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May 24, 2011

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City street food with ooh la la

TWO French students joined vendors on the city's "night food street," setting up a stall and selling traditional crepes outside Tongji University.

The pair even fled alongside other unlicensed purveyors of street delicacies after urban management officials arrived at the scene.

Their food stall created a stir in the city after witnesses uploaded pictures and web users traveled to the university to sample the Gallic gastronomic delights.

However, the duo's culinary fame also came to the attention of police who called the university to put a stop to the business, officials told Shanghai Daily yesterday.

Officers teamed up with the university authorities to track down the two students whose visas ban them from conducting any business in China.

The French students - identified as Benoit and Julien - are studying at Tongji University in an exchange program.

They launched their crepe empire on a white tricycle, complete with a wooden box and a large umbrella, on Chifeng Road, near the southern entrance of Tongji University's downtown campus, last weekend.

One cooked the crepes while the other applied sauces from a range offered to customers. Each crepe sold for 4 yuan (61 US cents).

The French cuisine proved popular among locals, with Chinese students taking the opportunity to buy a tasty snack and practice their foreign language skills at the same time.

Benoit and Julien said they had tasted a lot of Chinese street food around the university and found it delicious, reported Youth Daily.

Inspired by that, they decided to give locals a taste of traditional French cuisine.

However, the duo seemed to have little idea about the urban management policies toward unlicensed stallholders.

Customer Yang Kejie wrote on, a social networking website similar to facebook, that the pair seemed unaware of legal problems until urban management officials appeared while they were making a crepe for him.

Yang and others urged the street chefs to make a run for it, and - once they'd finished making his crepe - the French students hopped on to their tricycle and sped off.

The story of French guys selling crepes and tangling with local urban management officials soon become a big online news item.

The university was yesterday trying to contact the students to inform them that police had put an end to their French street food ambitions.


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