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Seoul food South Korea marks Kim Jong-un’s time in Switzerland with rösti dish


Rösti began as a farmer's breakfast dish but is now widely consumed, especially in German-speaking Switzerland


The Swiss fried potato dish rösti will be on the dinner menu at an inter-Korea summit on Friday, which will be attended by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. It is the first time South Korea has acknowledged Kim’s childhood connection to Switzerland.  

South Korea’s executive Blue House, which will host the dinner, said the popular Swiss dish was chosen as an homage to Kim's childhood spent in country, according to the Reuters press agency. 

The North Korean leader arrived in Switzerland aged 12 in 1996 to attend an international school in the Swiss capital Bern. He is said to have learned German, French and English, and honed his skills in skiing and playground dispute resolution. The stay has never been confirmed by North Korea, which is a secretive state. In 2016, Kim’s aunt confirmed to the Washington Post in an exclusive interview that she had lived with him in Bern. 

Other symbolic dishes on the menu include Pyongyang-style cold noodles, or naengmyeon, served in a chilled meat broth. The noodles are the signature dish of North Korean restaurant Okryu Gwan, which has branches in China as well. It is not all about Kim though. On the menu is Baked John Dory made with flat sea fish as an homage to South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s younger days in the South Korean port city of Busan. 

Alcohol will also help lubricate discussions between the two Korean heads of state. Tipple served will include a fragrant wine made from azaleas and a distilled liquor called munbaeju, which is 40% alcohol by volume and originated in the North, but is now traditionally made in the South.

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