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Published: Friday July 25, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday July 25, 2014 MYT 9:10:15 AM

North Korean recipe website launched

Photos of the dishes shown on the website - but how many North Koreans can actually afford to cook them?

Photos of the dishes shown on the website - but how many North Koreans can actually afford to cook them?

‘Fancy’, healthy dishes featured, but irony of the situation not lost on Netizens.

North Korea has launched a cooking website in a bid to preserve and promote traditional recipes from the “Hermit Kingdom”.

In addition to a comprehensive catalogue of recipes that includes 82 different ways to prepare rice, cooks.org.kp also features cookery books and a restaurant guide.

North Korean cuisine is milder and less pungent than its southern counterpart. Their signature dish is a bowl of buckwheat noodles in a cold, vinegary broth topped with boiled egg, sliced cucumbers and meat.

Mul naengmyun is a popular summer dish as it’s also customary to chill the broth with ice cubes.

Last year, the Korean Food Foundation, a national tourism initiative created to promote Korean cuisine around the world, launched a cooking programme teaching participants how to cook traditional North Korean recipes like Pyongyang onban (chicken in rice-and-soup), chogyetang (chilled chicken soup) and Haeju bibimbap – a bowl of rice topped with mixed vegetables, pork and chicken.

Netizens question who will use the website since only few North Koreans can access it. The website is in Korean, and Google Translate renders the names of these dishes as (clockwise from top left): candied herring; Pyongyang raengmyeon; Sergei (yes, we thought it sounded odd too. Based on the ingredients, we think it is a steamed persimmon and jujube rice cake); and grilled octopus.

But the irony of a North Korean cooking website that features a bounty of beautifully stylized dishes in generous portions hasn’t been lost on the Internet, which is calling out the scheme.

“North Korea taunts ‘housewives’ with a cooking website they can’t afford”, reads the headline on Globalpost.com.

North Korean workers on duty at a mushroom factory in Hamheung, northeastern North Korea, June 26, 2014. – EPA

In a preface to Northkoreatech.org’s report, The Guardian writes: “From kimchi to yakbap, Korean Dishes offers hundreds of recipes. But with few North Koreans able to access the website, and millions lacking the food for a healthy diet, who will use it?”

It’s been estimated that 80% of households in North Korea lack essential items for a healthy diet, while millions of children are at risk of malnutrition, says Globalpost. – AFP Relaxnews

Tags / Keywords: North Korean cuisine, cooking website

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