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Goose gone wild: Beloved auntie steps back from culinary frenzy

By Quan Zhanfu | | Updated: 2023-11-29 20:39
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In the chilly grips of a sub-zero evening in Beijing, a city under the thrall of a blue alert for strong winds, the warmth of grilled geese legs drew a determined crowd. Despite the biting cold, students congregated around the southeastern gate of Peking University at 8 pm, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the much-revered "geese leg auntie." This affectionate moniker had been bestowed upon her by the students, thanks to her delectable grilled geese legs.

The protagonist of this culinary tale, "geese leg auntie," made her entrance at 9 pm, navigating through the icy winds with her trusty electric tricycle. A diverse assembly of people, some nearby students craving a taste, others merely seeking to join the revelry, swarmed the tricycle.

Recent culinary escapades orchestrated by students from Peking University, Tsinghua University, and Renmin University of China had catapulted "geese leg auntie" into viral stardom on social networks. Videos of her selling grilled goose legs had flooded Sina Weibo, with related topics trending across the platform.

However, the newfound fame seemed to sit uneasily on the shoulders of the woman surnamed Chen, the "geese leg auntie". Speaking to Redstar News, a Sichuan-based news outlet, she expressed her reluctance to embrace social media celebrity status. "I don't want to be famous, let alone an influencer. I just want to live a simple life and continue making delicious food for the students, just like before," she asserted.

Chen took to her personal Douyin account on Wednesday, expressing her surprise at the attention she had garnered. "So much attention from society, I'm just a regular person and want to make grilling safe and peaceful. Never expected so much human traffic and pressure," she lamented.

The overwhelming influx of customers and onlookers led Chen and her husband surnamed Liang, both 54 and hailing from Jiangsu province, to make a tough decision. Starting from Wednesday, they halted the sale of goose legs and began scouting for a suitable location to open a small shop. Redstar News reported this development on Wednesday.

Chen and Liang embarked on their grilled geese leg venture in 2018, selling over 200 legs per day at a chosen university. The two flavors, spicy and non-spicy, proved popular among students. The business model evolved from on-site sales to students pre-ordering via WeChat, with geese legs delivered to designated pick-up locations.

"It's impossible for us to handle multiple universities in a day. We can only do so much," explained Liang to Redstar News on Tuesday. The couple's focus on Peking University was not favoritism, he clarified. "We sell the goose legs for 15 yuan each to Peking University students. For other schools, it's a bit more expensive, 16 yuan each. It's not favoritism; it's just that other schools are a bit farther."

In the midst of the goose leg frenzy, Renmin University of China's cafeteria entered the scene on Monday, offering 500 grilled goose legs daily. Liang welcomed this development, stating that he believed it wouldn't adversely affect their small business.

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