[THE INVESTOR] The Investor recently came across some rare North Korean items including snacks and cigarettes. These products, which Pyeongyang citizens buy at department stores, are all missing price tags, so it’s hard to know the exact cost. But we can guess their value as defectors tell us most are from department stores.
Branding, or the lack thereof, is also evident. Probably evidence of a socialist economy, pseudo as it is. Packaging is also minimal, which actually may be something South Korean companies can take a page from.
The following are some of the snacks The Investor obtained.
North Korea's Egg Snacks
This seems to be a copycat of a South Korean snack launched by Haitai Confectionery in 1980. It’s round and yellowish -- looking precisely like an egg. Haitai called it Gae-ran -- egg in Korean -- Snack, while North Korea calls it Dak-al Snack. Dak-al also means egg, but it’s in pure Korean, while Gae-ran is based on Chinese characters.
South Korea's Egg Snacks by Haitai Confectionary
Candy. It’s an eponymous snack with no other particular name. It’s manufactured by Overseas Food Factory, but it’s unclear whether there was a specific reason for the name -- a large amount could be exported targeting foreigners. However, given the packaging, it’s a bit debatable whether this can be compatible with foreign customers.
This is similar to Candy, but it at least informs the consumer what flavor it is. Produced by Pyeongyang Goksan Factory, its brand name seems to be Galaxy.
This is an assorted box of cookies as the name suggests. It weighs about a kilo, and provides 3,809 kilocalories. It is made by Kumsung Food Factory in Pyeongyang.
Blueberry Sweet Jelly
This product is made by Ryongbong Food Factory. Its Korean name, Dulzuk Danmuk was unheard of in the South, so a North Korean language dictionary had to be consulted.
Some snacks were attained by Chinese tourists or European residents in Pyeongyang.
Taedonggang Beer became popular here ever since a reporter from The Economist said it was superior to all South Korean beers. For those residing in China, Taedonggang Beer can be purchased at North Korean restaurants. Some South Korean bars also offer a beer named Taedonggang Beer, although it’s not the real McCoy.
And surprisingly North Korea has quite a big list of beer brands. Below are some of them.
Other alcohol available from North Korea are bear bone and tiger bone liquor and jinseng snake wine. The labels note that they can be used as pain killers.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)