Where you can try traditional North Korean cuisine outside of North Korea? Now, how many of those places are in the “Western World”?
Well, one of them happens to be in Moscow.
Koryo (or Pyongyang Koryo), opened in 2010 and is Russia’s one and only North Korean restaurant. It is rumored to be officially sanctioned by the North Korean government [chills], rather than some…um…emigrants from the country, though I’m not sure if the NK leadership bothers with this kind of public diplomacy.
But – expected dark remarks about food in North Korea aside – is Koryo the real deal? Apparently – yes. Don’t take my word for it, but that of my friend and newly-baked Moscow expat Claire, who hails from South Korea, and whose family includes people from both sides of the DMZ.
Koryo’s menu is huge and features many traditional northern Korean delicacies, such as naengmyeon – thin buckwheat noodles served in cold broth with meat, egg, vegetables and gochujang, red chili paste (hot!). For Korean food novices like myself, one of Koryo’s attentive waitresses (all of whom are dressed like fancy flight attendants in matching suit-dresses) will come around and demonstrate how to properly mix the towering structure into soup. There are also, of course, plenty of universally Korean dishes, from several varieties of kimchi to grilled eel and potato pancakes. Get a big group together and order one of everything to try – that’s what I did!The appeal of Koryo to a Moscovite is that it’s a rare truly authentic “ethnic” restaurant, not diluted by Russification/pan-Europeanization. As in, no, there won’t also be any chicken Caesar salad, pizza and shashlik on the menu, get over it. And the food is spicy, properly spicy! That’s probably why Koryo enjoys so many foreign patrons, including Asian ones. That, and perhaps the chance to get a glimpse inside the Hermit Kingdom?
16 thoughts on “MOSCOW EATS: STATE-SANCTIONED NORTH KOREAN AT KORYO”
The food looks delicious!! And what a lot of it! Exactly how much did you EAT when you went there?
I suppose the advantage of being sanctioned by the North Korean govt is that they insist on absolute authenticity. Do you think the chef faces imprisonment if he messes with the recipes? 😉
Oh we had a group of 10 people, so we ordered a few of everything 🙂 – and cleaned our plates! The great thing is that the food felt so light and healthy, not junk-y at all. PS – I am going to Italy next month (assuming visa comes thru, tho tix already bought) – to Emilia Romagna!
Also – that is a creeeeeepy thought about the chefs. (probably)
I am absolutely loving all your posts about the food scene in Moscow… but it’s such a shame you won’t be there when I am! 😦
I KNOW! And I will be right next to your town in Germany, too – I was sooooo looking forward to hanging out!
That stacked cucumber dish looks delicious. What’s on top of the cucumber?
Something spicy 🙂 (and I think still vegetables?)
Korean food is my most favourite thing ever! Only ever had it in London and in Beijing, so I can only dream of the real deal…sigh.
Considering that any trip to Asia, for me, is still probably 2-3 years away, I am very happy I can get the real deal in Moscow.
I had some lovely Russian food in Madrid a couple of weeks ago 🙂
Absolutely! I love Korean food as it’s still all rather special. I’d say we only have three of them in Berlin. As in three “real” Korean restaurants. Yum!
I am so surprised! Berlin strikes me first and foremost as being insanely diverse in every way. I figured it’s be teeming with all sorts of foreign restaurants.
You would think so but it’s the same with Mexican restaurants. Tex-Mex yes, but very few Mexican-Mexican restaurants but then Britain is the same. Korean and Mexican places don’t seem that popular unlike Indian or Thai…Oh yes! I’m really pleased that Moscow has the real deal.
Reblogged this on ask sophie!.
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What’s restaurant? called where is it located?