World Cooking – North Korea

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: North Korea
Progress: 52/193

Okay, so I know that in my last world cookery post I said that I was going to make something from the Americas next. However, today ended up being the the second hottest day in UK history and one thing led to another and boom I ended up making something with its origins in North Korean cuisine… twice. It’s cool how these things turn out sometimes, especially today’s dish would not have been possible without the Korean shop that recently opened in London’s Chinatown.

Back when I cooked somewhat modern for South Korea as the third entrant on this country list, I said that I wanted to explore more traditional food when I got to North Korea. The reason for this being that, with things as they are, it’s not easy to actually find recipes for what is eaten in North Korea… if anything depending on the circumstance. Also, I’m not entirely sure what the national dish would be.

In any event, with my upcoming trip to South Korea on the horizon (and a general uptick in my interest in Korean food, television and music), today’s dish is one that I’ve known about for a while. When I saw the temperature was due to climb to over 38 degrees, I though that this would be the perfect dish to deal with the heat, the fact that it has it’s origins in North Korea and I could make a version close to that tradition as opposed to South Korean made for an extreme case of serendipity.

Main: Raengmyŏn

Raengmyŏn, a cold noodle dish that can be served with ice as part of the broth, appears to be a dish of great cultural importance. It’s origins are from North Korea where the appeal has since spread into the southern half of the country. It appears to have been invented quite a while ago and is such a part of North Korean identity that it was presented as a gift to the South Korean leader at the beginning of a peace summit.

For most of this dish, I took the recipe from The Spruce Eats and expanded a bit from there. I marinaded some bulgogi beef overnight and served it here alongside a hard-boiled egg, pickled radish, cucumber, noodles (proper ones from the Korean market) and apple (nowhere is selling pears at the moment, and I visited 4 stores to try and find them). The broth itself was a chicken-beef-vinegar mix that was especially refreshing in this ridiculously hot weather.

In the end, this was such a hit that I made it for lunch and dinner. Not only was it cool and refreshing in the hot weather, but it was also very low calorie yet full of flavour. This is one of those recipes that I will definitely be coming back to again and again as (aside from the overnight beef) it is just so very simple to make. Even if the idea of a cold tangy noodle soup doesn’t necessarily appeal, raengmyŏn really should be on your list to try.

Right, so the next country will still not be a Caribbean one and instead it will be a recipe that I found for Rwanda. I’ll literally be doing a Caribbean nation the next day, it’s just that both recipes required plantains and the Rwandan one I have makes more sense to have the day before. It’s a bit strange to be crossing off three countries in four days, but it’s nice to be chugging along on this particular challenge.

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