poem was written for the tribute of this taste.
The sky was dark,
Morning started in gray,
If not because of Tara,
There would be no new taste for that day.
we gained our fame in having a successful shop, a number of shopping mall
developers were approaching us, with a wish if we would relocate our shop in
their mall. For the reason, the place we were with at that moment -- a complex
within Maritime Square, a property being owned by the Mass Transit Railway in
Hong Kong, was subjected to demolition.
of the many, a softly speaking girl, in her early thirties impressed us with her
sincere urge, in an invitation to visit the shopping mall, where she was
currently managing – Dragon Center. A huge nine stories shopping area, in the
center of a town, with majority of the residents in that district either
depending on welfare or are senior citizens.
there, we understood her problems in managing such a mall, the buying power had
to stay in the lowest level, that was and still is a place for below the
standard mark-up selling price establishments. Most people same as us, would
never dream to do business in such a place, unless there was no other place to
we told her our worries, could see sadness in her eyes. Again, sincerely, she
told us, were right about those problems in her mall; really need us to be
there, to stimulate the depression.
order to cope with our fear, she voluntarily lowering all the expenses that
would impose on us, so that, we could arrange a lower selling price for that
of the strong hold in her words, in convincing us, was that -- since the
majority of the people in Hong Kong are lowering their standard of living in the
coming future, it is about time for us to find a solution for such a crisis.
agreed to sign a one-year lease contract with Dragon Center, after visited the
other prospective malls, found her suggestion was more interesting, worth a
used three months, to make plans for our strategy in coping with this special
situation. The followings are few of the points in our plans:-
We accessed those flavours for shrimp crackers, created with customers’ acceptance during our time in Maritime Square, there were 30 altogether. From the collection, selected those easily recognizable by the majority local Chinese residents in that area.
a service cart, in a way, that every customer could see all the work been
carried out clearly, on top of the sales counter.
Our company artists had all product descriptions, written in easy understanding Chinese characters.
five new flavours for the shrimp crackers, which was intended for the aged
five new flavours were – Cashew, American Ginseng, Creamy Sesame, Black
Sesame and Cilantro.
products would be selling at the same mark-up price, and in the lowest price
grand opening was a hit in the success; customers were queuing up in front our
counter. This situation persisted.
the third day, that girl who raised our interest in this mall came to us in
tears, delivered a bad news. Her boss, who backed from a trip, just sacked her.
She could have her job back, if she could convince us to made a new lease
contract with much higher rent.
such ethic in a management, we certainly refused such proposal, but chose to
leave after 30 days; for this was another way, the girl could have her job back.
If we were not doing so, due to the high unemployment situation in Hong Kong, it
would be impossible for her to find another job in the same high-ranking
reason, drove us to make this rapid firm decision, is that, the person who was
managing a cell phone accessory shop, right at the back of our shop, was a heavy
smoker, while one of our sales lady was carrying her six months baby.
to this problem, his shop turned out to be the only meeting ground for smokers
within the whole shopping arcade. As this mall has no official smoking
area, in fact, regulation states, nobody is allowed to smoke anywhere in this
mall. Surprisingly, one or two of those regulation keepers or arcade wardens
occasionally joined those smokers, enjoyed a brief freedom in a smoking party.
told them that our pregnant sales lady felt dizzy after inhaled their tobacco
smoke. But in vain, nothing changed and nothing was done to end our concern.
these 30 days, each day gave us new and interesting experiences with amazing
one occasion, an elderly educated Lady, came and stood next to our counter,
warned every customers who approached us, that what we were selling were junks,
would cause lots of damage if they ate it. Her fatal words could not stop any of
our customers from buying; still, she carried on for a few days.
day, we closed the counter, and waited for her appearance. Asked her if we could
have a talk for an understanding.
she nodded, we started by telling her our products were carefully produced
without any adulterate harmful substances. The reason we created flavours for
shrimp cracker, was trying to make it healthier. She agreed to purchase a packet
of shrimp crackers, and selected the Creamy Sesame Flavour, for a trial.
