Deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il would chow down on exotic creatures including snakes, hippos and spiders, his former personal chef has told the Sun.
Kenji Fujimoto, a Japanese national, first visited North Korea in 1982 and six years later became Kim Jong Il’s personal sushi chef, earning $70,000 a year in the impoverished nation and driving two Mercedes cars. He fled the country in 2001 and two years later published a book about his experiences there, Kim Jong Il’s Chef. And while the name he writes under is a pseudonym — he’s claimed his former boss was trying to kill him — he’s since been no stranger to the media.
His latest statements give details about Kim’s dietary habits. “There were a lot of strange requests,” he told the British newspaper. “Snake was one. They got someone else to cook that. I only work with seafood. Hippopotamus was very good and tasted like chicken. He wanted to eat spiders one day.”
While North Korea’s 25 million people teetered constantly on the brink of starvation, Kim enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, including a massive wine cellar and DVD collection, and would throw sumptuous banquets that would finish off with fine Scotch whisky and cognac. The Dear Leader also had his own ‘Joy Division’ of young women to dance, sing and bathe him, reports the Guardian. Fujimoto was occasionally allowed to socialize with these girls and eventually married one in a drunken wedding that ended with him waking to find all his public hair had been shaved off, according to GQ.
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Fujimoto prepared sushi and other delicacies for the tyrant and would also accompany him on his rare travels abroad. The chef would always be instructed to purchase the best ingredients including Chinese melons, Uzbek caviar, Czech beer, Thai papayas and Danish pork, according to The Chosun Ilbo.
Fujimoto revisited the capital Pyongyang last year to reconnect with current dictator Kim Jong Un, the son of Kim Jong Il. North Korea has grown increasingly belligerent under the younger Kim, with missile tests and threats against South Korea and the U.S. earning an extension of U.N. sanctions against the country.
But Fujimoto believes that the new ‘Supreme Leader’ has no intention of starting a war as it would be a “suicidal act,” he told the Sun. He also noted several changes upon his return, including ice cream for sale in the capital and people walking around with mobile phones.