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Night market vendor builds brand with Beimen oysters

Night market vendor builds brand with Beimen oysters

by S. J. Yang and Flor Wang CNA staff writers "Why do oysters grown in my hometown have to be branded as from somewhere else?" That is a question that drove Chiu Yong-jen (???), a former employee at the science park in Tainan, to start his own oyster business. Chiu, 27, is from a family of oyster farmers in the southern city's Beimen (??) District. "Since the days of grandfather, my family had been eking out a living by farming oysters, which is such a laborious task," he said. "Whenever a typhoon hit, we'd be left without a penny. Sometimes my father had no money to pay our school fees." With those memories of hardship embedded in his mind, Chiu went to work at a high-tech company in the Tainan Science Park after he graduated from school. His aim was to get as far away as possible from anything to do with oysters. For four years Chiu stuck to his plan, until one day he saw a supplier packaging Beimen oysters and labeling them as from the neighboring county of Chiayi. "Oysters grown in Beimen are so fresh, delicious and free from pollution. I wondered why they had to be labeled as from Dongshih or Budai (in Chiayi)," he said. The question persisted in Chiu's mind and he began to feel an urge to do something to promote his hometown's top-quality oysters. In July 2014, he quit his job at the science park and used all his savings to buy a small secondhand vehicle and convert it into a mobile food truck. He then began procuring oysters and other seafood grown by his father and friends in Beimen. Today, Chiu's food truck is a common sight in the Yongkang and Sinying night markets in Tainan. He sells fresh grilled oysters, shrimps, mullet roe and other seafood cultivated in Beimen. "I usually harvest the fresh oysters and make the necessary preparations early in the morning and cook in front of the truck at night," he said. Chiu said being a small business owner is a much bigger challenge than working in an office as a company employee. "But it gives me a sense of achievement, especially when I see customers enjoying my grilled oysters, he said. "I am so happy, particularly when I get encouragement from my hometown folks." Apart from his night market business, Chiu now provides customized services for weddings, parties, and alumni and family gatherings, some as far away as in northern Taiwan. "I just want to walk my own path and build my own business brand," he said.


Updated : 2021-09-20 23:26 GMT+08:00