Sept. 30 (UPI) — Instant noodles are a prized food item in North Korea eaten on special occasions, a North Korean defector says.
The defector, a 24-year-old woman who appeared on South Korean television network MBC on Wednesday, said packaged instant noodles is prepared in North Korea with fermented soybean paste, local news service Newsen reported.
The defector said on TV program Bolbbalgan Ramyeon Lab she left North Korea five years ago after watching South Korean television dramas secretly sold in North Korea’s informal markets.
After watching South Korean television soap operas, including Boys Over Flowers, which aired in the South in 2009, the defector said she was left with the impression there were “no poor people in South Korea.” Local comedians said in jest they did not know about Korea’s one percent until they watched the same show. Boys Over Flowers is about a relatively poor girl who attends a high school built exclusively for the wealthy.
The defector also said North Koreans could be executed for watching South Korean TV shows. The fear of punishment makes people think twice about purchasing the shows illegally, but even state threats are not enough to keep people away, she said.
“I drank the water of capitalism,” the defector said, when show hosts said she did not look any different from other South Koreans.
The woman who appeared on the show on Wednesday said her favorite South Korean foods are fried chicken and Korean-style instant noodles. She said she gained more than 20 pounds because of the Korean fried chicken she consumed after arriving in the South.
North Korea’s ongoing food shortage is raising concerns in the international community.
The World Food Program said Tuesday the agency was able to provide food to 545,000 North Koreans in July, Seoul Pyongyang News reported Wednesday.
WFP also said it needs $28.9 million from October to March for more aid.