If you really hate Kim Jong Un, the North
Korean leader's massively over-the-top eating habits will probably make you dislike him
even more. From imported cheeses and expensive liquors to fine wines and gourmet dinners,
this is what Kim Jong-Un loves to eat and drink. The golden rule with Kim's eating habits is
that if he likes something, he gorges on it to an almost inhuman degree. Take Emmenta
cheese, for example. This hole-riddled Swiss cheese is best known for its sweet aroma,
fruity flavor, and iconic appearance — as well as the complicated process by which it's
made. Kim loves Emmental cheese, having likely picked
up a taste for it during his school days in Switzerland. In fact, he likes it so much
that he had to step out of the public eye in 2014 for health reasons, which, according
to the South Korean newspaper Yonhap, was an affliction of gout.
Yonhap went on to report
that Kim's gout was thought to be brought on by his high-calorie diet, lack of exercise,
and obsession with cheese. "I can ignore the cheese.” “Well, yeah…” “Sorry, I can't do it." North Korea's government has even been known
to send representatives across the world in order to better serve the state's cheese-producing
infrastructure. In 2014, Pyongyang officials visited a French dairy college in an attempt
to secure more fine cheeses for their country and their leader.
Sadly, they were reportedly
turned down. Oh, well. Sushi has been a vital part of life in North
Korea's upper echelons since long before Kim came to power. Kenji Fujimoto was Kim Jong-Il's
long-serving personal sushi chef, and says he was Kim Jong-Un's friend and playmate during
their childhood and teen years. He recalls the younger Kim having an affinity for sushi
made with torro, the fatty part of the tuna, which is the same cut his father loved. Fujimoto
told Mail Online: "I used to make sushi for the General at least
once a week, and Jong-Un always joined the dinner. So I could say Jong-un liked sushi." Fujimoto had arrived in North Korea in 1982
on a one-year contract to teach sushi-making to Pyongyang chefs. He then agreed to stay
on for longer, quickly becoming a close confidant to Kim Jong-Il.
After a few run-ins with Japanese
intelligence agencies, however, Fujimoto eventually fled the country. When Kim Jong-Un took the
country's reigns in 2012, however, Fujimoto was invited back for a visit — which would
imply some kind of genuine good will towards his father's former sushi chef. Either that,
or he really liked his sushi. In a 2013 interview with GQ, Fujimoto announced his intentions
to return to North Korea for good, and in 2017 he opened a sushi restaurant in Pyongyang. In 2015, shortly before his return to North
Korea, Kenji Fujimoto spoke to the Daily Mail about his future leader's eating habits.
his 2012 visit to the country, Fujimoto explained that he had attended a boozy, extravagant
banquet, at which Kim Jong-Un was present, giving some insight into the kinds of delicacies
Kim prefers. Among other things, shark fin soup was on the menu. Fujimoto explained: "I poked a dish of shark fin a couple of times
to gesture I was enjoying it, but I was very tense and could not eat much." Shark fin soup is an east Asian delicacy and
one of the most controversial dishes in the world, largely because its popularity has
pushed some species of shark to the edge of extinction.
The chef revealed he had also
eaten Kobe steak during the banquet too, one of the priciest varieties of beef on the planet.
To qualify as Kobe, the beef must meet a strenuous list of different criteria, based on location,
quality of meat, and weight restrictions. It tends to cost around $150 per pound. It's not just high-quality food that Kim enjoys
gorging on. Import data released in 2017 revealed that, in 2016, North Korea had imported just
over $900,000 worth of Brazilian coffee into the country for its leader and his entourage.
And that figure was almost 12 times greater than that reported in 2015.
"You know, this is, excuse me, a damn fine
cup of coffee." Brazil is generally regarded as being home
to some of the finest coffee in the world. Today, the country is the single largest exporter
of coffee, with most of its stock shipping to Germany, the United States, Italy, Japan,
and Belgium. Brazil's rich soil and hot climate make it an ideal environment in which to grow
coffee, with some of the country's finest coffees coming from its southern regions.
It's not known exactly which brand of coffee Kim likes to import, but some of Brazil's
more expensive coffees tend to run up to $50 per pound. Other brands can cost as much as
$500 per pound. Whatever Kim is drinking, though, one thing is clear: He's drinking
a heck of a lot of it. Kim Jong-Un is no stranger to a drink or two.
In fact, he regularly imports more alcohol for his own personal use than most people
will ever drink in their lives.
In 2019, for example, the Dutch port of Rotterdam seized
90,000 bottles of Russian vodka, which officials believed were headed for Pyongyang. A ship
belonging to a Chinese company called Cosco Shipping was halted in Rotterdam on a tip
from the Russian foreign ministry, and customs agents discovered some 3,000 cases of vodka
inside. The United Nations have previously banned the export of luxury goods to North
Korea, but over the previous two years, the country had attempted to dodge international
sanctions. Allegedly, the vodka was supposed to be enjoyed
by Kim and his military commanders. And although this shipment didn't quite make it to Pyongyang,
it's likely that many more reach the shores of North Korea on a regular basis.
