Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pyongyang People's Liberation Trattoria No. 1 now open

There are reports that North Korea has opened its first "authentic" Italian restaurant. No official word yet, but I'm guessing the most popular dish is an order of noodle (rim shot). 

Like all things in North Korea, Dear Leader Kim Jong-il had his hand in its development. After enjoying good Italian cuisine himself, he reportedly decided "that the people should also be allowed access to the world's famous dishes." 

Interestingly, when KJI decided that the cooks had committed "errors" in their preparations, instead of the gulag he sent them to Napoli for further study. Maybe he was expecting (hoping?) they'd get knifed or shot

I'd like to see pictures of this eatery, and I'm curious whether it would be a ristorante, trattoria, or osteria. For now, I imagine it in my head looking like La Cantina in downtown Seoul, a decades-old standby across the street from the Lotte Hotel. 

I used to go there a lot (my Italophone ex-fiancée was a staunch Italophile and that place was always reasonably affordable, and their spaghetti vongole was decent enough), and I always assumed the interior was a mediocre Seoul version of what a real Italian restaurant might look like. That is, until I went to Italy and saw loads of restaurants that made me say out loud, "Holy crap! This place looks just like La Cantina!" Well, except for La Cantina being in a basement and having an all-Korean wait staff. 

Of course, any mention of an Italian restaurant in Korea or Japan reminds me of the Italian restaurant scene from "Tampopo," a brilliant film from 1985 that gives almost as much insight into Korea's postwar transitional society as it does Japan's: 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.