China's President Xi Jinping sparks steamed bun craze

Diners pose for pictures with steamed buns which Chinese President Xi ate, at the Qing-Feng steamed buns restaurant in Beijing

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A surprise visit by China's president to a Beijing steamed bun restaurant has sparked a bun craze, with customers lining up by the hundreds to order food and take photos at the table where he ate.

President Xi Jinping shocked patrons and restaurant staff when he visited the restaurant on Saturday, paid for his food, carried his own tray and happily chatted with customers.

While common in Western countries, such impromptu interactions are unusual for senior Chinese officials, who have a reputation for carefully stage-managing appearances through the Communist Party's propaganda arm. (REUTERS)

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