Wartime Recipe: Bombing Tokyo (18 June 2016)
On the 18th of June the British Chinese Armed Forces Heritage Project has launched a new exciting community workshop on the preparation of a Chinese dish from the Sino-Japanese War. ‘Wartime Recipes’ explores the ties between food and war, redrawing the invisible lines of history transforming Chinese cuisine throughout the ferocious war the saw some Chinese territories fighting for their independence from Japan between 1894 and 1895. Wartimes are not merely periods of suffering, but also acts of recreation. During the war, dishes are created and recreated to meet people's physical as well as psychological needs.
The dish presented was Crispy Guoba Rice with Shrimps in Tomato Sauce, also known as 'Bombing Tokyo (轟炸東京),' ' a widely known dish being recreated and represented during the war with strong symbolic significance. According to Sasu, a Chinese writer, this dish was served on the farewell dinner to the cabin crew of the bomber by General Pai Chung-hsi for good wishes.
The recipe includes products that were not easily purchasable at the time such as seafood, but also ketchup in spite of fresh tomatoes, which were not available on the market at the time.
A short introduction of the dish and its historical context was followed by a cooking demonstration in our teaching kitchen at the Ming-Ai (London) Institute. Following the demonstration, the participants had the chance of wearing our colorful aprons and reproduce the dish themselves, as well as finally enjoying the dish.