Fish and chips on Chinese President Xi's British wish list

BEIJING (China Daily/Asia News Network) - Chinese President Xi Jinping has reportedly requested a meal of fish and chips during his four-day state visit to Britain beginning Monday (Oct 19).

Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan are scheduled to arrive in London on Monday for a trip that includes a state banquet at the Buckingham Palace and meetings with British Prime Minister David Cameron and parliament members.

But it is the humble fish and chips the Chinese are apparently after, according to the Sunday Times of London.

Xi is expected to dine at a traditional English pub in the countryside on Thursday afternoon and "wants to try the dish" there, the newspaper reported.

The pub is part of Xi's excursion to Chequers, 50km northwest of London in Buckinghamshire, which, as the official country retreat for serving British prime ministers, has been the venue of reception for world leaders.

"The Chinese are desperate to order fish and chips. They've asked about it repeatedly," the Sunday Times said, quoting a source involved in negotiations over the trip.

"I don't know if they know something we don't about the Chequers kitchens. It's all part of the president's view of himself as a man of the people."

Xi had made a surprise appearance at a dumplingrestaurant in Beijing in 2013, waiting in line with other diners before ordering a US$3.50 (S$4.85) set meal.

The eatery has since become a tourist draw.

The English pub can likewise expect hordes of Chinese tourists in the wake of the president.