North Korean food isn’t a common thing that people think about when they think of Korean food. People just assume that since North Korean is a communist country that they just eat very poorly. When I first tried North Korean food, I felt that it was a little underseasoned personally. Recently in the past few years, North Korean food as gotten a little more popular down here in South Korea. There are more and more restaurants that are opening up, particularly North Korean-style Naengmyun (평양냉면). There are other dishes besides the ever-so popular cold noodle dish, which I have grown to love.
This is North Korean-style Jjim Dak (찜닭). It is a little different from the typical South Korean -style Jjim Dak, which is a soy sauce based marinade. This North Korean-style is a little simpler. It is slow-braised in a broth that makes the chicken fall-off-the-bone tender and super flavorful. If you aren’t eating fried chicken, this is the next best thing. It gets topped off with a ton of Asian chives. It gives it a nice balance with the slight fattiness of the chicken skin. You also have to make your own dipping sauce. The dipping sauce contains their housemade thick spicy paste called Da-dae-gi (다데기), which is a mixture that is made with Korean chili peppers, garlic, gochigaru, kelp, soy sauce, fish sauce, and a little bit of sugar. Everybody has their own recipe for this, but this is the basic base of the paste. You mix this paste with some spicy yellow mustard, white vinegar, and a little bit of soy sauce. You can make it to your liking.
If you guys know anything about me, I can’t order JUST the chicken, right?! So I ordered a few more side dishes to complete this amazing meal. We ordered the dumplings, which are also a little different than the South Korean-style. The dumplings have a slightly thicker skin on it so it gives it a little more chew to the dumpling. The inside is filled with minced pork, garlic, onions, leeks, and egg. It isn’t as flavorful as some of the other ones I have tried, but I won’t complain if I had to eat them again.
The third item we ordered was their 비빔막국수 (cold, spicy buckwheat noodles). It is the perfect compliment to the other dishes. It gives you that extra little contrast you need from the other milder dishes. The noodles have a nice chew to them so they don’t just melt in your mouth. The spicy sauce isn’t super spicy, but just enough to taste the spices.
When you get a meal like this, you don’t necessary need to get the “usual suspects” of soju or beer. I, personally, would rather order makkeoli or dong dong ju (동동주), which is a slightly thicker version of the makkeoli and typically made in-house.
Go and check out this place and I promise you won’t regret it! It is called 진남포면옥 (Jin Nam Po Myun Ok). It is located right in front of Yaksu station on line 3 right outside of exit 7.