XINHUA – Mixing condensed milk and charcoal-roasted coffee, barista Li Shihong prepares a classic Indonesian coffee milk, with the aroma of the hot beverage permeating the ambiance.
This flavoured coffee is particularly enjoyed by the local community of overseas Chinese who have returned from Indonesia as it often brings back memories of their overseas life.
Li, 51, is a resident of Xinglong Township in Wanning, a coastal city in the tropical island province of Hainan in south China. He has been running a cafe with his wife Shen Hongmei for two decades in the town.
Both Li and his wife are descendants of returned overseas Chinese. Li’s mother had returned from Indonesia and Shen’s mother returned from Thailand.
Since the 1950s, overseas Chinese from countries and regions such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Japan have successively returned to China and settled in Xinglong, with the Xinglong Overseas Chinese Farm featuring a fusion of multi-ethnic cultures.
The returned overseas Chinese from Southeast Asian nations have brought back the habit of drinking coffee.
“Everyone here drinks coffee and the production process of local coffee is relatively extensive. We want to improve the quality of Xinglong coffee and enrich the taste, so we opened our own coffee shop,” Shen said.
The cafe enjoys a solid reputation among the locals. The couple’s relatives and friends often gather at the cafe to chat about the good old days. The couple learned a lot of interesting stories about their ancestors from their uncles, Lin Shihe and Chen Defu.
Lin, 81, was born on Bangka Island in Indonesia. He arrived in Xinglong on March 4, 1960, and after returning to China, he was assigned to work at a local farm.
Owing to his passion and diligence, Lin got an opportunity to pursue medical studies in Beijing and eventually became a general surgeon. He retired as the dean of a local hospital in Xinglong.