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US first lady's family samples Beijing's best bites

By Ye Jun | China Daily | Updated: 2014-03-23 10:02

US first lady's family samples Beijing's best bites

Chef Dong's fried prawns with spicy sauce.

Obama's family pre-ordered dumplings stuffed with three delicacies (sea cucumber, shrimp and diced pork) and traditional Beijing noodles with soy paste-typical Beijing staples.

Sugar-coated apples are something she pre-ordered that few Chinese ask for.

US first lady's family samples Beijing's best bites

What they ate at Da Dong 

US first lady's family samples Beijing's best bites

Top 5 roast duck restaurants in Beijing 

But the dish is special to Dong. It's what earned him the gold at Beijing's First Cooking Competition at age 26.

"It's a practical and clever order," Dong says. "The combination of vegetables with duck is healthy and nutritious."

Noodles with brown-bean paste and jiaozi are home-style Beijing foods.

"They're good options and don't cost much," Dong says.

The original booking for 13 people would have cost 3,600 yuan ($578)-an average of 277 yuan per head.

Dong says that although not all the dishes the first lady's family ordered were "big dishes", the restaurant did its best to serve them as they should be-"pleasures for both the taste buds and the eyes".

Although Obama didn't ask for it, Dong wished he could serve her another signature dish-braised sea cucumber with shallots.

He says all gourmet countries have their top ingredients.

Japan has Wagyu and toro. France has black caviar, foie gras and oysters. The Netherlands has veal. Norway has salmon.

Dong believes sea cucumbers can be globally established as a Chinese culinary icon.

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