Audra Ang: 7 Years of Food and Reporting Memories in China

On the eve of her departure from , AP reporter Audra Ang remembers her seven years in the country by recounting some of her most memorable experiences, including a meal offered her by an impoverished farmer’s family whose crops had been devastated by :

“My heart aches. I have five mouths to feed and no way to do ,” said Tu, a skinny man with high cheekbones and sun-browned skin. He rowed his boat as he spoke, zigzagging across his submerged padi fields and recounting the ’ ultimately futile fight to shore up the dikes.

Please, he said at the end of the afternoon, join us for dinner.

The Tu family served a whole fish, greens right out of the garden, tender stewed , a freshly slaughtered chicken — the last one — and its eggs, scrambled. Despite the disaster, they shared their limited provisions without a thought. They sat down at the table only after I insisted I wouldn’t touch a mouthful unless they ate with us.

The food was delicious but it was the gentle, down-to-earth that made it really memorable.

At the end of the meal, Tu pushed away my clumsy attempts to give him some money, saying with a smile “We are just grateful you are telling our story.”

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