By Tom Bannister
Beijing have been going all-out to portray the new leadership as uncorrupted and down-to-earth. This includes what they eat.
On Xi Jinping’s recent tour of Shenzhen, after a hard day of being continuously photographed smiling and chatting with the locals, it was emphasised that he ate a sparse meal “with no more than six dishes and one soup”. His close aides were also photographed eating instant noodles, to be poisoned just like normal people are.
Now the spin-doctors have continued their ‘Oh look isn’t he normal, unpretentious and smiley’ campaign further afield. General Secretary Xi has been touring Beijing’s neighbouring Hebei province and whilst there he ate in a hotel in Fuping county on 29th December. One of the accompanying journalists, no doubt one without any affiliations to the state whatsoever, just happened to snatch a glance at the food he ordered for dinner.
To their astonishment they saw that it consisted of a paltry four ‘main’ dishes and a soup! Two less than on Xi’s Shenzhen menu! There were also strict instructions not to include alcohol, the customary lubricant of any Chinese official’s meal.
Perhaps Xi and friends had overindulged over Christmas or perhaps he really is a culinary martyr to the people. If you and your friends want to see for yourself and replicate Xi’s spartan dinner the full menu was:
Braised chicken pieces (红烧鸡块)
Fuping stew (阜平炖菜)
Streaky pork with stir-fried garlic shoots (五花肉炒蒜薹)
Garlic shoots and chrysanthemum stems? (拍蒜茼蒿)
Pork meatball and winter melon soup (一个猪肉丸子冬瓜汤)
Boiled dumplings (主食水饺)
Steamed rolls (花卷)
Rice and congee (米饭和杂粮粥)