Grill bill

The little-known Chinese city of Zibo in Shandong province is now among the country’s top domestic tourists drawer because of its popular barbecue.

After Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in January, the revenge travel fever hit China and people looked for places to visit. Zibo trended online since then, hyped by social media influencers’ posts of its cheap skewered meat that sparked viral videos of crowds eating and drinking and revelers dancing and singing around dining tables, BBC reported.

The more than 1,270 barbecue joints that sprouted in the city earned Zibo the title of “China’s outdoor barbecue capital,” BBC quoted the president of Zibo’s Barbecue Association as saying.

Local authorities hyped Zibo more by setting up a barbecue zone that can accommodate 10,000 people and feature live band performances, according to BBC.

Buses and trains brought tourists to and from the hottest barbecue spots, the report added.

If Zibo’s barbecues can attract millions of visitors to the Chinese city, an Australian version may bring in millions of cash to a former United States Marine.

The 25-year-old American soldier named Evan James Williamson, however, is not venturing into the skewering business. Instead, he is suing the American and Australian governments for $5 million in damages after getting severely injured in a barbecue mishap while serving at the Darwin Army base in 2019.

According to the lawsuit of the bomb technician, he lighted a barbecue griller to cook hot dogs and burgers unaware that gas was leaking from the defective equipment. Flames then engulfed him burning 30 percent of his body.

Williamson blamed his injuries, discharge in 2021, and depression on senior members of the US Marines and Australian Defence Force for being negligent in warning soldiers that the griller was unusable, ABC News reported.

He included in the lawsuit the army base’s private contractor responsible for the upkeep of the military facility, claiming it knew that “the barbecue constituted a significant danger of serious injury or death to any person who may use it,” according to ABC News.

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