Customers queued up outside a food stall in the capital of Hunan province, not for its Zhejiang-style meat pie served with dried and preserved vegetables, but a picture of the hawker.
Photos of the food stall close to the dormitory of Hunan University in Changsha went viral on mainland social media this morning, when microbloggers noticed that the hawker bore a remarkable resemblance to President Xi Jinping.
“I had to make 1,600 meat pies a day during the peak season,” Shao Jianhua, the hawker from Hangzhou, said, adding that he opened the food stall after moving to Changsha five years ago.
He wanted to sell the snack, which is popular in his hometown
His meat pies, sold at 3.5 yuan (HK$4.33) each, won four stars out of five on Dianping.com, the mainland’s most popular dining guide online, with all of the raters noting the taste, not the look of the peddler.
“You’d better avoid lunch and dinner hours, or it’s overcrowded,” one of the raters posted in May.
“The long queue tells how delicious the pies are,” another posted in April.
Meanwhile, mainland microbloggers jokingly called on their president to meet his “twin brother”.
“It would be the most important meeting of a century”, one from Shanghai posted.
“Don’t forget to make it clear in the caption that the president is the customer, not the hawker,” another wrote.
Within hours, the pictures got reposted by almost all major mainland media outlets, including state media Xinhua. But the photo album on NetEase, which broke the story on Wednesday, could no longer be accessed.