Potonggang Barbeque Restaurant
With the exception of Kimchi, Korean Barbeque is probably the most famous food from the peninsular worldwide.
Pyongyang Cold Noodles will surely one day rise to claim that crown!
Of course, there are plenty of places in Pyongyang to enjoy this style of meal.
Arirang Restaurant, next to the Pyongyang Hotel, is many people’s favourite, but for a simple homely place popular with locals the Potonggang Barbeque Restaurant is up there too.
Potonggang Barbeque Restaurant is very close to Hwanggumbol Metro station, at the intersection of Ponghwa and Kyonghung Streets, in central Pyongyang.
It is confusingly not all that close (a few hundred metres) from the Potong River from which it gets its name.
For anyone familiar with Pyongyang but who might not know all the street names, you can find this place by going to that spot where all the trolleybuses turn around a small roundabout, just down the road from the Ryugyong Hotel.
The main building here is a little austere, it would be advisable to skip going in there and instead head for the smaller building to the left of the car park.
Here waitresses scurry back and forth carrying the dangerous-looking braziers filled with white-hot coals to plant them deftly in the middle of tables.
Not for this place the bourgeoise affectation of an efficient system to pipe the meat-smoke out of the room, once you eat here you will remember it next time you sniff whatever you were wearing at that time, so you could do what many local men do and strip down to their undershirt, or just tough it out while fully dressed.
Depends how full-Pyongyang you’re willing to go at dinnertime!
Of course, you can barbeque anything, and it is not uncommon to throw on some veggies, mushrooms, etc.
But the purpose of this kind of meal is to eat meat.
While it is still the case that for most people in the DPRK meat is something of a treat and not an everyday thing, for many Pyongyangers it is a near-daily part of a meal, and at such places like this, it is expected that one would push the boat out a little.
So, if here with Koreans it is normal for them to order a range of different flesh, so go hungry to make the most of it!
This restaurant is open for tour groups and individual travellers too, for anyone not au fait with when to flip the meat and when it is done enough the waitresses are very good at popping by at the exact right moment to help you out with a pair of tongs, so you can make the most of the experience.