School principal from S. Taiwan seeking 'wonton mama'

Man visits Taipei yearly looking for kindly stranger from almost four decades ago

Shih Shi-zhi (Shih Shi-zhi photo)

Shih Shi-zhi (Shih Shi-zhi photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An elementary school principal from southern Taiwan came all the way to Taipei City to look for a woman who ran a noodle stall and always gave him extra wontons 35 years ago during his student days.

Pingtung County Jien Guo Elementary School Principal Shih Shi-zhi (施世治) came to Taipei's Nanchang Park (南昌公園) during the Dragon Boat Festival with a picket that read, "Looking for my benefactor who sold noodles here 35 years ago." He also went door to door asking furniture store owners and elderly people in local temples whether they knew the whereabouts of the "wonton noodle mama" who ran a noodle stall near the park, CNA reported Sunday (June 28).

Shih told CNA that he visited the store of his landlord from when he attended a cram school in Taipei, but the owners he knew have passed away, and their children have no memories of the wonton mama.

Shih first posted the story about him and the wonton mama three years ago. He wrote that after he failed the joint college entrance exam, his father spent his savings to enable him to attend a well-reputed cram school in Taipei in preparation for the following year's test.

He recalled that because his family was poor, he disciplined himself into spending no more than NT$500 (US$16) every two weeks. He added that he began to take on a sickly appearance.

Once a week, he would go to eat noodles at a stall near the park. The way the woman there treated him made him feel like he was not a stranger in the city.

Shih went on to say that when he ordered, the woman would always recommend that he order wonton noodles. He would order wonton noodles every time.

His friends did not understand why he would order the same thing every time. Later they found out that his wonton noodles were crucially different.

Shih said he had been going to the wonton mama for half a year before he realized that she was giving him double the normal portion. She buried the extras in the bowl so that others would not be able to tell.

He said tears rolled down his face when he finally figured it out. When he went to thank her, she told him not to cry.

Shih pleaded with the public on Facebook to help him find the wonton mama. He said that if he did find her, he would say, "Thank you, wonton mama. I love you.”

He has vowed to continue coming to Taipei every year looking for the wonton mama until information turns up.