North Korean news outlet claims burritos were invented by Kim Jong Il in 2011

A prominent North Korean government-run newspaper claimed this week that burritos were invented by former leader Kim Jong Il in 2011, and boasts of record sales at a food stand frequented by the late supreme leader, even amid a nationwide food shortage that has left millions starving.

The Rodong Sinmun newspaper, a well known mouthpiece for North Korean leadership, has released an article saying the father of current North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, invented what are known as ‘wheat wraps’ – which starkly resemble western burritos – before his death in 2011.

Recently, the outlet also released a propaganda video showing a mural of Kim Jong Il in a kitchen where the wraps are being made, and members of the public are seen enjoying them. 

The video also claimed sales of the wraps are ‘booming’, in spite of a long food shortage that has ravaged the country in recent years, which Pyongyang blames on outside sanctions on the country, the closing of the border with China, and natural disasters. Kim Jong Il has advised citizens that the shortages could last until 2025, when the border with China is scheduled to reopen.

The actual origins of the burrito can be traced back to Mesoamerican cultures in what is now Mexico, going back thousands of years. The act of using a wheat or corn tortilla to wrap other ingredients is much older than 2011, with the word ‘burrito’ first appearing in 1895 in the “Diccionario de Mejicanismos” (Dictionary of Mexican Spanish) by Cuban writer Félix Ramos y Duarte.

The wraps touted by Kim Jong Un and his son are the same, only the filling ingredients in a North Korean ‘wheat wrap’ tend to be cabbage, carrots, and sometimes doner meat, which is typically lamb or beef.

Many North Korean travel experts say these ingredients are hard to find in North Korea amid the food shortage, and that most North Koreans would likely never have the opportunity to eat a burrito or a wheat wrap in spite of Pyongyang’s claims that sales are exploding across the country.




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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