Korean Unification Restaurant – Neungna Babsang

IMG_4665Parallel the sleepless Jongno street is an alley packed with old folks, restaurants filled mostly with said old folk, and the occasional protest graffiti.

IMG_4232Not far from the yellow ribbon, next to a gamjatang house is a fairly unassuming entrance to Neungna Babsang (능라밥상) which I think roughly translates as… silk dining table? A finely laid dining table? Something fancy.

Neungna Babsang (능라밥상)


IMG_4670It’s a Korean Unification restaurant. Not quite sure what that means, but they serve some North Korean style food. Some real tasty North Korean food. The dining area feels staged and inauthentic. Don’t let that fool you!

IMG_4676Here are a few of the dishes I’ve tried thus far!


Gaeseong Mujjim (개성무찜)

Personality Steamed Radish! 

… I think…


Oh, wait. So evidently Gaeseong is the name of a North Korean city. So this is a stew made with steamed radish in the style of the Gaeseongites. Those of you who followed the now defunct Sunshine Policy of South Korea, might remember that Gaeseong is the site of a South Korean industrial complex run by South Koreans, operated by North Koreans.

Wether personality or city, this dish is excellent. It’s a little spicy, with a little black pepper, tons of garlic, and a little ginger for a nice kick. Come with a friend or group though, this dish serves a minimum of two.


Gamja Ogeurang Ddeokguk (감자 오그랑떡국)
Potato Wrinkled-Ricecake Soup


Ogeuram Ddeokguk is a nice, thick ddeokguk. However, while it has some of the regular ddeokguk ddeok (ricecake), it also has a potato based lumpy/wrinkly ddeok. If you like ddeokguk, try this one out. Oh, right, and this dish is also heavy with garlic and I think a hint of ginger.


Sogalbi Gukbap (소갈비국밥)
Beef Rib Soup


Like the other dishes, the sogalbi gukbap here has plenty of good stuff, including the ever present garlic and ginger.

Sul (술)

Also for sale – booze! North Korean booze to be specific. Booze of various kinds!

Evidently Dotori Sul is a ‘Well Known Liquor’. I haven’t tried any of these yet myself, but curiosity will eventually get the better of me.

Go North!

If you want to try Neungna Babsang, you can find it here:

Neungna Babsang
Jongno-gu Nakwon-dong 197-1
2nd Floor

종로구 낙원동 197-1

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