by VR Sreeraman on  August 29, 2009 at 1:01 PM Lifestyle News
 Burger Business Booming in North Korea
Business is booming at North Korea's first fast food restaurant, which specialises in burgers, chips and other fried delights, official media in the communist state reported Friday.

The Samtaesong restaurant in the capital Pyongyang, which also serves waffles and crispy fried chicken, "is crowded with Korean and foreign customers", the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The venture opened in June in cooperation with a Singaporean firm, Choson Sinbo, a Japan-based newspaper for ethnic North Koreans, reported earlier.

"It instantly cooks and serves dishes to the customers as they demand," KCNA reported approvingly.

The hardline regime has long restricted or banned what it sees as Western or "US imperialist influences" on its people.

But in March Choson Sinbo reported that the North had also opened its first "authentic" Italian restaurant on the orders of leader Kim Jong-Il, who is believed to have a taste for some Western cuisine.

The eatery, which opened in December in Pyongyang, has reportedly proved to be a major hit.

In 2004, the BBC ran an interview with an Italian chef who had taught pizza-making skills to three North Korean army officers so they could cook for the country's leader.

Outside the showpiece capital the country suffers severe food shortages.

A study by the United Nations' World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation last year estimated nearly nine million North Koreans -- more than a third of the country's 24 million people -- require food aid.

Source: AFP

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