The president of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, and South Korean president Moon Jae In will sit down to a meal together for the first time during their peace talk summit in South Korea, and even the menu is political.
The special banquet menu “reflects the leaders that contributed to the history of the peninsula” and includes dishes from the hometown of two former South Korean presidents.
A spokesperson from the Blue House (The home of the South Korean president) said the menu “embodies the meaning of the two Koreas working together”.
Dumplings with sea croker and cucumber is a traditional dish from Gageo Island, Shinan county, where former South Korean president Kim Dae Jung was born. Kim Dae Jung coined the “Sunshine Policy” and was the first president to meet a North Korean leader in a peace summit when he traveled to Pyongyang in 2000 to meet Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il.
He was also Korea’s only ever Nobel Peace laureate.
Traditional bibimbap with organic rice produced using trained ducks for weeding and pest control is featured to showcase the special rice farming method.
The unique rice farming process involving ducks originated in Bonghwa county, South Gyeongsang Province, where former South Korean president Roh Moo Hyun was born. Roh Moo Hyun carried on the Sunshine Policy, meeting Kim Jong Il in 2007.
A potato fritter called Rosti, popular in Switzerland where Kim Jung Un studied, will also be on the menu, together with Swiss chocolate.
No Korean menu is complete without grilled beef, and the charcoal beef that Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae In will eat comes from Seosan county, South Chungcheong province. This is the hometown of Hyundai Group‘s founder, Chung Ju Yung.
In 1998, Chung Ju Yung sent 500 cattle in a convoy of trucks across the border as a donation to North Korea. Kim Jong Il sent a personal condolence message and a wreath to honor the 10th anniversary of Chung’s death in 2011.
Grilled John Dory fish will also feature as a reminder of where Moon Jae In spent his youth, in the port city of Busan. He also started his first human rights law firm in Busan with former president Roh Moo Hyun in 1982.
The fish is also a luxury item in Europe, and may be reminiscent of Kim Jong Un’s time spent in Switzerland.
Octopus from Tongyeong served with chilled vegetables references the birthplace of Korean-born German composer Yun Isang, who was known for his works on the resistance against the Japanese occupation.
And finally, Moon Jae In specifically requested mulnaengmyeon (cold noodles) from North Korea’s famous restaurant Okryugwan, founded in Pyongyang in 1960.
The restaurant’s head chef will reportedly be flown to the venue ahead of the banquet to install special noodle-making equipment in the venue’s kitchen and personally fill the request.
But that’s not all – there’s still dessert to consider. A mango mousse and chocolate bar made from Swiss ingredients, together with chocolate macaroons, Gruyère cheesecake and various other European desserts will be made to suit Kim Jong Un’s tastes. The theme is “nation’s spring” and will represent spring breaking through the cold winter.
Special teas from Jeju Island and traditional rice wine from Incheon-myeong, South Chungcheong Province, will also be served.
The delicious range of well-thought-out and prepared meals will hopefully help guide peace talks between the two nations.