • Ttŏk – sticky rice cakes, sometimes with fillings
  • Turkey
  • Yakpap – a traditional sweet dish prepared using steamed glutinous rice, chestnuts, dates, honey and other ingredients

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