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China: Around The Nation

How a Chinese man’s memories of his hometown dish helped him track down his long-lost family

Man managed to pinpoint city where he grew up years later after eating signature oyster dish from his hometown

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2017, 12:15pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 January, 2017, 1:24pm

A Chinese man who was sold by his own mother as a child has been reunited with his father after 13 years, a newspaper reported.

Li Risheng managed to pinpoint the city where he grew up years later after eating a signature dish from his hometown, the Guangzhou Daily reported.

Li was sold by his mother and two accomplices at the age of seven, but had few memories of where he came from.

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“It was a rainy day, two of my mum’s friends came to our home,” Li told the newspaper.

“They wanted to take me out after a meal, but my father refused. They then sneaked me out.”

Li was eventually sold to his adopted parents and the family moved to Yunfu in Guangdong.

The boy attempted several times to escape, but was always caught, the report said.

He finally left home in the fifth grade of primary school and became a migrant worker.

His determination to find his real family never faded, according to the article.

Li discovered a familiar taste from his childhood when eating a plate of fried oysters in Wenshanzhou in Yunnan province when he was working in the city as a migrant worker early last year.

He believed he was from the Maoming area of Guangdong after the restaurant owner told him the origin of this dish.

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With the help of an organisation helping the victims of trafficking, he gave a DNA sample to Shenzhen’s public security bureau which covers the Maoming area.

Several month later police tracked down his father Li Shengxiong.

Father and son were reunited earlier this month.