有一種味道叫傳承

黑橋牌香腸
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2013 / 5月

文‧陳建瑋 圖‧金宏澔


有人說,有豬肉的地方就有香腸,在東西方文化的醃製食物中,最能引起共鳴的就是香腸。

在歐洲,香腸製作的歷史可溯自西元前8世紀的高盧地區;經過時代演變,香腸早已是德國的國民美食,至少有1,500種不同口味的香腸。

在台灣,黑橋牌香腸遠近馳名,不僅台灣人喜愛,更是觀光客來台最愛買的伴手禮之一。去年9月,黑橋牌在台南建立台灣第一座香腸博物館,立刻成為熱門觀光景點,至今已吸引10萬名遊客入館參觀。

台灣香腸究竟有何魅力,讓人如此迷戀?且看黑橋牌父子如何用半世紀的堅持,創造出正港台味香腸。


位於台南安平工業區,占地400坪,由台灣知名老品牌黑橋牌建立的香腸博物館,是全世界僅次於德國的第2座香腸博物館。當遊客看見這棟3層樓的建築外牆上,熟悉的「黑橋牌」3個字時,感覺立刻親切了起來。

玻璃大門外,略顯陳舊的三輪車靜靜站在門邊,上面擺著古早的炭火烤架,旁邊放著一個碗公、3顆骰子,小時候跟著父親在路邊打香腸的記憶,霎時湧上心頭。

從香腸攤到博物館

食物是一種記憶,更承載了一個社會的文化,台灣的人情味,就蘊藏在烤香腸的香氣中。創業超過半世紀的黑橋牌,為了紀念已故創辦人陳文輝,以及推廣香腸文化,斥資5,000萬元在安平工業區自家工廠旁興建這座香腸博物館,希望讓更多人了解台灣香腸的歷史與文化。

館內的歷史懷舊區重現了黑橋牌的第一間門市,旁邊是創辦人陳文輝老家的「灶腳」,古老的爐灶和鍋具,讓人感受當年手工製造香腸的辛苦。

香腸文化展區更是讓人大開眼界,各國特色香腸如著名的白香腸、法蘭克福香腸與法國血腸等,在這都看得到。

香腸就是絞肉加上鹽巴、香料後,裝入腸衣內,不同內餡的組合決定了香腸的味道與口感,台式香腸、美式熱狗、義式薩拉米都是香腸家族的成員。

以味道與口感來說,德式香腸咬起來較脆、港式臘腸則以乾鹹著稱,獨特風味各有其支持者。現年47歲的黑橋牌總經理陳春利表示,正港的台味香腸,強調厚實的口感,可以吃到肉汁飽滿的豬肉塊,加上甜鹹並呈的調味,吃的時候配上大蒜,就是標準台灣味!

屹立台灣56年的黑橋牌,年營收超過新台幣10億元,是國內香腸市占率第一名的品牌,年產1億條香腸,一年採購的豬肉重量超過3,000公噸,沒有被後起的新東陽、統一追上,自有其成功之道。

烏橋仔邊的香腸攤

1957年,出身困苦的陳文輝跟著廈門師傅學習肉品加工技術多年,自軍中退伍後,開始在台南運河旁俗稱烏橋仔邊的地方擺攤做生意。

50年代的台灣,肉類屬於奢侈品,為了方便保存,肉販會將沒賣完的肉絞碎加鹽,製成香腸以免腐壞,但這樣的香腸時而乾硬、時而油膩,口味又重鹹,稱不上美味。

深知豬肉美味的陳文輝自問,「豬肉好吃,做成香腸為什麼會不好吃?」原來問題就出在食材原料不夠好。

因此他每天清晨到肉攤挑選最新鮮的後腿肉,並且在調味料裡加入糖與些許中藥,如此做出來的香腸,保留了豬肉的肉汁與Q彈口感,在台南一炮而紅,「文輝的灶腳」也成為現今台式香腸的發源地。

當時其他肉販的香腸灌好之後,都直接放在陽光下曝曬,但常因天氣變化,造成曝曬不均,香腸風味也就跟著走樣。陳文輝發揮研究精神,自製烘香腸機,將灌好的香腸吊掛在裡面,下面用炭火微微加熱,利用鐵櫃密封加溫,使香腸均勻受熱,就是他維持好味道的小撇步。

陳文輝的堅持獲得肯定,烏橋仔邊的香腸之名不脛而走。1963年,他在台南最熱鬧的市集「沙卡里巴」(今海安路)設立第一家門市時,就掛上黑橋牌的名字,從此香傳半世紀。

1970年代起,黑橋牌隨著台灣經濟起飛擴張,在高雄、台北陸續開起分店。1979年在安平工業區內的現址,建立占地3,000坪的工廠,是台灣第一家自動化肉品加工廠,供貨給全台25個直營門市。

