President Obama Does Dim Sum in San Francisco Chinatown

(Image credit: Susan Walsh/AP Photo)

SAN FRANCISCO - Chalk it up to all the focus on U.S.-China relations this week: President Obama has developed a hankering for Chinese food.

Less than an hour after landing here for an afternoon and evening of re-election fundraisers, Obama directed the presidential motorcade to swing by the city's Chinatown, where he made a surprise visit to the Great Eastern restaurant for lunch.

The president strolled into the Jackson Street restaurant, sans suit coat and with sleeves rolled up, startling patrons who were chowing on plates of lo mein and drawing shrieks of "Obama! Obama!" according to a press pool reporter on scene.

"How are you? Good to see you!" Obama said, greeting the mostly Chinese-American crowd.

At the counter in the back of the restaurant, Obama forked over five $20 bills at the register, leaving with two big plastic bags of food.

"I got a dim sum selection," Obama told reporters on the scene before heading back outside to his ride.

Obama will spend the afternoon mingling behind closed doors with 20 affluent donors at the Intercontinental Hotel. Each paid $35,800 to attend.

Then, he heads to the Nob Hill Masonic Center for a large, 2,500-person fundraiser featuring a concert by Soundgarden's Chris Cornell.

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