Ironically, it is precisely the return to China that might help preserve at least some remnants of Macanese cooking. As the hand-over approaches, Macanese both at home and abroad have taken a keen interest in keeping alive their community's unique history, culture, and, yes, food. Many Macanese left home in the 1950s and '60s to escape the shadow of communism in China, forming sizable communities in South America, North America, and, of course, Portugal. In 1993, Macao's government sponsored its first reunion for expatriates. Over seven hundred people attended. In 1996, there were 1,500. The third reunion, scheduled for this month, is expected to draw at least two thousand.