傳承古法,創造新滋味

經營版圖迅速成長的同時,陳文輝也開始思索企業接班及永續經營的問題。

陳文輝的兒子陳春利退伍後,放棄出國留學的夢想,進入家族事業工作,從最基層的科員開始做起。每天清晨4點就得起床去市場挑選肉品、到工廠炒肉鬆、灌香腸,還要到門市去銷售、記帳,工作一點不輕鬆,還得面對父親的嚴厲要求。

「我曾經被父親趕出工廠,」陳春利回憶,有一次炒肉鬆的時候偷懶,沒把肉鬆炒透,被陳文輝逮個正著,對他大吼:「要做就好好做,不想做就滾!」並當著其他員工面前把他趕出門,後來他向父親低頭道歉,才獲得原諒。

黑橋牌的香腸只使用身長在110~120公分間的豬隻後腿肉,自然醃製12小時製作,並且在自動化生產流程中,微調程序讓絞肉不會太碎,貼近傳統手工香腸口感。嚴選豬肉,加上獨家配方,讓黑橋牌香腸與眾不同,老顧客一入口就認得。

業界傳聞,黑橋牌香腸的調味配方,只有陳文輝父子倆知道,當進入最關鍵的調味程序時,其他人都不可在場,被列為黑橋牌的最高機密。

見識過老老闆龜毛又求好心切的黑橋牌員工都說,老老闆對品質要求很高,對員工很嚴格,雖然常當面責罵屬下,但其實從來不曾開除過一個人,是典型的刀子嘴豆腐心。

2009年,陳文輝將總經理職位交棒給當時44歲的陳春利,陳春利也展現企圖心,要用新視野妝點這間古厝,重新擦亮招牌。

從基層做起,深知企業有舊包袱的陳春利,一直都想擺脫老店形象,尋求創新。90年代,他便提議打破固守直營門市的策略,貼近現代化消費習慣,將通路延伸到超市和量販店,把25間門市擴張到超過2,000個鋪貨點,現在甚至連KTV都吃得到黑橋牌香腸!

此外,他也觀察到,年輕族群對火腿、熱狗的喜愛不輸台式香腸,因此另創第二品牌「德意廚房」,進口西式高級肉品,並將第一個銷售點設在台北101大樓的超市內,主打頂級客層,讓黑橋牌的商品更加多元化。

2010年,陳春利情商當時息影多年、定居香港的帽子歌后鳳飛飛出馬,擔任黑橋牌有史以來第一位代言人,這也成為鳳飛飛睽違20年、辭世前唯一的廣告演出。滿滿的溫情,加上巨星風采,讓老品牌立即成為鎂光燈焦點。

2012年黑橋牌更搶攻外食市場,推出新品牌「腸腸抱抱」,將傳統的大腸包小腸(糯米腸夾香腸)夾入生菜與特製醬料;或用法國麵包取代糯米腸,做成類似潛艇堡的即食料理,開在西門町商圈的店面,每逢電影開演前便會大排長龍。

用好心腸做好香腸

無論如何求新求變,黑橋牌始終以「好心腸」為其理念。

黑橋牌堅持選用有CAS認證的國產新鮮豬肉,並且長期合作,建立起完整的供應鏈,確保品質無虞,也盡量減少人工添加物,不摻粉、不加防腐劑,呈現豬肉原本的美味。

黑橋牌的工廠更獲得HACCP、ISO22000等最高等級的國際食品安全認證。近年來,食品安全一直是全球關注的重大議題,病死豬、口蹄疫、瘦肉精等問題層出不窮,重創消費者食用豬肉的信心。

「這些危機對我們來說都是轉機,」陳春利語出驚人地表示,1996年台灣口蹄疫大爆發時,公司業績確實受到影響,但是不到半年就回穩並且逆勢成長,這就是品牌的力量。

陳春利解釋,每當肉品安全問題爆發,消費者便會傾向購買大廠牌的商品,劣質廠商也逐漸被淘汰,業績自然成長。陳春利曾經不懂父親對製程近似挑剔與龜毛的堅持,直到口蹄疫爆發之後他才理解父親的做法。

許多人都吃過香腸,卻沒看過香腸的製作過程,西諺有云:「法律和香腸一樣,最好不要知道它怎麼製造出來的。」因為把一堆絞肉塞進小小腸衣裡的畫面,光想像就覺得不舒服,更別提肉品加工廠裡四溢的臭味,讓人忍不住想奪門而出。

然而,現在若有機會走訪黑橋牌工廠的遊客,一定會驚嘆其現代化的程度:作業員不僅穿戴帽子、口罩,而且全身穿著無塵衣;廠內乾淨明亮無異味,還有多次精密檢核程序,完全不輸給高科技產業工廠。

觀光工廠加上香腸博物館,串起黑橋牌的企業理念與香腸文化,取得國際食品安全認證後,黑橋牌要進一步揮軍國際,5月將在香港開設第一家海外門市,要把台灣特有的好味道,飄香全世界。

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EN

Black Bridge Sausages

Two Generations of Flavor

Kobe Chen /photos courtesy of Chin Hung-hao /tr. by Geoff Hegarty and Sophia Chen

It’s in the nature of things. Where there’s pork, there are usually sausages. And in fact the humble sausage is perhaps the one processed food that is known and loved in both Western and Eastern cultures.

