Shopping finds: Ammo recycled into kitchen knives

Shopping finds: Ammo recycled into kitchen knives

KINMEN, Taiwan - Kinmen Island of Taiwan is only about 30 minutes by ferry from Amoy, a city on the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait, in Fujian Province, China.

The island was once the front line of China-Taiwan tensions. In 1958, a huge number of artillery shells were fired at the island from the Chinese shore.

Maestro Wu is a famous store that sells kitchen knives on the island. Wu Tseng-dong, the 56-year-old owner, has been crafting products using remnants of artillery shells found on the island as material.

The shells are cut into rectangular pieces and set to specific lengths before being heated in a furnace. The blades are then sharpened to precision by machines. It takes about 30 minutes to produce one knife.

According to Wu, the business got its start when he received an order to make kitchen knives using shell remnants from a cook who prepared meals for soldiers stationed on the island.

Since then, praise for Maestro Wu knives have circulated by word of mouth. These days, many of the store's products are sold to tourists visiting the island from China.

The shop offers knives designed for professional cooks as well as ordinary homemakers, with a variety of models suited to a wide range of uses. Wu said products priced at about 2,000 Taiwanese dollars (S$84) each tend to sell well.

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