North Korea doesn't merely have beef with the US government — it's also taken issue with America's most iconic food: the hamburger. Although the communist regime and its authoritarian leader, Kim Jong-Il, have long banned any cultural influences considered to be "US imperialist," the country opened its first-ever fast-food restaurant last month. The only thing that won't be served? Burgers.
At the Samtaeseong restaurant in Pyongyang, customers can get a "minced beef with bread sandwich," an order that bears an unmistakable resemblance to the American favorite. The item, which is priced at $1.70 — more than half the average North Korean's daily income — comes with kimchee, or spicy fermented cabbage. Diners can also order sandwiches made of minced fish or vegetables, waffles, and draft beer. In addition, the restaurant will soon serve hot dogs and croissants that have been given Korean names.
My guess is that opening night at Pyongyang's inaugural fast-food joint was probably the talk of the town, although — with the addition of unintentionally of-the-moment kimchee-topped hot dogs to the menu, I'm pretty sure the menu would draw just as much attention in a major US city. What do you make of the situation? Does the renaming of the hamburger seem reminiscent of the "freedom fries" controversy from several years ago? What do you think of North Korea making mincemeat of the hamburger?