Monday, December 19, 2011

Kim Jong's strange food and drink cravings

Baked potato rösti with pickled herring and salad
Food Diary (December 19, 2011)
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with toast
Lunch: Baked potato rösti with pickled herring and salad
Dinner: Polenta with peas and caramelized onions, toast
Baking/sweets: cinnamon cookies, chocolates

Yesterday and today we had the first real snowfall for this winter. It wasn't much but at least its a start. There was some snow falls in the last couple of weeks but most of it melted even before hitting the ground. Here's the view from my window.

Today's Favourite Photo
Source: Sparklette
Araguani dark chocolate log cake with mango, passionfruit and chocolate Breton sable

Today’s Favourite Blog
Kim Jong Il was a controversial figure. This blog is about food so I will leave politics and propaganda out of the discussions and talk about food and drinks. 

Kim was supposed to have “strange food and drink cravings”. He was secretive and information comes from different sources, including dissidents who managed to escape. This includes his personal sushi chef, Kenji Fujimoto, who escaped and wrote a book in 2003. According to Fujimoto, Kim liked to eat his sashimi so fresh that he wanted the mouth of the fish to be still moving when he took his first bite. This is possible. I have seen videos of Chinese chefs deep drying live fish and the fish would still be moving after being fried (the head does not get dipped in oil).

Fujimoto travelled the world to bring Kim the greatest delicacies such as fruit from China, Thailand and Malaysia, beer from Czech Republic, pork from Denmark, caviar from Iran and Uzbekistan, and seafood from Japan. For drinks he has fine French wines. He was also a fan of Johnnie Walker Scotch and Hennessy XO cognac.

Kim claims that he invented the bulgogi slider.

Kim insisted that every grain of his rice be inspected to avoid broken grains.

Konstantin Pulikovsky, a Russian emissary who travelled with Kim by train across Russia, reported that the North Korean leader had live lobsters air-lifted to the train each day which he ate with silver chopsticks.

Fujimoto’s strategy for escaping from North Korea is interesting. He showed Kim a Japanese cooking show which featured an uni dish, knowing that Kim would want to have it. Indeed, when Fujimoto was sent to Japan to retrieve the sea urchin, he escaped.

I wonder if Kim read food blogs, or even had his own food blog.

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  1. much goodness in this post! Your rosti looks fabulous as does that cake from Sparklette~
    Kim Jung Il sounds a wee bit eccentric...and I'll state it here first: I'd prefer not to have any of my food moving under its own power ;)

  2. Hi Three cookies, sorry, came late, had internet problems, cant comment.
    pickled herring must be tasty huh.
    Wow! that Kim Jong is really one kind of a guy, like sadist only, ha ha.. torture the fish,that feeds his very own hungry stomach.
    And to ensure every rice grain is not broken? mad man, after the rice got cooked, how do they check huh?
    Glad his chef escape.
    Wishing you and family a very merry Christmas

  3. I am so jealous of you; you get to witness the first snowfall and all I get here is rainfall!:p
    Not that I am complaining as I do like rain, but snow is beautiful and magical!:D
    The pickled herring sounds intriguing to me too:)
    I don't think that Kim Jong's habits are just strange, they are really bizarre!! Can't believe there's someone so picky, I mean, and particular! Yeah, I am definitely not even a pickyeater compared to him. Can't believe about the fresh sashimi and the fish's mouth still moving, give me the shivers now:p

  4. A kim chi slider? Interesting! And it makes the rock star riders where they ask the brown M&Ms to be removed put into perspective :P

  5. The strange thing is that every dictator in the world seems to have had weird and very demanding food cravings. I think they are know they can ask whatever they want and they will have it, regardless the price, the efforts and so on. The poorer the country the better the dictators seem to live. Nothing to do with their sophisticated palate or imagination. If I had lots of money I would send someone today to fetch me (in my jet of course) several kilos of seasonal strawberries for example from Australia. When I think of all the starving people in his country...
    You have a lots of nature around your house. It must be very green in the Summer. We have also had some snow today, but it's quite rare in my city so it will probably be gone before Christmas.

  6. I'm quite jealous of your snow scene, I wish I had that where I lived! Kim Jong is an interesting character when it comes to food, I would have thought he'd have starved to death if he had to have every grain of rice inspected!

  7. Mad man .. in more ways than having wriggly fish. I would like to get my hands on that book ... what's it called?
    Yay! Snow! Boo! Rain storms over here every day. On the positive side, it's nice and cool :D

  8. hmmmm.. yummy! i would love to have all of them.

  9. What a pretty snowy scene! It snowed here for 45 mins last fri but it didn't settle. Wonder when it'll snow again.

  10. Lizzy: thank you. Kim was certainly special.

    Wan: I hope your internet problems gets fixed soon. Life without internet can be bit tricky sometimes

    Christy: its raining but its warm there. Kim was picky alright

    Lorraine: exactly, those rock star riders are falling way behind in comparison

    Sissi: I’ve noticed also that, generally speaking, dictators/rulers in less rich countries are more extravagant.
    Regarding strawberries I am sure you have done research already. It will take almost 24 hours to fly there so if you need strawberries on Friday, probably send your plane tomorrow at the latest. I don’t know when peak season is, I guess you checked already.
    It is quite green here during summer.

    Xinmei: I suppose he has people employed full time inspecting rice:)

    ping: according to wiki, he has written three books: Kim's Chef, Kim's Private Life and The Honorable General Who Loved Nuclear Weapons and Girls. Those books would certainly be interesting reading.
    That’s the good thing about rain – keep the temp down.

    Loveforfood: me too!

    Sylvia: you never know, weathers always unpredictable.

  11. Love the rosti. We got our first maybe permanent snow today as well. Wow what a great article. I guess when you are in that position you can afford such eccentricities. Love how the chef managed to escape. Funny I was looking into Uni recently to be when I saw the price I decided to pass.

  12. Fish head moving after deep drying, that's so cruel to the fish!