Pyongyang International Airport’s representative duty free product: Kaesong Ginseng

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

The September issue of the North Korean foreign magazine Kumsugangsan revealed that Kaesong ginseng is selling well at Pyongyang International Airport’s duty-free shops.

According to the magazine, there are a variety of goods and shops on the second floor departure waiting area of the airport, including souvenir shops, duty-free shops, magazines, coffee, soft drinks, and ethnic restaurants. “The souvenir shops are particularly popular with customers and are full of natural medicinal ingredients like the indigenous ginseng,” the magazine explained.

Salesperson Choi Jin Hyang commented, “Ginseng is divided into grades of chon, ji, and in. The chon-grade ginseng is very good […] In the case of Kaesong Koryo ginseng, the popularity of the chon-grade red ginseng is growing every day.”

Ginseng products like Kaesong Koryo ginseng tea, Kaesong Koryo red ginseng powder, ginseng extract, Kaesong Koryo ginseng pollen, as well as indigenous natural products from Mt. Kumgangsan and Mt. Myohyang are sold in these shops.

The airport’s ethnic restaurants serve dishes such as sinseollo (Korean casserole), Pyongyang naengmyeon (cold noodles), and nokdu jijim (mung bean pancake), while duty-free shops sell hanbok (Korean traditional dress). There are also duty-free shops in the arrival area of the airport.

In the departure procedure area on the second floor, there are shops that sell food, watches, makeup, and bags, as well as booths that sell plane tickets and an international communications office. Various products are sold in the food shops, including Pyongyang Soju and products produced by Rason Daehung Trading Company.

The third floor is a professional service zone that non-travellers can also use. It includes an Asian restaurant, a European restaurant, electronic products, shoes, clothes, and a children’s shop.

The magazine added, “Two brave white tigers, adorned on the outside walls [of the Pyongyang International Airport], and gable roof doorposts preserve Choson’s native ethnic characteristics […] There are also ground and underground parking lots each with the capacity to accommodate over 100 vehicles.”


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