Biden-visited restaurant already popular

By Lu Na
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, August 29, 2011
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Yao's Fried Pork Liver, a traditional Beijing restaurant close to the Drum Tower, has gained increasing popularity after a recent visit by Joe Biden, the vice-president of the United States. [Photo by Lu Na/]

Yao's Fried Pork Liver, a traditional Beijing restaurant close to the Drum Tower, has gained increasing popularity after a recent visit by Joe Biden, the vice-president of the United States. Some attributed the restaurant's fame entirely to Biden, but the traditional Beijing snacks – authentic, flavorful and at a bargain – were what had long made its name among both locals and visitors from afar.

Menu of Yao's Fried Pork Liver, with the Noodles with Soybean Paste marked at 9 yuan. [Photo by Lu Na/]

Frequent customers, however, have found a peculiarity in the news of Biden's patronage. Most noted increased price of menu items at Yao's Fried Pork Liver and could not believe its noodles with soybean paste only cost the American vice president 9 yuan.

Hoping to find out the truth behind it all, we followed Biden's footsteps to Yao's Fried Pork Liver Saturday and spoke with its owner, Yao Yan.

Main dining rooms are always crowded during meal time. [Photo by Lu Na/] Is there anything changed after Biden had lunch here?

Yao: Biden does bring some changes to our restaurant. Some visitors from other cities will come here and eat lunch. Besides, some frequent customers who used to live nearby are coming back again. When Biden had lunch in our restaurant, we regarded him as a normal customer. He sat in the main dining room and we didn't give him any discount. No matter if he was a president or an average person, he was our precious guest. The reason of the crowdedness of our restaurant is because our two main dining rooms are very small, so they are always packed, regardless whether it's the weekend or a work day. Some websites said that the sales volume of the noodles with soybean paste is four times more than before. Is it true?

Yao: It isn't like what they thought. Actually a lot of the information on websites is not true. Our specialties include stir-fried pork liver, salt boiled baked wheat cake and dumplings. Most customers come here to eat these. However, as some customers wanted to try what Biden had eaten just out of curiosity, the sales volume of our noodles with soybean paste has increased indeed – just not four times more than before. Your restaurant is very popular. Have you ever considered opening more branches?

Yao: No. We haven't thought of opening another store yet and we still want to put all of our energy in this store. However, as the Beijing municipal government is applying for world cultural heritage for the "Center Axis of Beijing City," including the Drum Tower, we may be forced to move to another place. Although we want to redecorate the store, we can't do that just in case of a possible relocation. Will Biden's visit make you increase the price of the food?

Yao: No. We won't increase our price unless the price of our ingredients increases in the market, so there is no need to worry about.

The restaurant was packed during the lunch hours when we visited, and we talked with some of the customers there. One couple said they have always eaten there and the prices haven't changed.

Another man who has eaten here over 20 years told us that why visitors chose this place was not because Biden had lunch there, but because they want to have a good place to take a rest after visiting the Drum Tower and Yao's Fried Pork Liver has the best location. It had always been like this, and the restaurant was popular because of the flavor of its many specialties. He said that he had tried other restaurants' fried pork liver too, but Yao's Fried Pork Liver was the best one because of its special aroma.

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