North Korean Gasoline Clams

While in North Korea, we had the opportunity to try a lot of different dishes such as the famous Pyongyang Cold Noodles. However, the most unique meal I had was that of North Korean Gasoline Clams, also known as Clam Bulgogi. They’ve become more well known thanks to appearing in an episode of Crash Landing on You, so if you’ve ever wondered how they were cooked then look no further!

Cooking clams in petrol might not sound like the safest thing to do, but the gasoline all burns off while the clams cook leaving you with a delicious treat.

stone table full of clams ready to be cooked in gasoline.
All the clams arranged on a stone table before being set alight.

What are they?

So, you might be wondering what exactly are Gasoline clams? Are they some type of clam unique to North Korea? Actually, the clams are regular clams that you could find anywhere. The Gasoline in the name describes how the clams are cooked. They are doused in gasoline and set alight. This might not sound the safest way of cooking them, but the end result is delicious!

North Korean Gasoline clams on fire
The Gasoline clams on fire

How to cook North Korean Gasoline Clams

The first step is to arrange all the clams on a suitable surface. Luckily, the resort we were staying at had a small stone table that seemed designed for this exact purpose. The clams were all arranged facing downwards to minimise the risk of gasoline getting inside.

Once they were all arranged, our driver took two bottles of gasoline and squirted some onto the clams which he then set alight. He continued to feed the fire from the bottles for around 5 minutes. Once the fire had finished burning off the gasoline, the clams were ready to eat!

Our North Korean guide adding petrol to the clams.
Our driver, adding more gasoline to the clams.

How did they taste?

Now, I’m not actually a big fan of seafood. I adore fish, but dislike most other things from the sea. Despite that, I absolutely adored these clams. They were incredibly delicious and had absolutely zero taste of gasoline.

We had a delightful time gathered around the table cracking open the clams while avoiding burning our fingers. However, there is a slight risk that the clams are not fully cooked but luckily the North Koreans have a solution for that. After every clam you eat, you take a shot of Soju. Soju is a very strong Korean alcohol. I loved the clams, but am not such a huge fan of the Soju. Together with our guides, we soon made short work of the clams before heading inside the hotel for yet another meal. The clams were just our starter!

Just like in crash landing on you, these clams were devoured very quickly
We quickly devoured the clams!

Would you try the Gasoline clams? What about other North Korean food?

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  1. What the heck! Gas clams definitely doesn’t sound healthy, hahaha! So interesting! I have questions about NK but before I ask them I am going to read your post on your visit to the DPRK!

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