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Can you do keto in North Korea?

Keto in North Korea

Can you do keto in North Korea? For the vast majority of visitors to the DPRK you enter either as part of a tourists group, or even traveling independently as part of a package tour to the country. This means that your restaurants and indeed your meals are planned out meticulously in advance.

So, with this in mind can one do keto when they visit North Korea? The short easy answer is that you can do a week in North Korea whilst largely sticking to your keto ethos.

Do they understand keto in North Korea?

When you come from a western country and have a ”special diet” not linked to a medical condition, that is essentially by choice it is important to understand the culture of the host country. North Korea has previously suffered from severe food shortages which have made meat a luxury to many rather than a necessity.

st Street Foods in Asia
Not Keto in North Korea friendly

Therefore they the concept of something like a diet where you almost exclusively eat meat is very much a literally and figuratively a foreign concept. Rice and, or noodles are served with every meal, so you will have to be flexible about keto in North Korea.

Although with that being said tourists eat very well, and that means meat with every meal. Keto fiends you will get your meat fix in North Korea!

To read about doing vegetarian in North Korea click here

Breakfast in North Korea

Breakfast in North Korea is often a rather eclectic affair and will depend now here you eat it. Certainly at your hotel in Pyongyang and anywhere you go they will have eggs as part of breakfast. Sometimes there will also be fish. I’m not a fan of North Korean fish for breakfast, but it will at least appease the keto gods.

Not Keto in North Korea friendly

Keto lunch in North Korea

Lunch is a big deal in North Korea and not just a quick energy stop. You will usually stop for at least an hour and indulge in decent food. Famous stops for lunch include North Korean hot-pot, which is rich in meat and vegetables. You cook it yourself, so can decide exactly what it is you want eat.

Pyongyang Duck barbecue restaurant
Keto in North Korea – Duck BBQ

North Korea also tend to serve a wide array of appetizers as part of all meals including lunch. These will include meat and fish sides, which one can easily stock up on.

When it comes to the main course this could rice, or noodle based and often is. You can potentially order a meat dish as a replacement, but meat costs money, so you will probably need to pay a surcharge. Food in general is cheap, so it will be far from a game changer for you.

Dinner – Keto in North Korea

When it comes to dinner you have more options when it comes to getting a meat fix, although again it will be accompanied by rice, noodles, or both. There are some cracking restaurants such as the Duck BBQ one, where you get to wrap duck meat in lettuce leaves, again keeping the keto gods happy. You will though almost certainly have something like Bibimbap, which is meat and vegetables shoved onto rice.  Eat the meat avoid the rice.

Again there will be much more options to order extras from the menu, although at extra cost of course.

Keto drinking in North Korea

From a soft-drink point of view North Korea isn’t exactly heaven, but this is good for those on keto. North Korea makes its own water and sparkling water, these are served with every meal and are good and plentiful. Avoid North Korean coke…

coca cola

To read about North Korean coke click here

And then we move to alcohol! North Korea are beer and soju drinkers. Beer is saved with ever meal bar breakfast, very good, but the devil when it comes to keto. They have some soju liquors that are “better” for you and indeed soju itself whilst not keto friendly is better bang for your buck keto wise. If you want to get drunk anyway…….

Written by Gareth

Gareth Johnson is the founder of Young Pioneer Tours, a published writer, and all round entrepreneur. He enjoys street food, and encourage others to get paid to travel the world.

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