How Tomato arrived in China

 

watercolor with paper cut

watercolor with paper cut

 Last year, I was having lunch in a local restaurant in Qingdao China. In front of me was a streaming hot bowl of tomato and egg soup. Somehow my mind was thinking what I read of how tomato came to China.

Now a day, tomato is commonly uses in Chinese cooking but few knew how arrived in China. The Chinese character of tomato (蕃茄) means foreign vegetable which indicated it is not native in China. .

A few years ago I picked up a self published book at a church book sale it called “bamboo sprouts and maple buds” by Martin W. Johns it is a account of life if a missionary family growing up in western china from 1913 to 1925. .His parents were Canadian born in Ontario, Canada.. In one of the chapters, He mentioned his parents brought tomato seeds with them to China and it flourished in their garden. Tomato was foreign to the Chinese and the taste had not caught on among the Chinese until they had left china.

One time they were having a picnic and their tomatoes caused of great deal of curiosity to the crowds of onlookers. His Mother would hand one over to be sample and were entertained by watching the grimaces as one after another tasted the acid fruit and spat it out on the ground

Interesting how almost 100 years later, tomato has became so much the common vegetable in China but few know about the Canadian connection.

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