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.”