Saturday, August 16, 2008

Beijing duck top favorite for Olympians, supply doubled in athletes village

The Beijing roast duck, probably the most famous Chinese dish in the world, has become a top favorite for global athletes competing at the Beijing Olympics, as the canteens in the Athletes Village has to double its daily supply from 300 to 600, a Games official said here on Friday.

"The athletes like the roast duck very much. To ensure they fully enjoy the Chinese delicacy, we have decided to raise the daily supply of the ducks from 300 to 600," Deng Yaping, spokeswoman of the Olympic Village of the Beijing Games, said at a press conference in the Main Press Center .

An earlier report by the English newspaper China Daily said that the Beijing speciality was regularly sold out by 8 p.m. in the athletes village at the original supply of 300 per day.

Cooked in a special way, the duck is usually sliced and dipped in a sweet plum sauce before being wrapped into a thin pancake along with thin slices of Chinese onion and cucumber.

According to Olympic caterer Amarak, they have hired chefs from the 136-year-old Quanjude Beijing Roast Duck chain to prepare the duck, also a gourmet's choice for the Chinese, in the traditional style.

According to Deng, four-time Olympic table tennis champion and almost a household name in China, the canteens in the Olympic Village have set a world record in terms of the scale and quality of the food service they have provided.

"By Aug. 14, the main canteen in the village had received a total of 273,627 athletes and officials from various countries and regions, setting a new record in the Olympic history," she said.

Citing statistics from the opening days of the recent Games for comparison, Deng said that 18,634 people dined in the village's main canteen from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 8 alone, far exceeding the figures at the Athens and Sydney Games, which stood at 10,515 and 9,876 respectively.

The spokeswoman said that 460 dishes of all major international cuisines are served in the main canteen every day around the clock, with the menu changing every day on an eight-day cycle of rotation.

Meanwhile, 181 random tests on food samples from the village have been conducted so far, with all results meeting the safety standards, added Deng.

"We can say that the athletes are enjoying a safe and reliable food service with a rich variety," she concluded.

Deng also noted that the management team of the Olympic Village has so far received 49 letters of compliments, while not a single letter of complaint has been filed.

Source: Xinhua

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