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http://english.nkradio.org/link/guests-in-north-korean-restaurants-in-china-ordering-whatever-kim-jong-il-had
2011/08/17  Choi Oh-nam
Guests in North Korean Restaurants in China Ordering Whatever Kim Jong-il had

- Security agents getting involved with joke which started after Kim Jong-il's visits
- Security agents interest has lessened the frequency of the request
- NK restaurants: not the best food but the best looking waitresses

Recently, North Korean restaurants operating in China have been getting requests by Chinese Koreans for the haute cuisine ordered by Kim Jong-il on his visits to the country.

In many cases, Chinese Koreans seek out North Korean restaurants in order to be greeted and served by the attractive female staff the restaurants usually hire. But of late an uptick in visitors has been more related to a curiosity to experience proximity to the luxurious lifestyle of Kim Jong-il, who has visited the country on three occasions during this and last year.

The manager of a North Korean restaurant in China told Open Radio on July 26th that customers have been flustering their staff since the North Korean leader's visits by requesting in Chinese "whatever Kim Jong-il had".

"At first," said the manager, "when our waitresses heard the expression "whatever Kim Jong-il had" they'd simply ignore them and pretend they hadn't heard. The sound of his name being mentioned is enough to unnerve people and also its obviously out of order to request something not on the menu."

As the Chinese customers apparent fooling around grew more regular the North Korean security agents charged with overseeing the restaurants, believing the phenomenon not merely to be a passing event, ordered restaurants to provide detailed reports of the incidents, believing that they could have been deliberately instigated by South Koreans.

"Word about this has got around," said the manager, "and the requests seem to have petered out. I can't be sure its because of the efforts of the security agents but who knows whether they'll have the ligaments in their legs cut or even be murdered. Chinese gangsters are among the customers so what can they do. Chinese communist Party officials don't want any trouble in the North Korean run restaurants."

"There's not much to eat in these North Korean restaurants and they're expensive so not a lot of Chinese come. But those wealthier than average like to come and check out the North Korean female staff," finished the manager, describing the predicament of those responsible for overseeing such restaurants.

In his book, I was Kim Jong-il's Chef, Japanese chef Kenji Fujimoto described Kim Jong-il's love of shark fin and how in order to satisfy his boss's appetite and tastes, food was imported from all over the world.

Translated by Danny Lee