If you’re not yet familiar, the Orion Choco Pie is a South Korean treat composed of two spongy, chocolate-covered cakes sandwiching a layer of marshmallow cream—pretty much the same as moon pies in the U.S. But while they cost less than 50 cents to make and are full of empty calories, these treats have become all the rage in North Korea, where workers at the Kaesong Industrial Complex (whose wages are claimed by the state) were compensated with up to a dozen Choco Pies a day by their South Korean employers.
CNN reported on this issue earlier this year, explaining:
“The first time the South Korean factory owner watched his North Korean employees nibble on a Choco Pie, they appeared shocked—even overwhelmed. He summed up their reaction to the South Korean snack in one word: ‘Ecstasy.’ “
Because of the alarming popularity of Choco Pies in North Korea, workers would then sell them on the black market for $10 a pop—turning the sugary snack into a pretty vibrant black-market currency.
Unfortunately for the workers, the Choco Pie handouts were put to an end a month ago, reports South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo. “Now businesses give worker sausages, instant noodles, powdered coffee, cold noodles or chocolate bars instead,” the paper said.
Here’s some more stuff we loved from today:
Australia’s largest-ever truffle weighs 2.5 pounds. [Eater]
Why cheap chicken is bad news for South Africa. [Quartz]
A Look at The Extraordinary Penis-Themed Restaurant in South Korea. [Foodbeast]
Watch the new Wes Anderson-inspired Oreo ad. [Eater]