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Visitor to North Korea Describes ‘the Worst Food I’ve Ever Had in My Life’

Visitor to North Korea Describes ‘the Worst Food I’ve Ever Had in My Life’


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‘Half the time you had no idea what you were eating, and they bring out a ton of it’

‘Nothing tasted fresh, because it probably wasn’t.’

During a recent trip to North Korea — a rare and expensive visit for any outsider — a professional golfer named Elliot managed to take more than 100 photos of the mysterious country, which he shared on Reddit.

Elliot also participated in a lengthy and fascinating AMA (Ask Me Anything) during which he answered dozens of questions about the hermit kingdom. One Redditor who asked him to describe any meals that stood out got a thoughtful reply about the cuisine made available to visitors:

“We had raw fish in Wonsan. As in, so raw, the fish was moving on the plate. Scared the hell out of a guy at our table as he went to dig in he almost fell off his chair and thought he'd seen a ghost. But, my goodness I am glad you mentioned the food.

“It was so bad, I can't describe it. Actually, I can. In the Vice documentary on North Korea, the guy describes it as ‘matter.’ This is the best description. It was the worst food I've ever had in my life. Everyone felt sick from the food at some point during the trip — half the time you had no idea what you were eating, and they bring out a ton of it.

“Huge selections come out on plates [but] mostly it was cold and nothing tasted fresh. Because it probably wasn't.

“Some food was OK. We had pizza in the only pizza restaurant in North Korea, where they sent the chefs to Italy to learn how to make them. It was OK. Kimchi was with every meal, [and] so was tofu. We had sushi one day which was odd. We had Korean barbecue which was good, that was on my birthday. Bibimbap we had twice which was good, too. I passed on the dog meat soup. ‘French fries’ were mangled pieces of potato, as in, bigger than your hand — a giant piece of crisp potato. Took us a while to figure that out. We drank a lot of soju.

“The waitresses flounder around the table watching you eat, as you get even close to finishing a plate of food — it's replenished instantly. The food portions for foreigners are so insane it's hard not to believe it's a way to show it off, at the very least... going above and beyond for the guest.”


Secret State A journey into the heart of North Korea

North Korea. Constantly ready for war. Holding a nuclear sword over the US and its allies, threatening to lash out at any time.

Life here is a mystery to most of the world.

CNN’s Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Justin Robertson visited North Korea in June and spent 15 days there. Despite being constantly under the watchful eye of government minders, they got an unprecedented level of access to this secretive state, beyond the bright lights of Pyongyang, and into the North Korean hinterland.

They spoke to people from all walks of life, learning more about what makes this country tick, the reason for its deep hatred of the US, and just why people who live under an authoritarian regime claim to adore the Kim family.

This is Ripley’s account of their journey into the heart of the hermit nation.


Secret State A journey into the heart of North Korea

North Korea. Constantly ready for war. Holding a nuclear sword over the US and its allies, threatening to lash out at any time.

Life here is a mystery to most of the world.

CNN’s Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Justin Robertson visited North Korea in June and spent 15 days there. Despite being constantly under the watchful eye of government minders, they got an unprecedented level of access to this secretive state, beyond the bright lights of Pyongyang, and into the North Korean hinterland.

They spoke to people from all walks of life, learning more about what makes this country tick, the reason for its deep hatred of the US, and just why people who live under an authoritarian regime claim to adore the Kim family.

This is Ripley’s account of their journey into the heart of the hermit nation.


Secret State A journey into the heart of North Korea

North Korea. Constantly ready for war. Holding a nuclear sword over the US and its allies, threatening to lash out at any time.

Life here is a mystery to most of the world.

CNN’s Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Justin Robertson visited North Korea in June and spent 15 days there. Despite being constantly under the watchful eye of government minders, they got an unprecedented level of access to this secretive state, beyond the bright lights of Pyongyang, and into the North Korean hinterland.

They spoke to people from all walks of life, learning more about what makes this country tick, the reason for its deep hatred of the US, and just why people who live under an authoritarian regime claim to adore the Kim family.

This is Ripley’s account of their journey into the heart of the hermit nation.


Secret State A journey into the heart of North Korea

North Korea. Constantly ready for war. Holding a nuclear sword over the US and its allies, threatening to lash out at any time.

Life here is a mystery to most of the world.