Not just the bubbly of choice for French connoisseurs,
movie stars, and yacht enthusiasts, Champagne is also a favorite amongst planet Earth's
worst despots. Kim Jong-Un, of course, is no exception. During his sit-down with the
Daily Mail, Kenji Fujimoto revealed that Kim's love of fancy booze has probably contributed
to his ever-expanding waistline. Fujimoto told the website: "He drank a lot. His favorite was Cristal,
usually about two bottles [in a sitting]." Produced by the Louis Roederer estate, Cristal
was created in 1876 at the behest of Tsar Alexander the Second of Russia. Described
by the estate as a remarkably balanced and refined champagne, Cristal is known for its
silky texture and fruity aromas. Perhaps more importantly, however, it is also ludicrously
expensive: Bottles regularly sell for well over $100, with some larger formats going
for upwards of $11,000. Considering the name "Cristal" is practically synonymous with a
lavish, extravagant lifestyle, it's not surprising that Kim enjoys it so much.
Under Kim Jong-Il, North Korea allegedly spent
around $1 million every year on Hennessy, a brand of French cognac which costs about
$630 per bottle in North Korea. For what it's worth, that's more than most North Koreans
make in a year. Kim the elder had often been spotted drinking Hennessy at meetings and
summits with world leaders, and it's very likely that the apple hasn't fallen far from
the tree. At the very least, it's not hard to imagine there's still a little of his Kim
Jong-Il's Hennessy stash left lying around. Hennessy is one of the world's finest and
largest cognac producers. Established in 1765, the estate's product has been enjoyed by such
historical figures as King George the Fourth and Tsar Alexander the First, and has been
drunk all across the world.
Exactly how much Hennessy Kim consumes on a daily basis is
unclear, but the amount the country spends on importing it would imply they bring in
thousands of bottles every year. Even accounting for his military attache, his entourage, and
his personal friends, that's a whole lot of cognac. According to Kenji Fujimoto, Kim has a particular
penchant for French wine — and once boasted about drinking 10 bottles of Bordeaux in a
single night. Although this claim did come from a man who insists he started driving
at the age of three, so you can probably take it with a grain of salt. Considering "Bordeaux" could mean any number
of different wines, it's hard to gauge how much money this would cost. A bottle of Bordeaux
could easily sell for no more than a few dollars. Equally, however, it could also fetch thousands
of dollars; it just depends on which wine estate produced it, and when. But let's face
it — Kim probably didn't go for the cheap stuff. As for the "10 bottles in one sitting" claim?
Well, a bottle of red wine tends to contain around five glasses, meaning on that fateful
night, Kim would have drunk around 50 standard-sized drinks.
For what it's worth, drinking only
five glasses every week can knock years off your life. The exact health effects on a human
who manages to drink 50 glasses of wine in one go aren't particularly well-known, however,
largely because it'd be basically impossible to do that without passing out. According to a 2014 report by UK tabloid Metro,
Kim regularly drinks snake wine — a popular drink that includes a dead cobra in the bottle,
which is thought by some to increase the virility of the drinker. Kim's reliance on snake wine
is said to have come from his desire, and failure, to father a second child with his
wife. In the report, a South Korean expat explained: "The elite in the country joke that he is
too big to please his wife and that's why they do not have any other children.
official said that Kim was drinking many bottles of snake wine to help him in the bedroom department." Snake wine is popular all across South China
and Southeast Asia. Its makers usually put one large snake inside each bottle, and throw
in a number of different roots, berries, and herbs for flavor or medicinal effect. The
flavor is said to be earthy, and similar to rice wine with a protein finish, like a fishy
chicken. Occasionally, the snake is drowned in the alcohol during the winemaking process
— leading to the occasional incident in which half-living snakes have leapt out of
the bottle and attacked the drinker. "Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?" As a state leader, Kim often finds himself
attending lavish dinners, banquets, and other similar events. Unsurprisingly, the menus
at such events tend to be chock-full of haute cuisine and gourmet dishes.
Take Kim's Hanoi
summit with Donald Trump in February 2019, for example. The menu was originally set to
include Hanoi style spring rolls, grilled cod "cha ca" and shredded mango salad with
scallops. On that particular occasion, the menu actually
became subjected to something of a last-minute rewrite. In the end, Kim was served shrimp
cocktail with Thousand Island dressing, grilled sirloin with pear kimchi, and chocolate lava
cake with fresh berries and vanilla ice cream for dessert. The exact reason for the change
in menu wasn't given, but it's probably no coincidence that those foods are the exact
type of thing you tend to find on the menu at Trump's own hotels and restaurants. Kim attended another dinner in 2018, this
time with South Korean president Moon Jae-in. In the Peace House that stands in the Korean
demilitarized zone's so-called "truce village" of Panmunjom, Kim and Moon dined on a number
of extravagant dishes.
These included chilled octopus garnished with citrus soy sauce, Korean
beef with vegetables, and parcels of sea cucumber, cod and beef. The dinner was also rife with symbolism, with
ingredients sourced from locations with personal value to the two leaders, surprise miniature
maps of a unified Korea, and frequent acknowledgements of both countries' culinary traditions. Did
it work? Well… "The North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said
the world will soon get a glimpse of what he called a new strategic weapon." Of course, though tensions between North and
South Korea tend to run high, often risking the deaths of tens of thousands of people,
the citizens of each country can rest assured their leaders are eating like kings. Not that
that's necessarily comforting. Check out one of our newest videos right here!
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