I had possibly one of the most eclectic nights out I have ever had last night. It was completely random, totally enjoyable and incredibly cheap and it truly was a night to remember. So how did it happen ? I went straight home from work to find my wife and child missing in action and and SMS soon confirmed they were over at Mum’s place. That left me in a strange place as I was showered and in my boxers sitting on the sofa with Karma curled up on my feet and a cold beer in my hand YET I did not feel like cooking and after all…it was Friday night ! A quick phone call to Paul and Chris and it was decided that we would head to the legendary and mystical Pyongyang restaurant on Monivong. An authentic North Korean restaurant, I have had several friends tell me about this place in hushed tones. Usually the tales center around the female staff who are apparently quite a sight and I was soon to find out that this was spot on.
When you pull up to Pyongyang there are the prerequisite thick set security goons sitting out on the kerb watching everyone come in. The front of the restaurant has curtains drawn across the long front window so you are left wondering what the hell to expect as you walk down the well lit side alley to the main entrance. As you get to the door it magically opens and there, in full 1950s polka-dot regalia including ribbons in the hair, are two stunning young North Korean women. “HERROOOOO and WELCOME. NICE TO SEE YOU!!” Er….struth . Popping the eyeballs and tongue back in the head we enter a well lit and spotlessly crean..er…clean….restaurant with a stage at the front( more on that in a minute) and a bar at the back. We are shown to a table,. given menus and our waitress skips off to get beer.
As we peruse the photo menu the first thing I notice is a lot of dog. Dog stew. Dog soup. Dog Skewers. EEEEEIIIUUWWWW ! No thanks. Luckily there is also all sorts of other fare including hotpots,steamed dishes,soups,grills and the famous kim chee. We were all pretty hungry so an ordering frenzy soon erupts and at one point Chris wanted to order the Beef “Inmost” Hot Plate and the exchange between us and our waitress trying to figure out if it was stomach/innards or “flesh” was pythonesque to say the least. Clearly our waitress spoke 0 Engrish but hey….that dress ! A few minutes later the dishes started arriving and as the first taste hit the mouth I knew we were in for something special. What followed from the lads was a lot of groaning and sighing. The food was…in essence…..bloody amazing. We steered clear of grilled dished and went for a pork and beef dishes that had been braised first before being tossed on their plates ( not thrown ….mixed ! ) with some wonderfully spicy vegetables. We had fried dumplings ( insane ) and a soup whose beef content was so incredibly soft it was like my mum’s oxtail soup. Some potato and corn fritters rounded out the meal nicely and we were soon sitting back like the fox that ate the chicken when…….
After the show we were all exhausted. The food had been amazing and the show..well….I can highly recommend it and you have to go see it to believe it. The bill with several long necks ? $ 16 each. After dinner ( it is now only 8pm ) we decided a spa and sauna was in order so we headed over to Rock and it’s awesome Roman Spa and Sauna. For all you weary male Phnom Penh-ites that have not had the privilege- do it. $6 gets you a locker, silk togs, fresh white towels, flip flops and unlimited time in the health center which consists of super hot Swedish sauna, a wet steam room and two huge square spas set in a faux Roman grotto- one is sizzling and the one next to it is FEEEZING. As you plunge from one to the next ( with beer in hand of course ! ) your body alternatively goes into hot pleasure and then cold pain . Throw in a session in the steam or sauna and you walk out of the joint feeling like you have died and gone to heaven. We decided to extend the experienc to full body massages and were shown to a large,very stylish and quiet room with about 15 mattresses all curtained off from one another. The next hour yielded a somewhat average and at times painful massage but the boys were in good spirits so the laughs made up for it. Cost ? $9.
It was now 11pm and dining, spa and massage out of the way there was but one thing left to do before retiring to bed. We piled into Chris’ truck and headed for the Caltex on Monivong where a round of cold beers was procured out of the fridge at $1.50 a pop.As we chugged them down I could not marvel at the night. I felt like we had been on a rambling adventure but amazingly, this all occurred within 2km of my front door ! Gotta LOVE living in Cambodia and this will be the first session of possibly a regular event. Total cost for an awesome feed with cold beers and mesmerizing floor show, a relaxing spa and massage and final cleansing nightcap including all tips ? About $35.
Viva North Korea !