No one in North Korea can live on salary alone. The average monthly salary of workers in 2002 was 2,400 won, which was about $ 2 at unofficial exchange rates. The price was such that you could not buy as much as 5 kilograms of cheap grain, and prices continued to rise. (Park Yong-mi, “The Choice to Live”)
The market price was several times the price of the same at state-run stores. At state-owned stores, you cannot buy such items without distribution rights, if at all.
The official price of rice was always 0.08 won per kilogram. Meanwhile, it was sold in the market for 40 to 50 won in the first half of 2002. (Andrey Lankov, North of the DMZ: Essays on Daily Life in North Korea)
In North Korea, all vegetables were expensive, but chili was particularly expensive. Lettuce, which is said to be valuable, costs 20 won per ball, while 1,500 won per kilogram of chili powder. (Ju Sung-il, North Korean People’s Army: Living Hell’s Hyoei)
Squirrels are very rare and cost more than thirty won. Anyway, if you sell it in the dark, it costs almost 6,000 won per bag. (Zhao Ying-ho “Carrot thief”)
“Musan was really hard to live in the old days. When we first came, it was really countryside. Recently, the breeze of China’s liberation has blown away, and here we are getting better and better. It’s because I got a lot of Chinese goods, so my life is better, if I get 5 won, I can buy one Chinese cake called Mooncake I just ate, and if I get 50 won, I get Chinese sugar You can buy a kilo. “
The tobacco smoke is so squashed that if you tap it, it will drop by about two-thirds. It is 1 won 50 chon or 1 won. (Zhang Myong-sue “Betrayed paradise”)
He said that he would sell only an unwieldy tie that costs 12 won and a children’s shirt made of synthetic fibers that cost 18 won, but the average monthly wage in this country was 90 won, and somehow it was deducted from it. It’s a expensive shopping because it takes 50 to 60 won. (Alexander Zhebin, The Kim Dynasty I See)
Market prices were significantly higher before the mid-1990s food crisis. In 1985, pork weighed about 20 won per kilogram, about one-third of the average monthly income at that time.
Chicken costs about 40 won. Since the early 1980s, the market was the main exchange for smuggled foreign products. At times, it became an exchange for goods stolen from government factories.
In the 1980s, about two-thirds of the average market retailer sold consumables. Clothing, imported medicines, tobacco, etc. (Lankov, op.cit.)