In Europe, sausage-making can be traced back to 8th-­century-BC Gaul. And sausages have long been identified with German popular cuisine, which boasts at least 1,500 different types and flavors of Wurst.

Back in Taiwan, the Black Bridge brand has become synonymous with the word “sausage.” And not only for local Taiwanese—they’re also a favorite of international tourists. So popular, in fact, are the Black Bridge products that in September 2012 the company established Taiwan’s first sausage museum, in Tai­nan. With 100,000 visitors in its brief existence to date, it has become a “must visit” in the region.

What are the particular charms of Black Bridge sausages? Let’s look into the history of the enterprise and see how the company’s founder and his son have worked for over a half century to create the unique Taiwanese flavor of their product.


Located in Tai­nan’s An­ping Industrial Park, with an area of ​​1300 square meters, Black Bridge’s sausage museum is only the second sausage museum in the world (the other is in Germany).

Outside the main glass doors, an old pedicab stands quietly. An old-fashioned charcoal grill and a bowl with three dice sit on the tray of the cab. Here there is nostalgia for many: childhood memories of throwing dice to win a sausage, pausing by the roadside with one’s father for a little fun.

Sausage stall to sausage museum

Food is not only an essential of life—it is also an important part of the culture. The warmth of the Taiwanese community comes to life amidst the aroma of grilling sausages. So it was important to commemorate the late founder of Black Bridge, Chen Wen­hui, and to promote the culture of sausages. Established more than half a century ago, Black Bridge spent NT$50 million building a sausage museum next door to its factory in the An­ping Industrial Park, with the primary goal of encouraging people to learn more about the history of the sausage in Taiwanese culture.

Black Bridge’s first store is recreated in the history section of the museum. Then there is a replica of the founder Chen’s original kitchen, showing the kind of stoves and cookware used in the early days of the company. One can sense the hardships of the early times, making sausages by hand.

But the centerpiece of the museum must be the sausage culture exhibition, where visitors can see specialty sausages from around the world: German Weiss­wurst (white sausages) and frankfurters, and bou­din noir (blood sausages) from France.

A sausage is usually made from minced ingredients (usually meat) with added salt and spices, all held within the classic sausage shape by an outer skin. Different combinations of fillings determine the flavor and texture: Taiwanese-style sausages, American hot dogs, and Italian salami all belong to the sausage family.

In terms of flavor and texture, while German sausages tend to be rather somewhat brittle to the bite, Cantonese-style sausages (lap chang) are known for their dry and savory taste. And each unique style has its supporters. Black Bridge’s general manager, 47-year-old Robert Chen, says that the genuine Taiwanese article features a firm texture in which you can see and taste the juicy pieces of real pork with sweet and savory seasoning, with the customary accompaniment of sliced raw garlic—that’s the standard Taiwanese sausage flavor!

With an annual revenue of over NT$1 billion, Black Bridge produces 100 million sausages a year, using more than 3000 metric tons of pork in the process. With a 56-year history behind it, Black Bridge has overcome many obstacles on its way to success over its lifetime.

Black Bridge origins

Company founder Chen Wen­hui came from a humble family background. After completing his military service, he began selling sausages from a stall near the Black Bridge over the Tai­nan Canal.

Meat was something of a luxury in the 1950s. As a method of preserving meat, butchers often minced leftover pork with added salt to make ​​into sausages. But sausages weren’t considered serious food: they were often either too dry and hard, or overly greasy and salty—and not very tasty.

But Chen had different ideas. He would go to his local butcher early every morning to pick out the freshest pork hindquarters, and then add a little sugar and some Chinese medicinal herbs into a seasoning for his sausages. This new style of sausage, which retained pieces of juicy pork to create a nice firm texture, became an overnight sensation in his home city of Tainan.

In 1963, Chen opened his first outlet under the Black Bridge banner in Tai­nan’s bustling Sa­ka­riba market (now Hai’an Road), and the aromatic tale of Black Bridge has unfolded over the ensuing half century.

From the 1970s, when Taiwan’s economy really took off, Black Bridge gradually expanded, with new outlets launched in Kao­hsiung and Tai­pei.

Crafting flavor

During this period of rapid growth, Chen also started to think about issues of managerial succession and the long-term sustainability of the enterprise.

