Here's why I want to open a North Korean restaurant in Seoul - Korea Times
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Here's why I want to open a North Korean restaurant in Seoul

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By Sharon Jang

North Korean refugee Sharon Jang, right, poses with Casey Lartigue, co-founder of Freedom Speakers International. She will have an online cooking demonstration on June 26. Courtesy of Voices from the North
North Korean refugee Sharon Jang, right, poses with Casey Lartigue, co-founder of Freedom Speakers International. She will have an online cooking demonstration on June 26. Courtesy of Voices from the North
I grew up in a North Korean coal mining village near Hoeryong, North Hamgyeong Province.

I lived there for 21 years until I escaped in search of freedom. Later this year, I will be celebrating my 10th year of freedom in South Korea.

I am now living my second life.

If I try hard, then I can do what I want, and I can go where I want to go, unlike when I was in North Korea.

Even with freedom, however, there is one thing I can't do: I cannot visit my brother in North Korea, I cannot even have a meal with him.

When I really miss my brother, I cook North Korean food that we ate together and think about our times together. Very often as I cook that food, I recall memories with my brother, I have thought about opening my own restaurant featuring the food from my hometown. It could be a way to comfort other North Korean refugees. It could give them a chance to have good memories about their loved ones who are still in North Korea.

Another reason I have thought about opening a North Korean restaurant in South Korea is to be able to share food with South Koreans and anyone who is longing for the day of reunification and a chance to meet our relatives in North Korea.

I hope the day will come that my brother can eat food at my North Korean restaurant in South Korea. As we eat together, I can let him know that my missing him is the main reason that I established the restaurant.


Jang's remarks were edited by Casey Lartigue, editor of
Voices from the North, and Lee Eun-koo, co-founder of Freedom Speakers International.




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