Shaxian chefs serve up a taste of home
Born into a farming family, Mao's parents couldn't afford his education and he quit school at the age of 16. He made a living as a construction worker until he realized that Shaxian food was becoming increasingly popular in big cities and could be a profitable business.
He opened his first eatery in Fuzhou in 1997. Eight years later he decided to leave because his customers told him that Fujian people working outside the province were eager for a taste of home.
In 2005, he moved to Jincheng and to his surprise, not only Fujian people, but also Shanxi people, had the taste for Shaxian food.
His eatery had 10 tables, and according to him customers needed to wait in line most of the time for a spot.
"Lots of businessmen liked to eat my food, especially after they finished a dinner party at which they just drunk wine without eating any food. They liked to eat a bowl of noodles to fill their stomachs," he said.
"I would call the next customer in as soon as one stood up from the table. Every day I started work at 8 am and ended 19 hours later at 3 am," he said.