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Wartime evacuees from Dachen remember homeland with special cuisine

Wartime evacuees from Dachen remember homeland with special cuisine

Taipei, March 6 (CNA) Migrants who fled to Taiwan from Dachen, eastern China have never stopped looking back on the life they once led in their homeland despite having settled here since 1955, when they were evacuated from the archipelago, and their nostalgia shows in many ways, particularly in their food. A bistro run by 73-year-old Chang Hsiao-e (???) in New Taipei City has never been short of diners, mostly Dachen natives longing for their familiar cuisine and their children seeking a taste of their parents' memories. The items on the menu of Chang's kitchen on Wuhe New Village (????) in Yonghe District are all Dachen dishes, ranging from stir-fried nian gao (sticky rice cakes), dried eels, and rice noodles with ginger sauce, to fish noodles. Seafood is the main source of food on Dachen, an island group off China's Zhejiang Province, Chang told the CNA Friday. Given that the food ingredients from the sea tend to decay easily if not properly preserved, the residents would either dry their marine catches after treating them with salt, or ground them into puree to produce fish noodles, Chang said. "Dachen's food is full of the smell from the ocean" with the ingredients of dried eels, dried shrimps, fish noodles and dried ginger, she said. Chang is one of over 20,000 Dachen residents who fled from the islands to Taiwan under the escort of the U.S. Seventh Fleet in February 1955, after Nationalist troops were defeated there in attacks by Chinese communist forces. The evacuees were then settled in different places, including Yonghe, which became the largest settlement of Dachen migrants in Taiwan. The historic retreat and the unique culture of Dachen are now being recalled on the 60th anniversary of the evacuation this year. A series of commemorative events will be held Saturday in Yonghe District in New Taipei by the city government and a special committee comprising Dachen natives. They include a photo exhibition organized by CNA to provide information about the wartime period. (By Chang Ming-hsuang and Elizabeth Hsu)


Updated : 2021-09-27 15:01 GMT+08:00