North Koreans Eat Pizza—After 10 Years' Wait

Kim Jong-Il wanted perfect recipe before authorizing restaurant
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2009 7:50 AM CDT
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il inspects the firing exercise as he inspects Unit 1811 under the Korean People's Army artillery command at an undisclosed location, North Korea.    (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service)
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(Newser) – Millions of North Koreans suffer from undernourishment, but in Pyongyang, the ruling elite have a new dining option: the country's first pizzeria. It opened last December, more than a decade after Kim Jong-Il, reportedly a serious gourmand, brought a stable of Italian pizza chefs to teach army officers how to make the dish—down to how far apart to space olives on the pie, reports the Guardian.

Last year, he sent chefs to study pizza-making in Naples and Rome; finally satisfied, Kim authorized the restaurant, which uses cheese, butter, and flour flown in from Italy. "General Kim Jong-Il said that the people should be allowed access to the world's famous dishes," the restaurant's manager told a newspaper. The dictator has indulged other culinary yens in the past: He once sent a chef to Denmark to fetch bacon and to Iran for caviar.