In the spirit of research and cultural learning, last night we visited the North Korean restaurant I had been told about, aptly called Pyongyang. Now, I don’t know exactly what I was expecting, perhaps something seedy that betrays the rumors of money laundering and indentured servitude, but it was not at all. Shockingly, it was the nicest dining experience, with some of the best food, I’ve had in Dhaka. To be honest, all I could think the whole time was, “I wish North Korea owned and operated the hotel I’m staying at, since at least then the service would be decent.” The place was clean. The staff were courteous North Korean women in skirted uniforms (tasteful, not mini – they pretty much looked like stewardesses). However, as promised, they did sing karaoke for/with us, which was amazing.
I know you must have many questions, the first of which is: Do I have video of our North Korean waitress singing the Celine Dion song from Titanic? The answer is yes. You are probably also wondering if I have a photo her singing “I’m a Barbie Girl”? The answer is also yes.
There really are no words to describe the joy I had from watching this scenario in action. I don’t know if irony is quite the right word, but it was certainly something…special….
With regards to the money laundering and indentured servitude rumor – at this point I can neither confirm nor deny it. What I can say is that the service was extremely prompt, as perhaps it would be under such conditions; and that the manager, and older North Korean woman, was planning to bring the waitresses directly “home” after the restaurant closed. I foresee a few trips back for further investigation.