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Two Restaurateurs in Yushu

25 April 2010

Before the deadly earthquake in Yushu, there were two men running two Sichuan style restaurants, one is named Liu Anhua (刘安华) and another is called Ning Jian (宁健). Liu and Ning are, indubitable, two of the most unfortunate men in the world: In less than two years, they found themselves right in the middle of the two most powerful China quakes in 30 years.

Prior to 12 May, 2008, Liu and Ning contentedly lived with their respective families in Anchang Town of Beichuan County, the heart of the Sichuan earthquake. After that fateful day, in their effort to rebuild their lives, they applied for a government-sponsored zero interest business loan and moved to Yushu to open restaurants, one is called Sichuan Flavour (川味王酒家), and another is titled Fragrant Dishes (四海碟碟香).

However, the dishes were smashed and the flavour disappeared when earth raged again on 14 April, 2010, and the two business men once again took refugee at a relief centre, where they met each other. They exchanged their extraordinary life stories, and both were amazed that they had so much in common, and both agreed that they were in fact two of the luckiest men on the planet as they went through two deadly earthquakes but were still in one piece. Eventually both reached a conclusion that since they were so lucky, they should do something for those less fortunate.

So they decided to open a soup kitchen to offer free meals to the people in Yushu. Actually they preferred to call it free restaurant, because they were restaurateurs and because they believed they could deliver not just soup with bread but steamed rice and stir-fry dishes (with or without bread).

Their idea was immediately backed by another two business men of Sichuan native, interior decoration master He Pingyan (何平宴) and furniture store owner Wang Wenfai (王文飞), which was quite handy considering their professions. Soon more offers of help came in. Liu Houxiao (刘厚晓), a farmer originally from Henan Province (河南), sent vegetables to their kitchen, and Jiao Shiyong (焦世勇), a wielding shop owner migrated to Yushu from Gansu Province (甘肃), equipped their kitchen with a giant iron stove. Then came along two Tibetan young ladies, Zhoudou (卓尕) and Zhouma (卓玛), who volunteer themselves as kitchen hands. And then, the most important support arrived from the local authority who built the restaurant with 3 large tents.

On 21 April, a week after the devastation, the restaurant opened to offer free lunches. When the news spread, a long queue quickly lined up around the stir-fry wok. Fragrance of the spicy Sichuan cuisine once again circulates the chilly streets of Yushu, and the lunch boxes and dishes are again filled with gourmet fares.

Zhuoma Lamao (卓玛拉毛), a 60-year old ethnic Tibetan woman, was seen on Friday holding her lunch box that contained bean sprouts, chayote and pork meat, tomato and green pepper and scrambled egg, and, steamed rice, of course. It was her first proper meal since the earthquake. "We do have enough food at home sent by the government, but they are all instant noodles and mineral water bottles. After a week surviving on the fast food, we've all got sick of it," she said and stopped eating in the half way. "I'll save some for my husband," explained she.

(Source of info / photos: 新京报)

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Since Friday 23 April, 2010, Chinese authority stared demolishing the buildings damaged in the earthquake to clear the way for a massive construction project of building temporary accommodations with timber boards. An eco-friendly new city of Yushu along with permanent residences is planned to complete in three years.

(Source of info / photo: 广州日报)

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