Shenzhen's Lewanjia No 1 Productive Community Restaurant has survived in a notoriously fickle industry by serving up revolution on a plate. Its dishes are not that out of the ordinary, but the Cultural Revolution-themed eatery - one of many restaurants capitalising on China's political upheavals to have opened since the mid-1990s - has made a business out of nostalgia for the 1960s and 70s while a succession of neighbouring businesses have opened and closed during the past five years. From the outside the restaurant is indistinguishable from its neighbours, but inside it is set apart by big red banners hanging from the ceiling, staff dressed in Red Guard uniforms, and the revolutionary song and dance performances. Restaurant owner Luo Yefu , 33, said he hit on the idea for the retro canteen after hearing his father's fond memories of the Cultural Revolution. 'My father and most of his friends were PLA soldiers and zhiqing [students sent to the countryside] during the Cultural Revolution. They would get together in restaurants and karaoke clubs to talk about the past and sing the old songs of those days,' Mr Luo said. 'They always laughed at their children and grandchildren and said they were ignorant about that time. They would say, 'Do you know what a re-education camp is? Do you know what the Great Leap Forward was? You know nothing'. 'Their discussions made me think that it might be a good idea to have a place to recreate the everyday life of those times, a place where old people could remember the past and the young could learn the spirit of the elders.' Su Ruihong , a patron in her mid-50s, said the restaurant looked like a typical collective canteen of the time, but there was one significant difference. 'We can order wild birds, seafood and many delicious dishes from the menu and have to pay hundreds of yuan for them. But back then, we only had taro and corn to eat after a hard day of labour,' Ms Su said. 'Now we can enjoy time with our friends, but in the past we were trying to eat to survive. How could it be the same?' The distinction is lost on the many university students who drop into the restaurant for dinner. 'The period of the 1960s and 1970s is so attractive to us. People at that time were committed and society was fairer and safer than now. There was less corruption and more friendship,' 20-year-old student Huang Chao said. 'It's really fun to have dinner here. But, to be honest, I have no idea what life was like during the Cultural Revolution.' South China Normal University history professor Liu Na said the theme restaurant presented a superficial and misleading impression of the Cultural Revolution era. 'Collective canteens were a big thing in the 1950s during the Great Leap period and Red Guards belonged to the late 1960s. The restaurant mixed them up. That will confuse young people,' Professor Liu said. 'What happened during the period was also very complex.' But she said theme restaurants were simply businesses and should not be responsible for educating the public. 'People can't learn about history from the restaurant. Go there and have fun. That's all.'