Down the street from my home in Bangkok, next to a tailor and a nail salon, sits a peculiar outpost of the North Korean state. Inside the Pyongyang Okryu restaurant, five tall, pale waitresses float among the tables in sparkly dresses and carefully cultivated smiles. “Are they really North Korean?” my wide-eyed young son asked, a bit too loudly, on a recent visit. He’d been reading about the country’s isolation and the fusillade of insults and threats exchanged by President Trump and Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader. A waitress overheard him and nodded, but her blank smile — a rictus of nonrevelation — never wavered.