Culinary Culture of Korea

Delights of Phyongan

Phyongan Province that existed during the feudal Joson dynasty was an area comprising today’s Pyongyang and North and South Phyongan provinces in the northwestern part of Korea which was also called the Kwanso area.

The area encompasses high mountains, hills and coastlines and the locals are known to be broad-minded and enterprising by nature.

So, this seems to be the reason why they make appetizing dishes in large sizes and copiously.

Their special foods include Pyongyang cold noodles, Pyongyang onban, meat dumpling soup and nochi, or a fried glutinous rice cake mixed with malt.

Pyongyang cold noodles are prepared by putting into a vessel a coil of noodle strips made of buckwheat dough, minced meat and a garnish of various ingredients before pouring cool and sapid soup over them.

Tongguksesigi, an old record, says the cold buckwheat noodles of the Kwanso area is the best of all kinds of noodles.

In the past it was customary for every household to keep a noodle maker and noodles were usually served at banquets and daily meals as well.

Pyongyang onban is the cooked rice which is garnished with chicken, mushroom and mung-bean pancake and over which chicken soup is poured. A distinctive feature of the food is that the chicken soup is seasoned with salt alone to preserve the original taste of the meat.

According to a legend, the food was originated from the fact that a woman servant at the Pyongyang district office of the feudal government served her lover, who was imprisoned on a false charge, boiled rice with mung-bean pancake on top by pouring hot soup over it on a cold winter day.

The locals of this area preferred meat dumpling soup to rice-cake soup and therefore they prepared lots of dumplings and froze them to have them with meat soup on lunar new year’s day or other occasions.

They used pheasant and mung-bean sprouts as the filling and their dumpling was two times larger than those of other areas.

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