Cold War Cuisine's Incongruous Outpost

Can a solid North Korean restaurant, formerly within sprinting distance of the communist country's embassy in Beijing, make it in the bright lights and skyscrapers of the city's flashy commercial center? Until recently, the Silver Bank Pyongyang Restaurant was the place to go for a fusty, Cold War culinary experience. With a menu alternating between delicacies like abalone, and homespun favorites like hand-ground porridge, located in a wood-paneled, metal-tabled dining hall and served by smiling North Korean waitresses, it had all the charm of the pleasantly incongruous. But last month, the restaurant decided to move a few kilometers to the southeast to the Central Business District, and it is now perched on the second floor of a building called the China Garments Mansion. "We're going for a more high-class experience," said the restaurant's Chinese translator.

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