Wed, Jul 10, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Vendor registers name as brand

By Tsai Shu-yuan and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Tourists from Hong Kong pose with skewered egg vendor Chen Min at her stall in Greater Taichung’s Yijhong Street Market on Saturday.

Photo: Tsai Shu-yuan, Taipei Times

An 82-year-old vendor in Greater Taichung specializing in skewered bird’s eggs has emerged victorious from her battle against imitators by creating new flavors as well as gaining approval to register her nickname as a brand.

Chen Min (陳敏) is well-known among students and tourists in Greater Taichung’s Yijhong Street Market District (一中街商圈) for her skewered eggs.

However, Chen’s success sparked the jealousy and ire of a neighboring vendor who was selling the same delicacy, she said.

Four years ago, the envious vendor allegedly sabotaged Chen’s stall and smashed more than 4,000 of her eggs.

As news of the incident spread, many students and netizens came to Chen’s aid, giving her the nickname “Bird’s Egg Grandma” (鳥蛋阿嬤).

However, when the eggs became known as one of the delicacies of Yijhong Street, she started to face increasing competition, with two more stalls setting up on the street to sell the eggs.

There are four vendors selling the same snack within 80m of each other, and each stall has branded itself as the original maker of “Yijhong Street Bird’s Eggs.”

Following the advice of a clock store owner, Chen last year applied to register her trademark as “Bird’s Egg Grandma” with the Ministry of Economic Affair’s Intellectual Property Office.

“I wanted to register my brand name. I don’t want see my good name and flavors copied by other vendors. It was confusing customers,” she said.

Chen applied through an agency specializing in trademark registration, and waited for more than a year for the processing to be completed

However, the wait was finally over when she received her government-approved registration for the “Bird’s Egg Grandma” trademark last month.

Her trademark falls under the category of “mobile vendors” and “fast food carts,” and she owns it until 2023.

Roasting bird’s eggs may seem easy, but a lot skill and experience is required to execute them properly, she said.

“You must use real butter to make them. Years of experience is needed to get the eggs the right golden color and control the heat. They should not be too greasy, smell good and taste delicious, ” she said.

Her reputation has attracted tourists from Japan and Hong Kong.

After obtaining her trademark, she has stayed ahead of the competition by creating new flavors with different combinations of spices and sauces. She has also redecorated her stall with a new billboard and lighting to draw passersby’s attention.

A female student from Taipei recently visited Greater Taichung with her friends and headed to Yijhong Street to buy the thick broad-bean sauce flavor from “Bird’s Egg Grandma.”

The young woman said that while she had at first bought the snack to support Chen, she kept buying it because it tastes great.

By registering her nickname as trademark, Chen has forged her own path in the competitive world of street snacks.

“It has been a difficult working life for me, but you must be courageous and blaze a trail if you want to make a living,” the 82-year-old vendor said.

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