North’s ‘Choco Pie’ knockoff falls far short

Daily NK has obtained a North Korean snack
rolled out to squash demand for a popular South Korean treat that had first
become a sensation among factory workers in the inter-Korean industrial complex
and spread across the country. Known as ‘Chocolate Danseolgi,’ the snack
displays a striking resemblance with the much-loved South Korean ‘Choco Pie’. 

The new treat is said to have been produced to cut off fantasies about the
capitalist world its workers may harbor. 

North Korea’s local ‘Chocolate Danseolgi’ snack produced to rival South Korea’s ‘Choco Pie’ that
 became widely popular in the North. Rolled out in May, the snack is being provided to the
 North’s Kaesong Industrial Complex workers. Image: Daily NK

Starting last month, North Korea has been
providing its Kaesong factory workers with ‘Danseolgi’, according to a source
who has ties with the North and passed on the new snack to Daily NK on the condition of anonymity. This comes
after Pyongyang banned supplies of the famed ‘Choco Pie’ within the industrial
complex last year, as they were being sold by the workers on the black market
for good returns and gaining greater popularity across the country.

The South Korean ‘Choco Pie’ snack was
first introduced to Kaesong workers in 2006. Due to its soaring popularity,
many had come to develop a sense of curiosity or fantasies about the South, the
source said. Seeing the chocolate cake snack with marshmallow filling win over
so much love, Pyongyang set out to create an alternative in the hopes of
choking off demand.

Last year, after banning ‘Choco Pie’
supplies, the North tried to force South Korean firms to provide its factory
workers with a home-grown chocolate double-layered cake snack, and this year in
March, it even rolled out a chocolate coated rice cake treat also similar to an
existing South Korean product.

Despite these efforts, local goods have
failed to take off, as Kaesong workers are already acquainted with tastes from
South Korea and are only eating the ‘Danseolgi’ as they have no other choice,
according to the source.

The treat is one of the “latest products”
put out for Kaesong workers. “It was smuggled out of the country by way of a
North Korean trader in the Rason Economic Special Zone who works with
Chinese traders,” she explained.

“Currently in the North, the ‘Chocolate Danseolgi’ is being distributed to workers as supplies, and they’re not sold on North Korea’s regular markets,” she asserted. Every last ingredient used to make the snack, from the butter to the chocolate, is imported from China. 

Predictably, Kaesong workers invariably far prefer the taste of the original chocolate snack from South Korea, the source said, adding, “North Korea will never be able
to produce the South’s Choco Pie.”

One of Daily NK’s reporters who tried out
the North Korean ‘Danseolgi’ described the snack as “decidedly lacking in chocolate
flavor ” and “being overwhelmingly pungent of butter.” The wrapper claims to
include marshmallow in the product, but our taste tester reported any semblance of its texture to be nonexistent and noted that the cake itself is incredibly prone to crumbling.

*The content of this article was broadcast to the North Korean people via Unification Media Group.