next day, she came back, picked Cashew flavour for her packet of crackers. Stood
in the same position as before, this time, she told our customers, she did enjoy
our created tastes, while she was eating those crackers in front of our sales
fact, besides her, there were many more other individuals, who used to hang
around our counter side walks, waited for our time off, or occasional breaks,
and exchanged a few friendly words with us, we really appreciated those friendly
gestures, would never forget them for the better memory in Hong Kong.
retired street pancake vendor, who insisted to let us have his secret pancake
recipe, to commemorate his founding us as a pioneer hero in creations. We were
really flattered, and told him there bound to be another person with the same
will as us, might come his way one day, and this person might need his recipe
for a better future. His agreed with a smile, and said he never met anyone like
us in Hong Kong, who would turn down such an offer.
one time, a young chef in his late twenties, came everyday, told us frankly that
he wanted to start something, or a business of his own with the same idea from
us. But, he assured that, he would use the same idea only for bakery, a business
that we would never consider.
neighbourhood street gang leader always came with his beautiful girl friend, and
always in such a hurry, for a packet of extra spicy crackers.
usually behaved well and queued up in a single file or Indian file in front of
day, an elderly lady, in her quick tempter started another line at the other end
of the counter, and demanded for our service, while this young man with his girl
friend were with short and nasty tempter for sure, threaten that elderly lady
back to the line where he had been stood there for ages.
grew when that lady refused, because in split of the second, there were people
lining up behind her, at that moment, the whole scene seemed freezing.
was keeping quiet, until this street gang leader ordered and shouted to that
elderly lady, that she better get on with her purchase as quick as she could,
and every others behind her had to get back to his line. After everybody did
what he suggested, things were back to normal.
day, this young man came to us again for his regular purchase, greeted us
politely and apologized for what he did yesterday. All we could say was thanking
him for his wise decision, he laughed heartily after his pretty girl friend
smiled as beautiful as ever, cuddled him closer as she was admiring a hero.
family of three, held a small shop at the end of the arcade, sold their shoes
with unbelievable bargaining prices. The husband and his wife strove for their
earnings, all for the hope of their son in his early teens.
child with tangible interests on what we had written for our products, he could
spend all his spare time, listened to all the stories behind those flavours from
our service cart. With the permission from the parents, our shop became his
young mother, who came regularly just for that Hong Kong Imperial Crab flavour,
she rarely said anything, but, on the last day of our presence in that mall, she
told us, she would miss that taste and us, after we were gone. Again, that sad
moment came to our minds.
lady stationer who was managing her shop displaying hundreds of Made-in-China
items, at the pitch of her voice, shoppers from several yards away, would learn
that those mark-up prices were just half the market value. Because of her
shouts, she needed breaks to recover from exhaustion; would come to us, for her
selection in those Asian tastes, she could never get used to western or Middle
memorable incident, a group of four, sometimes five people, stood and looked at
us from a distance for a number of days. One day, out of curiosity, we went over
to them, to see if we could explain to them about what we were selling.
we found out they were handicapped, they could not speak, we leaded them through
the crowd to our counter, and show them the list of flavours, which they could
choose for their crackers. At that moment, first time, we were seeing smiles on
each one of their faces.
that day on, they came everyday, always carrying a smile in their faces, chose
and tried almost every taste we had, and busted in laughter when they found some
taste interesting, in this way, our friendships developed without a word
speaking to each other.
what we had experienced in this shopping arcade, we developed a special flavour,
named after West Kowloon Shrimp Flavour and Fiery West Kowloon flavour, to match
the average taste buds of this area. These tastes worked well and became
distinguish the first day arrived in our stall.
day, we created a new flavour, on the 25th day, we felt the sadness as to keep
our promise to leave on the 30th, that day, we were very depressed, and could
not create any new taste.
came Tara, a girl with amiable character, picked Chinese Garlic, Southern
Roaster chicken, English Bacon, French Garden and Cilantro, asked us to mix them
together, and shake to mix with her packet of shrimp crackers, after she tasted
it, she let those customers around her to have a try, everybody loved it and
asked for the same mix. Tara smiled beautifully and said that would be our new
taste for that day.
of such joy from this girl Tara, a poem was written as a tribute to her.
started a new trend for us, from that time on; we let our customers create their
own preferences with the flavours from our collection.
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