North Korea plant makes kimchi under Kim Jong Un's 'loving care'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (center) gives field guidance to the construction site of a medical oxygen factory on May 30.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (center) gives field guidance to the construction site of a medical oxygen factory on May 30. PHOTO: KCNA VIA REUTERS

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea is producing kimchi at a new plant "built under the loving care" of leader Kim Jong Un, who praised the spicy pickle as "one of the world's five health foods", state media said Friday (June 10).

Kim made his remarks while inspecting the sprawling Ryugyong Pickle Factory, built to supply Pyongyang residents with the traditional dish year-round, the Korean Central News Agency said.

The plant is capable of producing 4,200 tonnes a year of the piquant, pungent and fermented vegetable - a side dish which accompanies every rice meal for Koreans.

Kim said the Ryugyong factory would set the standard for North Korea's industrial production of kimchi, the news agency said.

He called for the construction of a modern kimchi factory in every province modelled on the Ryugyong plant.

"Kimchi is one of the Korean nation's most favorite traditional dishes and it is well-known as one of the world's five health foods", he was quoted as saying.

He urged the factory "to make it more delicious than that produced by individual households and thus make it a favorite dish of the citizens and the best food in the world".

At a rare party congress last month, Kim stressed he would push through with his signature policy of Byungjin - building up the North's nuclear arsenal and developing the economy at the same time.

Over the past month, Kim has focused his inspection trips on facilities related to the people's daily livelihood including a new soap factory, a salt plant, a hospital and a factory producing sports goods.