North Korea's foreign mission: Bake baguettes

Story highlights

  • A North Korean food plant has sent staff abroad to try to learn how to make baguettes
  • Last year, North Korean officials went to France to look for cheese recipes

(CNN)Well-off North Koreans really love baguettes -- and the country is dispatching citizens outside its borders to learn how to make them, says a report by a pro-North Korea newspaper based in Japan.

According to the Choson Sinbo, a North Korean factory sent its staff abroad in an attempt to improve its food products -- which include baguettes and sweet potato cakes.
    No word yet on whether they've succeeded. But it's not the first time North Korea has sent its citizens into the world to seeking culinary skills.
    Last April, officials from the reclusive authoritarian state traveled to the National Dairy Industry College in Franche-Comte, eastern France, in an attempt to master the art of cheese making.
    But they were turned away at the door.
    "There is no basis to go further with North Korea because such a partnership does not fit into our priorities and strategy," its director Veronique Drouet told AFP.
    North Korea's Kumkop food plant isn't just focused on French food, though.
    In January, North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) said Kim Jong Un toured the factory and asked it to produce chewing gum.
    Food security remains poor for most North Koreans. The World Food Programme reported a "severe" food availability situation in the country last September, with rations dipping to their lowest level in three years.