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S. Korean foods, kitchenware gaining popularity in N.K.: RFA

All News 10:21 January 12, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korean food products and kitchenware are popular in North Korea despite a strong crackdown on them because of the dissemination of South Korean movies and dramas in the communist country, a U.S. broadcaster, monitored here, reported Thursday.

"Scores or hundreds of boxes of famous South Korean ramen products produced in China are being brought into the North without restrictions as long as their outer packages contain only Chinese letters with no hangeul (Korean alphabet)," Radio Free Asia (RFA) said, citing a Chinese source well-versed in the North.

"Main purchasers of the South Korean products are restaurants in Pyongyang, and such products have never been produced in the North," the sources said.

"It's also not so difficult for most of South Korean-made kitchenware to go through the (North Korean) customs if only their brands are simply removed," the source said.

An owner of a kitchen appliances shop in the Chinese city of Dandong bordering the North also said, "I would sell (to the North) scores of stone pot bowls for 'bibimbap (a traditional Korean dish of rice and vegetables)' at a time, which are being used in South Korean restaurants."

"The scenes of South Korean restaurants and menus shown on South Korean dramas and movies are very valuable material to those who run luxury restaurants in the North," he said.

The popularity of South Korean food products and kitchen appliances has something to do with the widespread circulation of South Korean films and dramas among North Koreans via China, North Korean experts here said.

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