At best, theirs is a fractious relationship. But it seems the two Koreas have been united by one thing: a love of chocolate.
A marshmallow chocolate pie has become so popular in North Korea that people are buying it for up to a day’s pay on the black market after it has been smuggled out of South Korea. The average North Korean reportedly makes between $100 (R1 100) and $200 a month.
But they are paying up to $10 for a Choco Pie – a biscuit containing two disc-shaped, chocolate-covered cakes, filled with marshmallow cream. In South Korea, where the treats are manufactured, they cost less than 50 US cents, CNN reports.
It is believed the North was introduced to the cake via the Kaesong industrial park, where 100 southern factory owners employ about 50 000 North Koreans. They were given soup and snacks to sustain them through the day – and received the Choco Pies.
The companies were banned from paying their northern employees cash bonuses and instead rewarded them with food, including the cakes. But it became obvious that not all the workers were eating the treats, with many taking them home.
A factory owner, who gave his workers Choco Pies and Coca-Cola, said they were “ecstatic at the taste”. He added: “It was clear the workers had got some idea of capitalism and it wasn’t all bad.’
In North Korea, the black market for capitalist products is illegal, but thriving. – Daily Mail