Culinary Culture of Korea

Chef Good at Cooking Oxtail Soup

Head chef Pak Yon Ok (middle) teaches other cooks how to cook oxtail soup.

The Ullim Restaurant, located in Kyonghung-dong of Pothonggang District, Pyongyang, is renowned for beef dishes.

“Oxtail soup is generally greasy, but our soup is savoury without such fatty taste as our head chef boosts the delicate flavour of the bone stock,” said manageress Jo Yong Ran.

“Those who dined at our restaurant say, ‘You can savour the genuine taste of oxtail soup at the Ullim Restaurant,’” she added.

The restaurant became famous for oxtail soup thanks to head chef Pak Yon Ok.

The 46-year-old woman has been working at the restaurant for nearly 25 years since she graduated from the then Pyongyang Foodstuff and Cooking College.

In the period, she became a master of Chinese, Japanese and Western dishes as well as traditional Korean cuisine.

Though introvert, she is very passionate in her work. With great enthusiasm she applied herself to boosting the flavour of oxtail soup.

In order to learn the nutritive features of the soup and its traditional cookery, she frequently visited lecturers and researchers of Pyongyang Jang Chol Gu University of Commerce and read many books on gastrology.

Pak willingly teaches other cooks her special skills.

She recalled that her first mentor Ko Kun Yong, Merited Cook, had taught her the personality traits a cook should have before cookery.

Always keeping Ko’s teaching “Prepare with all sincerity, then you will make tasty dishes” in her mind, she tells other cooks to make dishes with the mind of cooking foods for their own parents.

“I find the pride and worth of life in seeing the diners taking my dishes with relish. Culinary skills are important for cooks, but what is more important is the sincere attitude with which they prepare dishes, I think,” Pak said.

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