BEIJING — The Yaoji Chaogan noodle restaurant beneath Beijing's 600-year-old Drum Tower knows Joe Biden.
Management has hung up photos of the U.S. president-elect from when, as vice president, he stopped by for a bowl of noodles and dumplings in 2011.
"We are very happy that Biden was elected," manager Yao Yan said Sunday. "We have already met each other, and we can say that we are old friends."
Biden was visiting Beijing with his granddaughter Naomi. They were being shown around by then-American Ambassador Gary Locke.
In what Chinese newspapers dubbed "noodle diplomacy," Biden ate at a low table before giving onlookers a thumbs-up and a smile.
"Biden was very friendly with Chinese customers," said Yao.
"After that, everyone applauded for Biden. There was the feeling of the joy of laughter, and a cheerful mood," Yao said. "Biden is a very humorous and kind person."
Customer Lan Ziyi expressed surprise Biden sat at the same tables. Lan took it as a promising sign for relations between China and the U.S. that have sunk to their lowest level in decades.
Yao said Biden is welcome to return.
"We can talk about our old days and friendship while he tastes our snacks and hope that our friendship will last longer," Yao said.