If there's one South Korean product that all North Korean workers in the Kaesong Industrial Complex know about, it's Choco Pie. According to factory owners in the Kaesong complex, some businesses there began passing out the snacks to their North Korean workers in 2005 to boost morale, which led to explosive popularity of the product among workers, and now most businesses there have followed suit.
A Kaesong complex staffer said 150,000 of the snacks are probably consumed each day at the industrial compound, and Orion, the South Korean makers of the product, send up between 10,000 to 20,000 boxes of the snack during holidays.
The Choco Pies are then brought out of the industrial park through unofficial channels and sold in black markets near Pyongyang. One South Korean government official said North Korean authorities tried to stop Choco Pies from being smuggled out of the complex, but this has proven too difficult to do, and they are now turning a blind eye, the staffer said.
He added Choco Pies were "sweet symbols of capitalism" for North Koreans.