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Kentucky Fried Chicken Serves Up First Meal in China

September 29, 1987

BEIJING (AP) _ About 100 Chinese tourism and poultry officials got their first taste today of American fast food as Beijing’s new Kentucky Fried Chicken served up an invitation-only, pre-opening luncheon.

″They had original-recipe chicken, buns, coleslaw,″ said store manager Khaw Swee Kwang. ″Most of the comment is good. They finished everything.″

The three-story, glass and brick restaurant behind Beijing’s central Tiananmen Square will be the first Western fast-food outlet in China. It also will be the world’s largest fast-food restaurant, with 500 seats.

It originally was scheduled to open Sept. 29, but the date has been pushed back to Nov. 12 due to unspecified electrical problems.

Curious Chinese stood in small groups today outside the restaurant, its doors flanked by twin life-size statues of Colonel Sanders, founder of the Louisville, Ky.-based chain.

″I’ve never eaten it (Kentucky Fried Chicken),″ said Chen Qingzhu, peering inside. ″I came to have a look. After it opens, I’d like to come back and have a meal.″

Several said the prices - nearly 13 yuan ($3.50) for a five-piece chicken dinner - were too high. The average urban resident earns less than 100 yuan a month.

But 25-year-old Hu Jiangshan said, ″It’s only too expensive if you don’t like it.″

Asked if he would like to try the chicken, one elderly man shook his head and pointed to the back of his jaw.

″I don’t dare, I’ve lost too many teeth,″ he said.

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