|Some of the food on offer at a Food North Korean restaurant named Howolilga in Incheon, Gyeonggi Province. In the center are injogogi rice roll with spices on the top. Injogi is fake or mock meat made from beans and sesame. On the right are hot noodles served with vegetables and spices. Korea Times photo by Jung Da-min|
By Jung Da-min
INCHEON ― North Korean food in the South is popular among those who know where to go to try the original version made from the local recipes.
Among the restaurants that serve local food from the North, The Korea Times team visited one named Howolilga in South Incheon.
The restaurant was rather small ― about 26.4 square meters ― with four tables, each seating four people.
Run by North Korean defectors from Hyesan in Ryanggang Province, the restaurant serves food popular in the Mount. Paekdu area.
We tried several dishes, including rice rolled inside injogogi ― a sheet of fake or mock meat made from beans and sesame ― hot noodles served with bean sprouts, and herb soup, abai-sundae and potato-rice cakes stuffed with cabbages.
|Howolilga(胡越一家), a small restaurant serving North Korean dishes in Incheon, Gyeonggi Province. Korea Times photo by Jung Da-min|
Basically, the food was not too different from South Korean food in terms of ingredients like rice, bean sprouts or potato dough for rice cake, but some ingredients like injogogi or the combination of ingredients are not found in ordinary South Korean households or restaurants.
Injogogi is famous for sustaining North Korea when the country went through the Arduous March, replacing meat as a protein provider. The taste, to this reporter, was like some kind of tofu and the chewy texture added to the fun of eating it.
The noodles, served with a hot vegetable soup of bean sprouts and other herbs, tasted like South Korean yukgaejang but with fewer spices.
Abai-sundae and potato-rice cake were different from South Korean sundae or potato-rice cake in that they were stuffed with vegetables.
Overall, we found that South Koreans could enjoy a similar but new and different style of Korean food from the other side of the Korean peninsula.
|Side dish made from injogogi or mock meat.|
|The menu includes injogogi rice rolls, hot or cold noodles with vegetable soup, potato-rice cakes, abai-sundae and other dishes.|