'Biden set' a hit at Beijing restaurant

Updated: 2011-08-23 14:53


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Beijing - Black bean sauce noodles and other delicacies served at one Beijing eatery are being snapped up by customers eager to order the dishes eaten by US vice-president Joe Biden on a recent visit, a meal dubbed "noodle diplomacy."

Biden and his entourage ordered five bowls of black bean sauce noodles, 10 steamed buns, smashed cucumber salad, mountain yam salad, shredded potatoes and Coca Cola at 'Yao Ji Chao Gan' restaurant for lunch last Thursday, racking up a tab of 79 yuan ($12.40).

Staff at the small restaurant said the number of customers ordering the noodles has risen by four times since then, with many coming in to order what they call the "Biden Set" even if it is not on the menu - though owner Yao Yan plans to include it soon.

"US Vice President Joe Biden came to my restaurant for lunch just like an ordinary customer, and we treated him like an everyday guest who came from far away," she told Reuters Television.

"We didn't give him any discounts or special offers."

On a recent day all seats were full in the simple restaurant, where diners sit on backless chairs and eat from plain white dishes. A line snaked through the room, with hungry customers eyeing other treats such as fried spring rolls.

A few customers expressed surprise that Biden had chosen such an inexpensive eatery for his meal, which Chinese media called "noodle diplomacy."

Shrugging this off, ordinary customers are now flocking in, forcing the restaurant to hire more staff.

"I travelled from Inner Mongolia to Beijing, and the taxi driver told me this restaurant was famous because the US vice president came for lunch a few days ago," said a 30-year-old tourist who gave only his last name, Wu.

"We are here particularly to try what he ate."