This is the Koryo Burger, the only food item served on North Korea's state airline
NORTH Korea's state-run airline serves its passengers only one item of food.
The Koryo Burger is always served stone cold - straight from the fridge - on a paper doily with an unidenfitied slice of processed meat in the middle.
The bun is stale, there's a slice of processed cheese, a few wispy slices of shredded cabbage or a single lettuce leaf (but usually not both).
Some say the mystery sauce is red, some say it's brown, but most generally agree it's too watery to be blood left over from the animal that became the patty.
It's pretty much exactly what you'd expect from an airline named as one of the worst in the world, according to review website Skytrax.
And yet, its repulsiveness has gained an almost cult-level following around the world.Journalist Jamie Fullerton wrote for Vice that, like many others on the flight, he didn't finish his burger, "but this was largely due to the chewy blandness rather than revulsion.
"The meat was inoffensively dull and, true to the intrigue that surrounds it, even tougher to identify than it was to chew".
He said the weirdness only added to the sense of confusion he felt watching the bizarre propaganda videos that played the whole two hours from Beijing to Pyongyang.
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However, that's not to say all North Korean burgers are bad.
The nation's staples are kimchi (a kind of fermented cabbage) and noodles, but tour operator Simon Cockerell said plenty of places serve decent patties.
His theory is that the bland meat is actually chicken.
"The food is never actually ready when you go in there so you have to sit and wait for 15 minutes. They've got the fast-food racks by the counter but nothing in them.
"They don't have enough customers to justify actually cooking something and expecting someone to buy it within half an hour," he told Vice.
At the end of the day, it's not the kind of thing you'd choose first from a menu, but it's awfulness is probably overrated.
"You've lived a dull life if a tasteless piece of meat and bread is the worst thing you've ever eaten," Mr Cockerell said.
The plus side is that yes, you can at least wash it down with beer.
- NZ Herald