Tue, Jan 14, 2014 - Page 11 News List

Restaurants returning to coal to cut costs
瓦斯漲價 麵店改燒炭熬湯

A man surnamed Lai, the owner of a beef noodle shop, lights coal under a pot of beef soup in Yilan County’s Wujie Township on Jan. 7.
賴姓的牛肉麵店老闆一月七日於宜蘭縣五結鄉燒炭熬大骨湯。

Photo: Yang Yi-min, Liberty Times
照片:自由時報記者楊宜敏

The price of household gas cylinders keeps going up and the costs of running a business continue increasing, leaving many shops little room to make a profit. A beef noodle shop owner in Yilan County’s Wujie Township surnamed Lai has been racking his brain for ways to save on costs. He finally decided to return to traditional methods by using coal to cook his beef broth. Flustered and infuriated, Lai says that President Ma Ying-jeou’s incessant claims about the economy being a top priority are all lies.

Lai says that he is afraid of losing regular customers if consumers are forced to cover the increasing cost of raw materials. After taking quality into consideration and unwilling to cheat by reducing ingredients, Lai decided to alter his cooking methods to save on costs by taking costly liquefied petroleum gas out of the equation before anything else.

Lai says that running a beef noodle establishment requires the gas to constantly be in use, such as when making the broth, which uses the fuel from the time you open shop until close. One standard 20kg household gas cylinder only lasts two or three days, while one 18kg box of charcoal costs NT$420 and lasts three or four days, saving quite a bit on costs.

Although coal saves money, shops must make sure they have adequate ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Not every shop is suitable, however, and all safety precautions must be taken before coal is used.

When it comes to his grievances over saving costs, Lai could not help but complain that “it is all Ma Ying-jeou’s fault,” begging the question what Ma is actually doing to help the economy. Since Ma took office, the economy has not improved, the nation’s businesses languish, people are destitute and everyone’s wallets are suffering, which Lai says make people frugal when shopping and eating out and difficult for businesses to stay afloat. During the flag raising ceremony on New Year’s Day when the master of ceremonies said Ma was “stepping down” he really should have stepped down, Lai says.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. infuriate v.

使大怒;觸怒 (shi3 da4 nu4; chu4 nu4)

例: The woman’s provocations infuriated her host.

(這位女士的挑釁觸怒其東道主。)

2. priority n.

優先;重點 (you1 xian1; zhong4 dian3)

例: This is a priority. Please handle it promptly.

(這件事頗重要。請優先處理。)

3. frugal adj.

花錢少的;節約的 (hua1 qian2 shao3 de5; jie2 yue1 de5)

例: Being frugal doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t know how to have a good time.

(不喜歡花錢不代表不懂得玩得開心。)


桶裝瓦斯價格持續飆升,高漲的經營成本,讓許多店家喘不過氣來,宜蘭縣五結鄉一家牛肉麵老闆老賴,苦思如何節省成本,決定改回傳統方式,用炭火熬大骨湯;老賴氣急敗壞地說,馬英九總統口口聲聲說要拚經濟,「根本都是說假的!」

老賴說,原物料漲價,若轉嫁到消費者身上,又擔心老主顧會跑光,他為兼顧品質,不願偷工減料,只好在烹煮細節下工夫,藉此節省成本,其中,所費不貲的瓦斯,成了被「砍頭」的首要對象。

老賴說,做牛肉麵生意,瓦斯幾乎不能停,像是熬大骨湯頭時,必須從開店開到打烊,二十公斤裝的瓦斯,一桶只能用二到三天,反觀木炭一箱十八公斤,要價四百二十元,可用三到四天,改用炭火後,省下不少開銷。

不過,炭火雖省,店內一定要通風,以防一氧化碳中毒,但並非每家小吃店都適用,使用之前,必須做好安全評估才行。

說到節省成本牢騷,老賴忍不住抱怨,「都是馬英九害的」!拚經濟拚到哪裡去?上台至今,不見景氣好轉,現在台灣百業蕭條,人民苦哈哈,大家荷包瘦了,購物、外食時顯得斤斤計較,店家生意更難做,馬在元旦升旗典禮被司儀說「下台」,是真該下台了。

(自由時報記者楊宜敏)

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