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Travel & Leisure

Chinese factory city finds second life as BBQ boomtown

Zibo's tasty, affordable meat skewers lure crowds via social media

Restaurant patrons in Zibo roast meat skewers on portable grills at their tables. (Photo by Tomoko Wakasugi)

ZIBO, China -- The city of Zibo was once an obscure factory town in eastern China, and not much of a tourist destination, until cheap barbecued-meat skewers put it on the map this spring.

In a part of Zibo where grill houses line the streets, crowds sit at tables where meat skewers roast atop burners. Even though it is a weekday, each restaurant is packed around 6 p.m., and "sold out" signs discourage latecomers.

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