While all North Korean restaurants serve the glorious fatherland – it’s reported that they do a great job in generating foreign currency – the best bet for an intrepid eater might be at Haedanghwa.
The Beijing branch of this global chain is right around the corner from the North Korean embassy. The waitresses – there are no waiters here – are all escorted to and from the embassy for every shift during their three-year stint abroad.
As the flagship eatery, Haedanhwa offers plenty of specialities that are beyond the means of the average North Korean. No doubt a desire to appear cosmopolitan to the outside world explains the pan-fried foie gras (128RMB) and platters of sashimi, but staple Korean dishes such as vegetable kimbaprolls (50RMB) – thick, sushi-like rice rolls – are also available. A selection of blood sausage (48RMB) was more satisfying, the meat surrounded with cold rice providing a rich, gelatinous bite. For the adventurous eater (read: morally bankrupt) dog is also available (68RMB).
On the whole, food here is fair to good: an ordinary meal in a not-so-ordinary restaurant.