During the historic inter-Korean summit on 27 April, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un presented his country’s naengmyeon, or cold noodles, to South Korean President Moon Jae-in to savour. The gesture sparked a craze for naengmyeon and long queues at restaurants that served the dish in South Korea after the summit.
With Kim scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump at their much anticipated summit in Singapore next Tuesday (12 June), would he once again be bringing a North Korean culinary delight to foster peace efforts on the dining table?
Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore speculates on the following North Korean dishes that Kim’s personal chef might whip up to please the tastebuds of burger-loving Trump.
Naengmyeon, or cold buckwheat noodles, are popular on both sides of the divided Korean peninsula as a summer dish. The version called mul naengmyeon originated from Pyongyang. It consists of noodles in a tangy broth, typically topped with an egg, cucumber and slices of meat. Kim may once again engage in food diplomacy by presenting this delicacy in Singapore.
Tofu stew, or soondubu jigae, is another dish that is emblematic of Korean cuisine. Often cooked with seafood and vegetables and spiced with copious amounts of hot pepper flakes, the broth-like stew is best eaten with rice. While tofu stew could spice up the Trump-Kim summit, we wonder if the US president would be able to handle the dish’s fiery taste.
The South Koreans may be famous for their barbecue meat, but the North Koreans have a dish unlike any other: BBQ clams cooked with petrol. Tourists patronising restaurants in North Korea are often treated to the spectacle of clams being doused with petrol and set on fire.
Kim probably wouldn’t want to raise the temperature in his meeting with Trump so he might just present stewed soup with clams.
Kim could choose to forgo Korean food altogether and attempt to woo Trump with American-style hamburgers and fries. Western-style fast food chains are surprisingly becoming more common in Pyongyang, with Samtaesong being the first to set up shop in North Korea.
What’s more, Samtaesong was started by three Singaporean businessmen, so having its burgers on the menu would be a tribute to the summit’s host country.
North Korean kimchi
No list of classic Korean dishes would be complete without mentioning the ubiquitous kimchi. The North Korean’s version of the fermented cabbage is usually less spicy than the one in the South.
Both the North and South Korean versions of kimchi have been recognised by Unesco, the United Nations’ cultural agency, as items of intangible cultural heritage.
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