Choco Pies are individually wrapped cakes with marshmallow filling and a chocolate covering. These pies evoke childhood memories for many Koreans, and are also a well-loved sweet snack for people living in North Korea.
The word '情' printed on the package in the picture above actually corresponds to the Korean word 정 'jeong'. There isn't a one-word translation of 정 in English, but for Koreans, 정 means the feelings of love, affection, sympathy, feeling, heart, and also human nature. Koreans see 정 as an emotion which you feel outside of yourself, in relation to other people, so 정 actually relates to the love which connects all of us.
Choco Pies are considered very special in both South and North Korea, because inside the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea which was set up 6 miles north of the heavily fortified border between the two nations in 2012, South Korean companies inside the industrial complex use Choco Pies as a form of bonus and special treat for the 50,000+ North Korean workers there, whose salaries go directly to the North Korean government. For such South Korean companies, they are not allowed to offer cash bonuses, which were considered capitalist.
The Kaesong Industrial Complex was actually built with the hope of developing a closer bond between the North and the South. On July 30, 2014 last year, North Korea actually received a sweet surprise from its neighbor when South Koreans packed 10,000 Choco Pies into plastic bags, attached them to 50 giant balloons, and released them into the air to North Korea from a park in the border city of Paju.
To me, I feel that Choco Pies actually symbolize a quiet but strong, hopeful, and heartwarming bonding between the two nations. It's a warm little treat to have...a sweet one too!
I hope this post wasn't too long..maybe I'll try to type shorter posts next time, it wouldn't be good to bore you all with these things!
Till next time then! :)