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April 17, 2010

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Robots to cause stir at pavilion restaurant

ROBOTS will make you something to eat at the Shanghai Corporate Pavilion at the World Expo. The pavilion, funded by around 40 local state-owned enterprises, finished construction and outfitting yesterday.

Two robots at a restaurant will serve dishes from different parts of China for 50 yuan (US$7.33) per person.

Four dishes -- chicken cubes in chili sauce, shredded beef with green pepper, sauteed shelled shrimps and shredded meat with beans, will be available to visitors.

The robots can make 10 dishes every five minutes. A 50 yuan set meal includes two of the four dishes and refreshments in a restaurant seating 50 people.

The pavilion invited chefs from different provinces to cook the dishes and every step was programmed into the robots. The chefs found that the dishes made by the robots tasted the same as the ones they had made themselves, a staff member in the restaurant said.

Visitors need only press some buttons to select dishes and the robots will collect ingredients, add sauces and seasonings and cook them while diners watch the process.

On entering the 4,000-square-meter pavilion, nicknamed the Dream Cube, visitors will walk through a long gallery with multimedia displays showing Shanghai's development from a small fishing town to the current metropolis.

At the end of the gallery visitors will "meet" a virtual old man and his granddaughter talking about some social problems caused by the rapid urban development.

Then a Professor Butterfly, played by Chinese actress Xu Jinglei, will appear in a circular theater, guiding visitors to possible solutions shown in different exhibitions in various Expo pavilions.

The environmentally friendly structure is largely transparent and made from recyclable materials.


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