CNN’s Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Justin Robertson visited North Korea in June and spent 15 days there. Despite being constantly under the watchful eye of government minders, they got an unprecedented level of access to this secretive state, beyond the bright lights of Pyongyang, and into the North Korean hinterland.

They spoke to people from all walks of life, learning more about what makes this country tick, the reason for its deep hatred of the US, and just why people who live under an authoritarian regime claim to adore the Kim family.

This is Ripley’s account of their journey into the heart of the hermit nation.


Secret State A journey into the heart of North Korea

North Korea. Constantly ready for war. Holding a nuclear sword over the US and its allies, threatening to lash out at any time.

Life here is a mystery to most of the world.

CNN’s Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Justin Robertson visited North Korea in June and spent 15 days there. Despite being constantly under the watchful eye of government minders, they got an unprecedented level of access to this secretive state, beyond the bright lights of Pyongyang, and into the North Korean hinterland.

They spoke to people from all walks of life, learning more about what makes this country tick, the reason for its deep hatred of the US, and just why people who live under an authoritarian regime claim to adore the Kim family.

This is Ripley’s account of their journey into the heart of the hermit nation.


Secret State A journey into the heart of North Korea

North Korea. Constantly ready for war. Holding a nuclear sword over the US and its allies, threatening to lash out at any time.

Life here is a mystery to most of the world.

CNN’s Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Justin Robertson visited North Korea in June and spent 15 days there. Despite being constantly under the watchful eye of government minders, they got an unprecedented level of access to this secretive state, beyond the bright lights of Pyongyang, and into the North Korean hinterland.

They spoke to people from all walks of life, learning more about what makes this country tick, the reason for its deep hatred of the US, and just why people who live under an authoritarian regime claim to adore the Kim family.

This is Ripley’s account of their journey into the heart of the hermit nation.


Secret State A journey into the heart of North Korea

North Korea. Constantly ready for war. Holding a nuclear sword over the US and its allies, threatening to lash out at any time.

Life here is a mystery to most of the world.

CNN’s Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Justin Robertson visited North Korea in June and spent 15 days there. Despite being constantly under the watchful eye of government minders, they got an unprecedented level of access to this secretive state, beyond the bright lights of Pyongyang, and into the North Korean hinterland.

They spoke to people from all walks of life, learning more about what makes this country tick, the reason for its deep hatred of the US, and just why people who live under an authoritarian regime claim to adore the Kim family.

This is Ripley’s account of their journey into the heart of the hermit nation.


Secret State A journey into the heart of North Korea

North Korea. Constantly ready for war. Holding a nuclear sword over the US and its allies, threatening to lash out at any time.

Life here is a mystery to most of the world.

CNN’s Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Justin Robertson visited North Korea in June and spent 15 days there. Despite being constantly under the watchful eye of government minders, they got an unprecedented level of access to this secretive state, beyond the bright lights of Pyongyang, and into the North Korean hinterland.

They spoke to people from all walks of life, learning more about what makes this country tick, the reason for its deep hatred of the US, and just why people who live under an authoritarian regime claim to adore the Kim family.

This is Ripley’s account of their journey into the heart of the hermit nation.


Secret State A journey into the heart of North Korea

North Korea. Constantly ready for war. Holding a nuclear sword over the US and its allies, threatening to lash out at any time.

Life here is a mystery to most of the world.

CNN’s Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Justin Robertson visited North Korea in June and spent 15 days there. Despite being constantly under the watchful eye of government minders, they got an unprecedented level of access to this secretive state, beyond the bright lights of Pyongyang, and into the North Korean hinterland.

They spoke to people from all walks of life, learning more about what makes this country tick, the reason for its deep hatred of the US, and just why people who live under an authoritarian regime claim to adore the Kim family.

This is Ripley’s account of their journey into the heart of the hermit nation.


Secret State A journey into the heart of North Korea

North Korea. Constantly ready for war. Holding a nuclear sword over the US and its allies, threatening to lash out at any time.

Life here is a mystery to most of the world.

CNN’s Will Ripley, Tim Schwarz and Justin Robertson visited North Korea in June and spent 15 days there. Despite being constantly under the watchful eye of government minders, they got an unprecedented level of access to this secretive state, beyond the bright lights of Pyongyang, and into the North Korean hinterland.

They spoke to people from all walks of life, learning more about what makes this country tick, the reason for its deep hatred of the US, and just why people who live under an authoritarian regime claim to adore the Kim family.

This is Ripley’s account of their journey into the heart of the hermit nation.



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