The founder’s son, Robert Chen, joined the family business at the grassroots level after completing his military service. He had to get up at four every morning to start work, going to the market to select the pork, making pork floss (a sort of light, fluffy dried pork product), and making sausages, as well as manning the storefront and keeping the books. Not only was the work arduous, but he also had to deal with his father’s very stringent ideas about how the business should be run.

“My father once actually threw me out of the factory,” recalls Chen. He was pan-drying pork floss, admittedly being a little lazy and not doing the work properly. His father saw what was happening and roared at him: “If you’re going to do the work, you must do it right. Otherwise get out!” The son was unceremoniously thrown out in front of all the other workers. Later, he mustered the courage to apologize to his father and ask for forgiveness.

Black Bridge sausages use only prime pork: the hindquarters of pigs of 110–120 centimeters in length, marinated for at least 12 hours. During the automated production process, the texture of the minced meat is carefully monitored so that the finished product approaches the quality of handmade sausages. The company’s strict pork selection criteria and the exclusive recipe distinguish Black Bridge sausages from other brands. Aficionados recognize the flavor at the first bite.

In 2009, at age 44, the younger Chen took over from his father as general manager, and with his ambition and vision has set out to revamp the old brand, while maintaining all the qualities that have made the company what it is.

With his grassroots experience in the company, Chen well understood the company’s old image and ways of operating—but he had plans for something new. In the 1990s, he had proposed dismantling the old strategy of running their own dedicated retail outlets. To better suit modern consumption styles, the company expanded its distribution channels into supermarkets, growing from 25 outlets to more than 2,000 distribution points. Black Bridge sausages are now even available at KTVs if anyone cares for a snack between songs.

He also noticed the popularity of ham, and the fact that hot dogs were as well-liked as Taiwanese-style sausages (particularly amongst the young), so he created the company’s second brand: Bolker STR, selling imported Western-style premium meat. The range targets the high end of the market—perfect for the Taipei 101 supermarket where the brand was launched—thus bringing greater diversity to the company’s product mix.

In 2010, Chen invited former Taiwanese entertainer Fong Fei-fei (known as the “Queen of Hats”) to become the face of the company. Fong had retired to Hong Kong years before, and in fact endorsing Black Bridge was the only advertising work she took on in the 20 years following her retirement, and also the last before she passed away in 2012.

Black Bridge launched a takeaway food business in 2012, introducing another new brand: the Taiwan Hug­dog, a pork sausage served with lettuce and specially made sauce wrapped in either a larger sticky rice roll, or French bread like a submarine sandwich. The Hug­dog outlet in the Xi­men­ding shopping district always attracts large queues as a favorite snack for moviegoers.

Sausages with heart

But no matter how Black Bridge may change, the company always maintains its philosophy of sausages “with heart.”

Black Bridge insists on using CAS-certified domestic fresh pork. With their efficient supply chain to ensure freshness, minimal use of artificial additives, and no fillers or preservatives, the firm is able to maintain the original pork flavor.

The Black Bridge factory has gained the highest level of international food safety certification, including HACCP and ISO 22000. In recent years, food safety has become a major global concern, with recent incidents including diseased pigs, outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease, and the use of the feed additive ractopamine in pork production—all of which has damaged consumer confidence in pork products.

“This series of crises has actually meant opportunities for us.” Surprisingly, Chen says that when the 1996 foot-and-mouth outbreak was under way in Taiwan, although initially the company’s performance was hit severely, it gradually stabilized and then gained significant growth in less than six months. This amazing performance demonstrated well the strength of the Black Bridge brand.

Chen explains that whenever there’s an outbreak of anything that threatens the safety of meat products, consumers tend to stick with major brands that they trust. As a consequence, the lower-quality manufacturers have gradually been eliminated, and naturally the performance of the major players has increased. There was a time when he didn’t understand why his father insisted on putting so much emphasis on good production processes—until the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease. Then it all became clear.

Someone once said: “Laws are like sausages: it is better not to see them being made.” Sausage making is not always a pretty process. Most people would feel extremely queasy having to squash minced meat into a pig’s large intestine—not to mention the sometimes overpowering smell of many meat processing plants. Most people would want nothing to do with any of it!

But when tourists have the opportunity to visit Black Bridge’s open factory, they are surprised to see its highly modern atmosphere: all the workers wear caps, masks, and antibacterial overalls; the environment is bright, clean, and odor-free; and there are many strict quality-control procedures—the hygiene is as good as in any hi-tech environment.

Black Bridge’s open factory and the company-run museum demonstrate to visitors their devotion to their product. After gaining international food safety certification, Black Bridge’s next step is to expand its business internationally. The first overseas outlet is to be launched in Hong Kong in May, an initial step in bringing the unique flavor of Taiwan sausages to the world.

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