North Korean authorities recently started encouraging cell phone users to pay money to install a new cooking app on their phones, but many people who have used the app have been disappointed.
A source in Yanggang province told Daily NK Thursday that post offices and service centers are offering to install the app on cell phones “in response to government orders.” [for people] actively use the cooking program [app]. âHowever, the source noted that people who installed the app areâ less than satisfied â.
Post offices have been installing the Koch app on mobile phones for 25 RMB (around USD 3.88) since the beginning of June. Service centers install the app for RMB 30 (approx USD 4.65).
âPeople in Samjiyon and Pochon Counties started installing the app as [cooking] is a necessary part of life, âsaid the source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “However, the locals who gathered to cook with the app were less satisfied with it.”
According to reports, many people have expressed doubts about the app. The food, which they prepared according to recipes in the app, turns out to be “neither North Korean, South Korean nor Western cuisine“. The recipes are pretty complicated too. App users wonder whether it is worth using the app in view of the time required, the preparation methods and the ingredients introduced in the app.
Locals who live in some parts of the Sino-North Korean border region and who already know South Korean cooking methods and actively integrate them into their eating habits also give the app a thumbs down because they find the recipes unattractive from a culinary perspective and because the ones in the app’s recipes contained ingredients are “inappropriate” given the food shortage in North Korea.
While some locals admitted that South Korean cooking methods were “quick and easy,” they even said that “nothing in North Korea compares to South Korea,” the source said.
The source further noted that financially disadvantaged people complain that the cooking app is âall spin, not substance,â while many people leave their homes and hometowns âto beg for food because they have nothing to eat “.
Some young people in their twenties and thirties have suggested that the government is taking advantage of the sale of the cooking app to collect foreign currency while rhetorically asking, âWhy make an app with such crappy recipes that aren’t from South Korea or China? “
While the cooking app has generally received negative reviews, most people with cell phones pay to install the app as this is the “latest trend” according to the source.