Perhaps my title conjures up illusions of grandeur and fine dining in Sinuiju. Perhaps the less ostentatious title ‘eating in Sinuiju’ might have been more appropriate.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, Sinuiju has only been open to western tourists for less than a year though Chinese day-trippers have been visiting for much longer. Perhaps this explains why, apart from breakfast which was provided at our hotel, everyone – day-trippers and overnight tourists (two of us!) ate in what doubles as the offices of the official guides, tourist restaurants and a shop.

The facility, if I may call it that, is situated right next to the customs and immigration compound and the Yalu River and is quite modern. While there is a larger upstairs restaurant we ate in a small private room downstairs.

For dinner (and indeed lunch the following day) the fare was pretty much the same as at other standard restaurants we ate at. There was a reasonable quantity of food and it was edible. How generous I am, in my praise! The difference in Sinuiju was that our two guides joined us for dinner and post dinner entertainment was karaoke. It seems quite the norm in North Korea that wait staff (as far as I saw, always female) doubled as karaoke singers so our waitress sang a few songs and then our guides took over. We resisted attempts to have us join in – in any event they didn’t have any English music (thank heavens!).

At lunch time the following day we ate by ourselves and were then taken upstairs to the main restaurant where a group of Chinese day-trippers had just eaten and were now enjoying some karaoke. This session was rather more raucous than others we encountered and flowers could be, and were, bought for the singers. Once given to the singers the flowers were collected by the flower sellers and returned to the table at the back of the room for resale.

Having listened to enough karaoke, which didn’t take long, we made our way downstairs to the shop which sold the usual assortment of North Korean souvenirs, drinks and snacks in addition to cheap merchandise brought in from China, metres away across the Yalu River.


The sight of one of the shoppers here (my last picture) brought home the fact that we were close to ‘civilisation’, if this fashionable attire could be associated with that.

Before we could cross the border to this ‘civilisation’ there were a few more things we had to see. Our next stop was the Sinuiju Art Gallery. We hadn’t been to a North Korean Art Gallery yet so were intrigued, as I am sure you are, as to what that might entail.

This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries based on my trip to Sinuiju, North Korea. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Sinuiju Art Gallery – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – In North Korea – On the Border with China.

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