Dhan - An Egg-Shaped Waffle from Taiwan
Walking towards east from London Bridge along the Thames river, you will come across an interesting market called Rope Walk at Maltby Street. When exploring the market, it is not hard to find some local street food, such as traditional Scottish fried eggs, fresh beer by local brewery, fresh hand-made pesto sauce and freshly squeezed olive oil by the local farm, etc.. Besides, there are some vintage shop with an eclectic of second-hand crafts and furniture. You can always be surprised by a glimpse of some small object that is unique and well-designed. It is worth to spend a weekend, walking slowly, exploring around in the market. And you will have a feeling of wandering around in the 19th century. If you are lucky, you will find something amazing, be it a hand-made silver craft, be it a hand-made candle blend the fresh citrus with calm santal wood, be it a prewashed cotton apron with natural aged effect.
However, it is more surprising that a Taiwanese traditional street can be found among the stalls. Not far from the entrance, an Asian girl is making Taiwanese egg waffle behind a delicate dining car, surrounded by a crowd. The wooden dining car has been painted in black, which adds a sedate and elegant atmosphere. The bare copper pipes are decorated with some dried flowers. There are some decorative bulbs intertwined with the dried flowers, which lights up the dining car. On the dining car, there are several containers filled with various homemade sauce and paste. Give it a try and you will be impressed by the homemade sea salt caramel and vanilla custard, longan honey and peanut brittle shipped from Taiwan.
The owner of the dining car, Yi Yun is a girl from Taiwan. This lovely dining car is designed by her. She and her friends made it out together in the car park. Wherein each piece of wood, every copper pipe, every screw, shows the care and wishes of the craftsman. It is worth mentioning that Yi Yun has a very impressive personal experience. She has operated a cafe for four years, traveled to more than 10 countries, and has been a coach surfer. All these experiences seem to form the positive and outgoing personality of Yi Yun, expressed through her speech and behaviours.
While waiting for the egg waffle, Yi Yun enjoys chatting with her customers. They are sharing their memories, culture and fun experiences. Soon, a box of freshly baked egg waffle is done. The egg shaped waffle is covered with delicious homemade sauce, sprinkled with peanut brittle.
This small dining car recalls collective memories of hometown and childhood. It also attracts people who are interested in Eastern culture. We meet here, exchange our stories, and leave the market with stories of others.
Q1.What makes you want to have a stall of egg waffle in the market?
It comes my second year of staying in London with my working holiday visa. My first job in London was an assistant manager of a cafe. But during the four-month experience as an assistant manager, I know more about myself. I am the person who prefer to create rules rather than follow the rules of others. Because I have four-year experience of running a cafe in Taipei, having a shop cannot excite me. What I want most and cherish most now is freedom. However, I am still interested in food and beverage industry. And I love visiting local food market. Especially those markets in London, they are very creative and diverse. Then, becoming a market vendor came to my mind. I think I can have more contact with various people and I can enjoy more freedom. And the cost is low to start up a stall. Being a market vendor enable me to show my creativity, and to communication with the city in my way.
Q2. Is there any interesting thing when thinking of a name?
In fact, it was a nightmare choosing a name and designing LOGO. When I told my friends that I am going to sell egg waffle, they are all very excited in giving a name. At first, I want to call it EGGake, which is a combination of ‘egg’ and ‘cake’. And I suddenly have an idea of the logo based on the name EGGake. However, some local friends pronounce the word EGGake in a way out of my expectation. And they told me with a strong smile that EGGake reminds them of something quite dirty. So I decided not using EGGake. Later, a friend of mine, who is the founder of Oh Comely magazine, suggested that I can try using the Chinese name. However, the Chinese name of egg cake is ‘JI DAN GAO’ which is too long and too complicated for those non-Chinese speakers. So finally, I decided to use Dhan, the Chinese pronunciation of ‘egg’, as the brand name. Because our egg waffle is an egg-shaped cake with “EGG” written on it and served in an egg box. It is all about eggs. So, I think ‘Dhan’ is very representative.
Q3. Why do you want to bring Taiwanese egg waffle to the UK?
For me, egg waffle is very representative of Taiwanese street food. It is a collective memory of every Taiwanese childhood. It can be considered as Taiwanese culture. It exists in the daily life of every Taiwanese. We are so familiar with it in Taiwan so that we just take it for granted. But when we leave Taiwan, we cannot get access to this kind of egg waffle, so we miss it so much. It is a taste of nostalgia.
Find out more information about Dhan on http://www.dhanwaffle.com/