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    Eating and Drinking Guide

    Korean Cuisine | Popular restaurants | Vienna Caffe | Taedonggang Beer Bar

    The restaurant scene in Pyongyang is thriving. It is never a problem to find a really good meal if one can afford it and one knows where to look. A dinner in a regular upmarket restaurant would cost about $7-10 (excluding alcohol), but the most expensive places charge around $30-40. In most cases, the consumers pay in foreign currency, usually Chinese yuan, which has long been a currency of choice in the up-market North Korean shops.

    Traditionally, the large international hotels have restaurants which caters for the guests. Tourists usually have breakfast in their hotel, sometimes dinner is also served in the hotel if the sighseeing tour extends till late evening.

    Pyongyang has its share of restaurants serving foreign cuisine – one can enjoy Japanese sushi and assorted Chinese dishes as well as European-style food. A local Pyongyang pizzeria serves Italian dishes which can be eaten while listening to fashionable western music. Near Juche Tower the affluent and well-connected (as well as foreigners) can enjoy a great variety of beers in a pub with its own micro-brewery.

    Korean Cuisine

    North Korean-style cuisine still reigns supreme. The Korean food on offer in the North is different from the fare that can be found in the South but it is less spicy and far more varied than its Southern counterpart. Chefs are sometimes sent to the countryside to collect recipes and study traditional ways of cooking.

    Many of the North Korean dishes are different from what one can get in a typical South Korean restaurant. To start with, the North Korean variety of haute cuisine has been strongly influenced by the traditions of Russian cuisine. In an average North Korean high-end eatery many of the dishes on offer clearly have Russian origins.

    People in the North are big fans of the barbecue. But instead of fresh rib meats (known as kalbi in the South), North Koreans tend to prefer marinated varieties (known as bulgogi, still popular in the South, but less so). As with South Korea, North Koreans grill their meat themselves over a charcoal fire or small gas stove installed in the tables at the restaurant.

    Another famous North Korean dish is sinsollo, which is somewhat reminiscent of South Korea’s shabu-shabu. In the restaurant, customers are supplied with a pile of raw vegetables, meat and dumplings, as well as with a pan filled with water and a coal fire that heats the pan. You boil the food in the water.

    Okryu and Chongryu restaurants founded in 1960s have "defined the culinary life of Pyongyang" and a "living museum of culinary art". The two most well-known old North Korean restaurants are Okryugwan and Chongryugwan. Both first appeared in the 1960s. These restaurants are also seen as living museums devoted to traditional Korean cuisine.

    Vienna Caffe

    Vienna Caffe is a coffe shop and a restaurant serving European cusine. This caffe is conveniently located in Kim Il Sung Square.

    Taedonggang Beer Bar

    Taedonggang Beer Bar is located near the Juche Tower. It is serving different types of beer on tap. Here you will have a chance to see how locals spend their time.