Watch: Bags of KFC delivered to Xi Jinping’s ‘China-style’ hotel in Moscow
Xi Jinping’s delegation in Moscow were holed up on Tuesday ordering mass KFC deliveries to their China-themed hotel complete with a replica of Beijing’s Forbidden City.
The Chinese leader, who is in Moscow for his first visit since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, has shunned the more luxurious hotels near Red Square in favour of a Chinese-owned hotel on the outskirts.
Unlike the Red Square accommodation that typically hosts foreign leaders such as Barack Obama, the Soluxe Hotel in Moscow’s north is a fenced, tightly guarded complex that does not allow any walk-ins.
Film crews filming just outside the hotel on Tuesday afternoon caught a Moscow delivery man unloading what appears to be dozens of KFC bags that were picked up by Chinese staff at the entrance.
Dozens of packages from KFC were delivered to the five-star Soluxe Hotel in Moscow, where Xi Jinping was staying. pic.twitter.com/ObBP3cFteA
— Maria Drutska 🇺🇦 (@maria_drutska) March 21, 2023
The Soluxe Hotel boasts “the largest formal Chinese park outside China”, complete with a model of Beijing’s Forbidden City, pagodas, ponds and a money tree on its 13 acres.
The hotel is indirectly owned by the Chinese National Petroleum Corp.
Tucked away in a commuter suburb with few sights nearby except for an overground rail station, the hotel offers rooms designed using feng shui principles, with panoramic views of the park and marble bathrooms, according to its prospectus.
Moscow traffic has been ground to a halt for two days as police have been blocking roads for Mr Xi who would need to drive about 10 kilometres from the outskirts to get to the Kremlin.
Traffic in parts of Moscow’s Garden Ring, the key beltway around the city centre, has been stopped several times since Mr Xi’s arrival on Monday afternoon for his motorcade, prompting the Moscow City Hall on Tuesday morning to urge motorists to opt for public transport, particularly the metro, as traffic is expected to be challenging later in the day.
KFC is one of the myriad of Western brands that have exited or are preparing to exit the Russian market.
A Madrid-based restaurant operator said last month it has decided to sell its KFC restaurant business in Russia to a different buyer after the owner of the franchise blocked a previous deal.
While in Russia it was McDonald’s that became a symbol of the country’s transition to capitalism and has since been the most popular Western fast food chain, KFC was the pioneer of fast food in China and has grown to occupy at least 40 per cent of the market.
KFC in China has sustained its popularity by adding traditional Chinese dishes such as congee and egg tarts to the menu.