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North Korea Plans to Open More Fast Food Restaurants

North Korea Plans to Open More Fast Food Restaurants

North Korean Street view (photo by Creative Commons user Prince Roy)

Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea’s first fast-food restaurant has quickly become popular among local residents and foreigners and plans to open branches in the future, a restaurant manager said Thursday.

North Korea opened the Samtaesong restaurant in its capital, Pyongyang, last month. It is the isolated communist nation’s first fast-food restaurant and offers hamburgers, french fries, waffles and draft beer.

“Our restaurant specializes in serving popular food that’s well-known throughout the world,” manager Ko Jong Ok told broadcaster APTN in Pyongyang.

“It is not so long since its opening, but our restaurant has become popular among our people and foreigners,” she added. “We are planning to set up branches in many places of the city in the future.”

APTN footage showed restaurant staff in orange aprons and white hats preparing french fries and hamburgers. The restaurant appeared to be styled after fast-food joints the world over and several North Koreans were seen ordering and others eating. But more seats were empty than filled.

“I think it is very clean and I think every effort has been made to present the food very well,” George Bottomley, a British visitor, told APTN.

North Korea calls hamburgers “minced beef and bread” in an apparent attempt not to give the impression that its citizens have embraced the American food icon.

And the North’s ever-present propaganda was close at hand. On the wall of the building that houses the restaurant is a banner reading, “Long live the Songun (military-first) revolution ideology.”

Songun is a key policy of authoritarian leader Kim Jong Il that calls for putting priority on the country’s armed forces.