Kim Jong Un is interested in expanding his restaurant chain to Scotland. North Korea’s dictator already has his restaurant branch across Asia going by the name of Pyongyang. The state-backed Pyongyang restaurants are recognized for being a luxurious and lavish experience. While customers dine, they are entertained by traditional Korean music and dance.
In the 1990s, Kim Jong Un opened his first restaurant near the China border. The ruler expanded his eating and entertainment establishment in Amsterdam in 2012. However, it was closed down and reopened under the name of Haedanghwa. With Kim Jong Un establishing a restaurant in Scotland, he may be able to gain more support for North Korea.
CNBC reports Jim Hoare, a Korea expert at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, visited one of the restaurants in Asia. Hoare said the core intention of Kim Jong Un’s restaurants is to raise money and up the profile of the regime abroad.
Jim Hoare is aware that Kim Jong Un has a love of Swiss cheese and whisky. However, Hoare offers his explanation as to why he is especially surprised of the dictator’s choice of Scotland for a new Pyongyang restaurant location.
“Scottish food is very conservative and the idea of them taking to Korean food…I can’t think it is the obvious place to go. This type of restaurant is not aimed at the Korean community but aimed at rich foreigners who might want to spend money, and may be more suited to London.”
The Daily Mail’s coverage of this story claims there are reports that Kim Jong Un is particularly enthusiastic on opening the restaurant in Scotland due to his love of whisky and its popularity among the communist ruling elite.
Michael Madden, an editor at North Korea Leadership Watch, said Kim Jong Un and North Korea are anxious to build diplomatic ties with European countries, especially those that have left-wing leanings.
Madden offers his explanation.
“It would not surprise me at all if they opted to open a restaurant in Scotland. The Scottish independence referendum catapulted Scotland into the North Korean’s elite’s thoughts. Despite voting no, they’d consider left-leaning Scotland to be more suitable than England, plus North Koreans love whisky. Tourists in North Korea are told to tip people in Scotch instead of the currency.”
Due to North Korea’s reputation, the country has been closed to the outside world. For example, last year, U.S. officials blamed Kim Jong Un and his regime for hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment. In addition, the United Nations accused Kim Jong Un and his administration for severe human rights abuses.
The restaurant will continue serving North Korean delicacies like pine-nut gruel and dog meat soup. Additionally, the Pyongyang restaurants are partnered with a secretive branch of the North Korean government known as Office 39. This covert division uses the restaurants to raise overseas cash, legally. However, reports are that Kim Jong Un pockets the money made by his restaurants to support his lifestyle.
Though millions of North Koreans are malnourished, Kim Jong Un imports large quantities of whiskey and Swiss cheese to satisfy his cravings. Establishing a branch of his restaurants in Scotland will make it easier for Kim Jong Un to get as much Swiss cheese and Scotch as he desires.
[Image courtesy of Mirror]