Michelle Obama looks forward to Chinese cuisine

The US First Lady Michelle Obama will travel to China with her daughters, Malia and Sasha, and her mother Marian Robinson on March 19 - 26, and will be visiting Beijing from March 20 - 23, Xi'an on March 24, and Chengdu on March 25 - 26.

For her first visit to China, Michelle Obama has been learning simple Mandarin such as "Ni Hao" (Hello) "Zai Jian" (Goodbye) "Xie Xie" (Thanks). And by admitting that she is a "delicacy maniac," she says she's willing to taste the food recommended by American students and other special Chinese food she has yet to try.

Enthusiastic Chinese Internet users from the three cities the First Lady will visit have already prepared menus of Chinese delicacies which include Qingfeng buns and Rou jia Mo. Stories about the restaurants and food that world leaders have experienced in the past few years have become popular again.

Here are some reviews of the food and restaurants where famous political leaders have eaten, along with a few food recommendations thrown in.

Beijing

Black bean sauce noodles and other delicacies served at this 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 in 2011, racking up a tab of 79 yuan (S$16).

Signature dishes:

Chaogan (Liver Stew): A strong starchy stew with slices of liver and large pig intestines, flavored with lots of garlic. The dish is sold for 4 yuan for a small bowl, 6 yuan for a larger serving.

Zhajiang noodles: Handmade noodles served with deep, rich stir-fried bean paste, shredded cucumber and watermelon radish. The dish is sold for 9 yuan for a standard bowl.

Pork and onion baozi: Little steamed buns of juicy, succulent pork and onions. They cost 1 yuan each, but it's easy to polish off four or five at one seating.

Luzhu huoshao: Bean-paste stew with pieces of huo shao (dough dumplings), beancurd puffs and stewed lungs. The dish is traditionally a street-side delight for the common folks of Beijing. The stew can cost anything from 15 and upwards depending on what you want added to the basic stew.

Qing-Feng Steamed Dumpling Shop's Yuetan branch was surprised with a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping in late December.

The president insisted on waiting in line with the rest of the patrons and placed an order for a plate of mustard leaves, a bowl of stewed pork liver soup, and six shallot and pork buns. The bill came up to 21 yuan.

Xi'an

With thousands of years of history growing wheat, Xi'an is home to many kinds of flour-based food. Even the simple noodles have different shapes and tastes.

One noodle dish is called biangbiang mian. This traditional dish is considered one of the 10 "strange wonders" in Shaanxi province, and after looking at its name in Chinese, it's no wonder why.

Most Chinese would not even know how to write the 57-stroke character for "biang" which has so many turns it looks like a hieroglyphic on paper.

"Biang" is the onomatopoeic name the noodles are given, referring to the sound the chef makes when he pulls the dough into noodles and bangs them against the table.

Biangbiang noodles are thick, fat and long. Each belt-like strand is three-fingers wide, spiraling down into a big bowl.

It is served dry, with toppings of chili and pork belly - wu hua rou or five-flowered meat that has alternating layers of fat and lean meat.

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