Changing China

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Whatever happened to culinary diplomacy?

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sea horsesThere are 21,600 reporters covering the Olympic Games, the vast majority from outside China, and a lot of them will be going home with a nasty taste in their mouths.

Al Himmer and Erik Kirschbaum blogged about their experience of crash-dieting during the Olympics, with most of the venues offering only cookies and bananas for reporters putting in 10 or 12 or 14 hours covering a sport.

Inside the Main Press Centre, there is plenty of food to be had. It’s not going to win any gourmet awards but the turkey on whole wheat is just fine and it’s hard to go wrong with a salad bar.

Sadly, it’s the Chinese food that is the real letdown.

Beijing is a city in which any given alley offers everything from noodle soups to savoury pancakes to fresh hot soy milk, and it is difficult to forgive Olympic caterers for reducing a culinary culture so rich and varied to a mushy blandness.

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