Tuesday, June 17, 2008

North Korean Restaurants Growing in Popularity Throughout Asia

North Korean restaurants are growing in popularity throughout Asia. Foreigners, mostly South Koreans, are frequenting these locales to get a glimpse of the “reclusive country, while unable to visit there physically.”

The people who work in these restaurants are all North Korean women, chosen carefully by the regime. They are not only the most beautiful, but also the top graduates at the universities of Pyongyang. They are strictly supervised during their time abroad, and any attempt to escape means deportation for all the employees of the restaurant.

Economically, North Korea is benefitting greatly from the enterprise. “Each overseas North Korean restaurant is said to be allotted a revenue quota to fill, ranging from US$100,000 to $300,000 a year to send to Pyongyang, which makes the total revenue estimation some tens of millions of dollars.” However, North Korean participation in such capitalistic dealings strikes many as ironic.

The following articles describe the situation further.

Asia/ N. Koreans try hand at fine dining

Chillin' as a North Korean Karaoke Bar

Here is a link to this one guy’s blog who was travelling through Thailand and visited a North Korean restaurant on a friend’s recommendation. The video clip on the bottom is interesting.

Finally, this video is actually about North Korea refugees, but they interview North Korean women working at one of these restaurants for effect and contrast. The interview is the first 1.45 sec of this video. Continue watching if you want to learn more about the refugees. It’s a pretty good video overall.

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