September 30, 2023
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In a Jeju diner, a North Korean escapee serves up memories of home

Heo Yeong-hui went from a DPRK prison to owning her own restaurant, seeking to connect the Koreas through food and song

Heo Yeong-hui was a teacher in North Korea’s borderlands when the authorities came knocking on her door, imprisoning her for resisting commands to spy on her own student.

But a decade later, after fleeing the country and undergoing a difficult adjustment to life in South Korea, Heo has turned the tables on her past and now serves her hometown food at her own restaurant on Jeju Island, aiming to bridge the gap between the two Koreas one dish at a time.