Steak and Kimchi: N.Korean, Western Chefs Prepared Trump-Kim Dinner

By Reuters 28 February 2019

HANOI — For sufferers of nuclear anxiety, how about a little dried persimmon punch to settle the stomach?

North Korean chefs helped prepare the dinner shared by U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their first meeting in Hanoi on Wednesday, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Trump and Kim met in the Vietnamese capital for the second summit since their first historic meeting in June last year and had dinner at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel in the center of Hanoi.

“Great meetings and dinner tonight in Vietnam with Kim Jong Un of North Korea,” Trump said in a message on social network Twitter late on Wednesday.

Chefs from North Korea worked together with staff at the colonial-era hotel to create a medley of Western and Korean dishes for the two leaders as they chewed over their differences, the two sources said.

The result was an evening that blended two American and two Korean dishes, according to a copy of the menu released by the White House late on Wednesday.

The two Western dishes, a shrimp cocktail and a “hot and runny-centered” chocolate lava cake, were created by chefs at the hotel, the sources said.

The two Korean dishes — grilled steak with a pear kimchi and a non-alcoholic dried persimmon punch digestif — were prepared by North Korean chefs specially brought in for the event, the sources added.

It was not the first time Trump had tried the sweet persimmon drink. South Korean President Moon Jae-in served it to him as a dessert during a 2017 meeting.

The punch, which is designed to aid digestion at the end of a meal, tasted “really good,” one of the sources told Reuters.