Seems like everyone is into food these days. That includes North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, whose regime apparently finances a string of restaurants stretching from Asia to Europe, according to the New York Times.
At Pyongyang, a 130-location-strong restaurant chain in Southeast Asia and Europe that shares its name with the capital city of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, you can dine on North Korean specialties like cold noodle, kimchi, barbecued cuttlefish and, in certain locations, dog-meat soup.
The menu also offers an unlabeled aphrodisiac product that is, um, “made from bears.”
Most of the restaurant locations are in China and Southeast Asia, although a few stretch through Mongolia, Russia, and the Netherlands. The staff is made up mostly of young North Korean women who have been thoroughly screened for state loyalty. If a staff member defects, the restaurant is closed down and the remaining staff members returned to North Korea.
At this point it’s also worth nothing that the restaurant chain has been linked to a North Korean group dedicated to laundering foreign currency for the state.
And then there's the obvious irony of a restaurant chain backed by a repressive, international-pariah government that can barely manage to feed its own population. Reservations about dog meat soup, “bear product,” indentured waitstaff, cruelty and money-laundering aside, how's the food? Some TripAdvisor reviews are actually pretty decent. Here's one that caught our eye:
"Atmosphere is amazing. Food is great. Service also great. The restaurant has a good concept and nice design."
Which leaves us wondering: Do customers have to take a state loyalty oath too?
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