December 02, 2015 08:19
The best-paying job in Pyongyang's nascent capitalist economy is cab driving. Drivers working for state-run taxi firms submit half of their daily earnings to the company and take home the rest.
Sources said taxi drivers who work two daily shifts make good money since there are a lot of customers. "There's usually a long line in front of Pyongyang Station and there aren't enough cabs," the source added.
Yet there are more than 1,000 taxis in the North Korean capital. Some traders who have grown rich in open-air markets hire cab drivers for a month at a time to transport their products.
Meanwhile, there are rumors that naengmyeon or cold noodles served at the famed Okryugwan restaurant in the North Korean capital are not as tasty as they used to be.
A source who recently visited Pyongyang said the cook who was in charge of preparing the broth died of old age early this month without passing on his secret recipe. "People used to wait in line in front of the restaurant for two or three hours, but the queues are gone," the source said.
The Workers Party officials in charge of the flagship restaurant have reportedly been censured.
The naengmyeon served at Okryugwan is known for containing some 40 different ingredients, including pheasant meat. A bowl of noodles at the restaurant costs between US$20 and $40.
But in the meantime a thriving enclave of Korean, Western, Japanese and Chinese restaurants has sprung up in a central Pyongyang neighborhood that is home to high-ranking apparatchiks.
Another source said the restaurants are not cheap, but party members are given 50 percent discount vouchers.
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