Even by Presidential standards, Saturday must have been a busy day for Xi Jinping. In what appears to be a late year public relation push, Xi on Saturday landed up -- apparently unannounced and without a heavy security retinue -- at a dumpling shop in Beijing where he stood his turn in queue for food.
He earlier visited a heat supply company and a nursing home where he interacted with workers and patients.
The top Chinese leadership is mostly perceived to have little or no touch with the general public unlike political leaders, say in India, who have to have a semblance of connection with at least those living in their constituencies.
Since taking over as the head of the country and the Communist Party of China (CPC) earlier this year, Xi has tried to change that perception; a visit to an army facility where he waited with soldiers in line to pick his lunch plate was splashed all over the state media.
This time was no different.
Calling it the "man of the people appearance", state media reported that the public had appreciated Xi’s lunch with commoners.
"Xi joins diners for dumplings" was the headline in state-run English newspaper, China Daily.
"It was a normal, busy day when Guo Xueqin, a cashier of the Qing Feng Steamed Dumpling Shop's Xicheng district branch, welcomed a group of customers lined up in front of the counter to order. Suddenly, a middle-aged visitor in a dark coat entered the restaurant with a few followers and joined the line.
Guo recognized Xi at first glance but tried to stay calm when the President approached her to order," the report said.
Xi ordered six pieces of dumplings filled with pork and green onion, a traditional snack along with a portion of vegetables.
Workers and customers found him to be "humble" and "dignified" and gracious enough to allow photographs being taken.
Before lunch, Xi, visited a company that provides central heating to Beijing in winter and then a nursing home for the elderly.
"The President expressed his greetings to the front-line staff of the company and asked them to work meticulously to ensure all households can enjoy a warm winter and a happy holiday," the report said.
At the nursing home, he interacted with elderly inmates enquiring about facilities and costs.
He took rounds of the dining room, gym and clinic and posed for group photographs with the staff and inmates.
And for the record, Xi paid in cash for his lunch; a princely sum of 21 yuan (around Rs210).