This North Korean Hamburger Looks Pretty Damn Gross

Illustration for article titled This North Korean Hamburger Looks Pretty Damn Gross

I love burgers. Perhaps you love burgers. When I go to Los Angeles for E3, the first thing I do? Go to In-N-Out and eat burgers. When I go to the Tokyo Game Show? The first thing I used to do was go to Pakutch and eat burger (that is, until it sadly closed).


But if I ever go to a game show in North Korea?

A Japanese television program showed off the various North Korea food, including what you get when ordering a burger.

It doesn't actually look like much of a burger, but salami, a bit of pickles and a tiny sliver of egg. It's more bread than anything.

This week, Japan played North Korea in soccer. The stadium was packed with North Korean troops sitting in the spectator seats, and the crowd, reported ABC News, was not allowed to cheer for Japan. Samurai Blue ultimately lost to North Korea.

For the match, Pyongyang gave 200 Japanese citizens visas to attend the game, allowing a rare look into the closed country. Thus, Japanese television and the internet gets photos of horrible-looking food.

Burgers are still relatively new to North Korea, with the country opening a fast food restaurant that serves up "minced meat and bread" burgers, which cost around US$2. That's far more than the average citizen can afford.


And while the burger featured on Japanese television looked down right nasty, blogger Lindsay Fincher found a better-looking hamburger, offering this description: "The burger was actually quite decent, for a burger in Pyongyang. The only drawback was the horrible scent; it smelled like a dirty gym sock that had been left in a locker for four years."

North Korea is a whipping boy of the Japanese media, and the country has suffered through food shortages over the years. Those shortages, no doubt, are a direct result of being ruled by a dictator who is more interested in missiles than feeding his people.


I've never had North Korea food per se. Once a friend brought me a bottle of blueberry whisky from the North Korean border. It tasted absolutely wretched. Shame because Korean food, make that South Korean food is incredibly tasty.

So if I do ever end up in North Korea, I'll probably skip out on the burgers.

For a behind-the-scenes look at the country, check out Vice's documentary.

Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome—game related and beyond.


(Top photo: テレビ | 2ch)

You can contact Brian Ashcraft, the author of this post, at You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

Illustration for article titled This North Korean Hamburger Looks Pretty Damn Gross


All Your Base

Is it just me or In N Out overrated? I've visited the place a couple of times but I just don't see why it's so special, the burgers are good but not how everyone makes them out to be. I mean, it even makes people cry and wait for hours when ordering. Really?