September 27, 2023

A Meal Fit For A Kim – NK’s Overseas Disco-Diners

In part 3 of his "Afters of Evil" series, Tom Farrell reflects on the morals of eating at DPRK funded restaurants, wondering how they serve the Pyongyang government.

Clumsily levering one sticky mouthful after another into my mouth, chopsticks ineptly aligned between my blanched fingers, two questions come to me. Was it ethically sound to dine at the Pyongyang Restaurant in downtown Phnom Penh? And was there anything worth eating there?

The first question would be answered in the negative by any North Korean defector I have met. Imagine if North Korea had opened up to an army of young backpackers sometime in the 1990s and Cambodia was still a rarely-visited pariah state, ruled over by Pol Pot or one of his cronies. To tuck into Cambodian cuisine in Pyongyang would be to bankroll the Khmer Rouge, pure and simple.