Sushi chef Kenji Fujimoto worked personally for Kim from 1988 before fleeing the country and defecting to his native Japan in 2001.
He told The Sun: “There were a lot of strange requests. Snake was one. They got someone else to cook that. I only work with seafood.
Chef Kenji Fujimoto fled North Korea for his native Japan in 2001
“Hippopotamus was very good and tasted like chicken. He wanted to eat spiders one day.”
In 2003 Fujimoto wrote a tell-all account of his time with the leader and his family entitled I Was Kim Jong Il’s Cook.
According to the tome, Kim apparently liked his sashimi to be so fresh he demanded the mouth of the fish to be still moving when he took his first bite.
Kim Jong Il apparently had a taste for fine Japanese seafood
Fujimoto was tasked with travelling the world to bring Kim the finest delicacies, including fruit from China, Thailand and Malaysia, beer from Czechoslovakia, pork from Denmark, caviar from Iran and Uzbekistan and seafood from Japan.
Kim’s drinks cupboard, meanwhile was stocked with an array of fine French wines, Johnnie Walker Swing Scotch and Hennessy XO cognac.
Writing for the Atlantic in 2011, Fujimoto also reveals rice would be inspected grain by grain for chips or defects and he recalled a bizarre occasion where Kim ordered an entourage of women to dance naked for him in one of his Pyongyang palaces.
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After commanding them to disrobe, Kim reportedly turned to his cabinet staff members and told them to join in the dancing, with the warning: “You’ll dance but you won’t touch. If you touch, you’re thieves.”
Fujimoto, was according to US diplomatic correspondence published by WikiLeaks, the best and often the only source of North Korean information for Japan’s main spy agency.
His credibility is further supported by the fact he correctly predicted the then relatively unknown Kim Jong Un would be favoured over his two older brothers to succeed his father, who died of a heart attack in 2011.
Kim’s extravagant eating habits are in stark contrast to the rest of North Korea, with a United Nations report from June last year saying two-thirds of the country's 24 million people were facing chronic food shortages.
It added nearly a third of children under the age of 5 showed signs of stunting, particularly in rural areas. According to the Associated Press:
"The report paints a bleak picture of deprivation in the countryside, not often seen by outsiders, who are usually not allowed to travel beyond the relatively prosperous Pyongyang, where cherubic children are hand-picked to attend government celebrations and a middle-class with a taste for good food have the means to eat out."
It also bolstered criticism of the government, which critics say should be spending money on food security instead of military strength.
North Korea claims strong military and nuclear deterrents are necessary against the perceived joint threats from the US and South Korea.