Updated Jun.27,2004 18:38 KST

Kim Jong-il Satisfies his Gourmet Appetite while his People Starve
It seems that the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was busy indulging on his appetite while the North Korean people were suffering from starvation, according to the Los Angeles Times on Saturday. The LAT published a "Column One" story under the headline "Rich Taste in a Poor Country," depicting Kim's picky appetite by saying that Kim likes to eat sashimi carved from a live fish and hates anchovies on his pizza.

Two of Kim’s former chefs have written up their experiences and revealed the secrets of the most important part of any Kim Jong Il residence, which is the kitchen. Three years ago, Italian Ermanno Furlanis wrote a series of confessional magazine articles titled "I Made Pizza for Kim Jong Il." A more recent entry is a book published last year in Japan and South Korea by a sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto (57). who worked for Kim from 1988.

LAT pointed out that, “While his countrymen scrounge for food in barren forests, Kim has spent an incalculable chunk of his nation's limited wealth feeding himself.” The article revealed that Kim has a storage of almost 10,000 bottles of wine in his wine cellar and his library contains thousands of cookbooks. Chefs have been flown from all over the world to suit his appetite.

It also said that there is an institution in Pyongyang, consisted of the best-trained doctors in the country, devoted solely to developing not only delicious but healthy food for Kim. "The purpose of the institute is 100% to prolong the life of Kim Jong Il," said Seok Young Hwan, a physician who worked there and later defected to South Korea. He said 200 professionals were working just in the division that handled Kim's diet

Kenji Fujimoto also wrote in his book that he had to travel to Iran and Uzbekistan to buy a particular kind of caviar, to Denmark for pork, to western China for grapes and to Thailand for mangos and papayas.

(englishnews@chosun.com )