The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea – an area renowned for isolation, shrouding itself in mystery – runs a chain of restaurants throughout Asia. Named after North Korea’s capital city, the restaurants, originally conceived to entice travelling South Korean businessmen hungry for Korean classics like kimchi or northern specialties like Pyongyang cold noodles or dangogi, have emerged in areas near the China-North Korean border, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Jakarta, and, most recently, Amsterdam. In the words of Australian journalist Sebastian Strangio, who enjoyed a meal at the Pyongyang restaurant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the restaurant is brimming with curious customers, an overwhelming majority of which is South Korean. At Pyongyang Restaurant, customers can get an intriguing view of the lifestyles of North Koreans allowed to work outside of the borders of the DPRK. Continue reading
Going to North Korea is no easy thing. It’s not somewhere that you can just hop on a plane and go to. Even with North Korea’s recent tourism ventures, not just anybody can go because it’s so pricey. It costs almost $2000 per person for a three night standard package and this doesn’t include all of the other expenses such as the plane ticket to China. But even if you could afford the trip to North Korea, they don’t just accept all tourists. They’re extremely selective and wouldn’t let me in, for instance, because of the work I do here in South Korea for human rights
However, there is a place that you could go to for the North Korean experience. But it’s not in North Korea. It’s in Cambodia, of all places.