Food & Beverage

Could Kim Jong Un open a restaurant in Scotland?

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un could be opening a restaurant in Scotland and serving national favorites such as dog on the menu, experts said.

"The Scottish independence referendum catapulted Scotland into the North Korean elite's thoughts," Michael Madden, editor of the North Korea Leadership Watch blog, told the Edinburgh Evening News.

"Despite voting 'No' they'd consider left-leaning Scotland to be more suitable to deal with than England. Plus, North Koreans love whisky. Tourists in North Korea are told to tip people in Scotch instead of the currency."

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects KPA Air and Anti-Air Force Unit 458 in an undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang on Dec. 8, 2014.
KCNA | North Korea

The report comes just months after Scots voted to remain part of the U.K. in an independence referendum. North Korea backed the calls for Scottish Independence, and the historic moment could be behind the controversial leader's potential move to locate his next "Pyongyang" restaurant branch in Scotland.

The North Korean embassy in London declined to comment. The Scottish government said it was looking into the report.

Not an 'obvious' location

The regime – which has been accused of severe human rights abuses by the United Nations – opened the first branches of Pyongyang near the border with China in the 1990s. Kim Jong Un's restaurant expansion plans saw a branch open in Amsterdam in 2012. This eventually closed down but reopened under the name of Haedanghwa.

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Pyongyang restaurants are known for being a lavish and expensive experience. Traditional Korean music and entertainment often takes place. Jim Hoare, a Korea expert at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, has visited the restaurants in Asia. He said the main aim of them is to raise money and up the profile of the regime abroad.

North Korea has been seen as notoriously closed to the outside world and its reputation took at further battering at the end of last year when U.S. officials blamed Kim Jong Un's regime for the unprecedented hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The move into Scotland could be to drum up support for North Korea, but despite Kim Jong Un's love of cheese and whisky, Hoare was surprised by the choice of location.

"Scottish food is very conservative and the idea of them taking to Korean food…I can't think it is the obvious place to go," Hoare said.

"This type of restaurant is not aimed at the Korean community but aimed at rich foreigners who might want to spend money, and may be more suited to London."