Cycling Weekly went to dinner with George Bush (snr) last night.

Strictly speaking, we didn?t exactly go to dinner with him, but we were definitely in the same room as him, in the cavernous Wangfujing Quanjude Roast Duck restaurant in central Beijing. In fact, we got close enough to get told to ?back off? by his secret service goons. Well done us.

?Your son?s an idiot,? I didn?t have time to say as he left the building.

Eating out has been a daily highlight of Cycling Weekly?s trip to Beijing. The main press centre has a canteen serving internationally-acceptable, watered-down versions of Chinese food. There?s also a McDonalds, which has a depressingly long line of journalists waiting in line. It?s no wonder athletes laugh at us.

But CW has travelled further afield, outside the bubble of the Olympic village, to get our culinary kicks.

Unfortunately, it?s got a bit reckless.

Phil, the occasional CW photographer, started it when he ordered a plate of very finely-sliced pigs ears on my first night in Beijing. These were very tasty, although eating them reminded me in some indefinable and inexplicable way of being a teenager.

The next night, we raised the bar, and ordered the jellyfish. I like jelly. I like fish. Surely I?d like jellyfish?

The warning was that the jellyfish came in a strong-tasting vinegar. Restaurants only serve things in vinegar when they don?t want you to taste them. We forced down a few, but in all honesty, it was like eating thickly-cut cellophane.

Monday night?s treat was sliced pig?s lung. When I say ?treat?, I obviously mean ?culinary aberration?. Pig?s lung combines all the worst features of tripe, with the added challenge that it?s kind of furry. No wonder they served it up with half a ton of raw garlic.

And what were we eating when George Bush made his appearance? Duck brain, which has the consistency of an especially unctuous soft paté. But the good news was that the brain came along with a whole Beijing duck, which was carved for us at our table, and allowed us to eat virtually our own weight in fat. It was absolutely delicious, and worth the year it took off our lives.

Do you want fries with that? Email us at


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