Journalists Wowed by Buffet at APEC Press Center

Journalists in the cafeteria at the International Press Center in Vladivostok. Aleksandr Kryazhev

Russia has gone to great lengths to spruce up Vladivostok for this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, spending billions of dollars to build bridges and the venue for the gathering of international business and political leaders.

Apparently, organizers have splurged on food for the event as well.

Journalists in Vladivostok this week covering the APEC forum are being treated to some of the finest cuisine the Russian budget can buy, including crab salad with mango, pork with Roquefort sauce, and chicken consomme, according to Interfax.

"This is my third APEC summit," a Japanese news agency reporter told Interfax, saying he had been in Hanoi for the 2006 event and in Sydney in 2007. "They've never fed the media like this."

"Mainly there were sandwiches, tea, coffee and juice. But I haven't seen refreshments like these anywhere," he said.

Russian journalists told Interfax that such good food could not be found at a single restaurant in Vladivostok — a city of around 600,000 people not exactly known for its culinary wonders.

Among the items on Tuesday's menu at the press center were smoked cisco (a freshwater whitefish), mortadella with pepper, salmon with cilantro sauce, seaweed with spicy sauce, barbeque chicken wings, lamb shank, grilled sausages, eggplant ragout with cheese, rice with raisins and saffron, multiple kinds of pizza, poached shrimp, and at least a dozen other items, according to Interfax.

The APEC forum in Vladivostok began Sunday and runs until this coming Sunday, with a keynote speech by President Vladimir Putin on Sept. 7. The other country leaders and senior officials who are expected to take part in the annual event include Chinese President Hu Jintao, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon, among others.

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