Pyongyang: North Korea's chain of restaurants


18 Responses to “Pyongyang: North Korea's chain of restaurants”

  1. jjasper says:

    I really have to wonder how much of the country there would be left if everyone who could defect was just let go.

  2. Halloween Jack says:

    My horror at the ongoing clusterfreak that is NK and subsequently not really wanting to support the regime in any way would probably be overcome by curiosity, if I were to ever stumble across one of these. What does NK cuisine consist of? The same type of stuff that you can find at any Korean restaurant, or things like grass souffle?

  3. Chupacabara says:

    “any attempts at flight result in the immediate repatriation of the entire staff.”

    Wow.. if only we could do that with McDonalds employees…

  4. jordan says:

    I went to the one in Phnom Penh in early 2004. Very surreal- waitresses would suddenly cease serving to go onstage and play musical instruments, sing, or dance. I don’t actually remember the food itself, though: too much else to take in.

    Compared to other eateries I went to in the city, it seemed rather upscale and fancy; also, relatively expensive for Phnom Penh. I remember the bathrooms looking very Western, with wide stalls and multiple sinks: a layout like you’d see in an Olive Garden or something.

    And, yes, there were pictures of Kim Jong Il on the wall, but the decor was more understated than I expected.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I went to one in Beijing. Very weird atmosphere. Almost seemed like a museum. The food was completely forgettable.

  6. Jesse in Japan says:

    The restaurant business? That’s the best the North Koreans could come up with for a way of making hard cash overseas? The Chinese are at least smart enough to send hookers.

    (I kid, I kid. I know the Chinese hookers aren’t sent by the government).

  7. J France says:

    I can only snark about the need for Kim Jong Il to put the effort, or money, into feeding his own people. I’m sure any profits from this go mainly into the military, which is upheld to silliest degree.

    Got to wonder how much cash these things bring in.

  8. Anonymous says:

    These places should be avoided. It’s interesting to go, but you’re giving money to a murderous tyrant. Instead lend some money to North Korean defectors; it will leave you with a better taste in your mouth.

  9. humanresource says:

    I always wondered what pure crazy tastes like

  10. tomorrowboy says:

    I ate in the one in Vientiane in Laos. I didn’t want to support North Korea, but eventually my curiosity got the better of me. (Plus it only cost a few dollars.)
    No floor show, and I had the wierdest Bibimbap I’d ever had (and I lived in South Korea for over a year). So yeah, would not recommend.

  11. kc0bbq says:

    It would be hard to pass one of the restaurants by, that’s for sure. It’s hard to admit that my principles can be bought out for the price of a DPRK floor show, but it’s hard to deny the hope that something suitably insane would happen.

    Kind of like if there were a Charles Manson restaurant.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I think the one on the left is Sonmi-451!

  13. Lucifer says:

    mmm tree bark sandwich…

  14. Anonymous says:

    So, is this about EARNING hard currency or about passing “supernotes”*. I’m guessing the latter is as important as the former.

    *NK government printed counterfeit.

  15. DEL says:

    The inability to vote with one’s wallet is startling: curiosity is enough to overcome supporting one of the most anti-human governments on Earth??

    Acts like(visiting these restaurant, purchasing products from other bad actors) these contribute to tobacco companies fleecing of us, Wall Street collapse, and other awful thing.

    Irrational purchasing=you are basically murdering people with each purchase.

  16. Anonymous says:

    If only Cuba would copy this plan, here in the US. Yum, steak palomillo, ropa vieja, cafe con leche….

  17. Rukasu says:

    I drove by the one in Siem Reap, Cambodia…really wish I had gone, but then again I guess my money would have been going straight to the DPRK govt…so maybe not

  18. snej says:

    To expand on Anon #3′s cryptic comment: This is eerily similar to the chain of clone-run fast-food restaurants in the dystopian future Korea in two chapters of David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas. In fact, I wonder if Mitchell knew about this and was inspired by it?

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