The latest restaurant opening in the North Korean capital is the talk of the town
Over the past year or so, an enigmatic looking building has been rising on the banks of the Taedong River in Pyongyang, a boat-shaped elongated structure which finally opened on July 27th, instantly becoming the most talked-about eatery among the Pyongyang chattering classes – the Pyongyang Taedonggang Seafood Restaurant 평양 대동강수산물식당 – naturally Koryo Tours decided to go and check it out!
On the ground floor the main entrance is dominated by a large pool filled with sturgeon, some of them getting on for 2m long. This seemed to be a popular place for locals to stand and point at the fish, and of course we joined them. The banner over the pool reads 내 나라 제일로 좋아! which means ‘My country is the best!’ (this refers to the DPRK of course, it is a common slogan found across the country).
Multiple pools of varying kinds of fish and seafood are spread across this floor: salmon, rainbow trout, crabs and so on. People can come in and net one to be taken away and cooked at home, or select their victim for lunch or dinner on the spot. There are some café areas and a nice bar on this level too – the pools have a rather low ledge so the risk of falling in is ever-present and no doubt would give everyone a good giggle – we didn’t see this happen on this first visit although a valiant attempt at an escape by a jumping salmon was narrowly thwarted by the edge of the pool.
On the second floor a wide range of restaurants is present, this building is more of a restaurant complex than a single restaurant itself. Korean Restaurant, European Restaurant, Sushi Restaurant and more. They all specialize in fish and seafood of course. On the third floor there is a coffee shop (more of a bar actually) and the buffet restaurant, where we decided to have dinner.
The buffet costs $10 per person. Not cheap by local standards but well within the reach of many of the consumer class of Pyongyang these days, for a treat at least. This price didn’t include drinks but they were well-priced too so lunch or dinner can be done without breaking the bank.
On offer was a range of sushi and sashimi (the most popular section), rainbow trout in white sauce, beef cutlet and spicy chicken (in a seafood restaurant?), a curious range of breads from steamed buns to brioche, veggies, fish soup, and so on. Not a giant spread but enough to make it very worthwhile indeed. This will be a recommended place for visitors from now on for sure.
The view from the buffet restaurant is also excellent; up and down the Taedong River, the May Day Stadium in one direction and central Pyongyang in another. Fishermen on the banks of the river outside and dredgers doing their work at various points too.
One big attraction and highlight is the huge roof area, under-utilised at the moment apart from to house an array of solar panels, this large space is easily reached and is great for taking in the views, photos, and hopefully they will add some seats and make an outdoor space there too in the future.
The opening of this restaurant has been widely reported in the DPRK media, in characteristically hyperbolic terms of course – our view on it is that it is very worth a visit, the food is good and well-priced for what it is, the experience of touring the ground floor is a little like being in an aquarium, its busy enough to be a good opportunity for mingling with local people, and the view is superb. It is a good choice for lunch or dinner and we look forward to many more visits and hope that as many people from Pyongyang and elsewhere can have the chance of a meal here too
See you on the roof!
Koryo Tours North Korea Travel Guide | The Definitive Guide to the Sights of the DPRK.