大可與慕紅豆

——幸福Keeps Walking
:::

2012 / 11月

文‧朱立群 圖‧金宏澔


愛台灣,可以有千百種方式。來自台南、綽號「大可」的大男孩,選擇騎三輪車,載著用柴火熬煮的紅豆湯,環島分享給老人及身心障礙者,傳達對台灣斯土斯人的關懷。

「柴燒是細漢的記持,紅豆湯是幸福的堅持,過生活是一世人的代誌。」大可把這句用台語發音的座右銘寫在畫卡上義賣,為明年2月的幸福之行籌募經費。


清晨6點不到,台南新化一戶透天厝的門口升起了炊煙。陶鍋盛滿一顆顆圓潤肥大的紅豆,架在一具狀似砲筒的爐子上,細火慢熬。

68年次的唐文正,頭上紮著布巾,屈膝蹲在爐旁吹呀吹,就算三不五時被火星噴到臉上,也毫不在意。

用來生火的木柴,都是從外面撿回來的廢棄木料。愛木成癡的他,把店名取作「慕紅豆」,有「木」的諧音,也有思慕之意。

他綽號Duck,家人、朋友都叫他大可,去年9月開始賣紅豆湯,他的人生風景也就此不同。

流動的幸福

「賣」的說法太俗氣。其實,大可在分享一種無以名狀的「幸福感」,而紅豆,正是他用以傳遞這種幸福感的載體。

他以誠懇的態度、求「慢」的方式,醞釀一整鍋濃郁的紅豆湯,再透過「分享」、而非「消費」的渠道,將這份幸福感傳遞出去。

就連與客人交流的方式也很特別。初期大半時間因找不到適合的店面,大可「隨緣」跟氣息相投的房東以3個月為一期的方式承租攤位,行蹤就只發布在臉書、部落格上。因此,「慕」紅豆也有move、流動的意思,短暫停留過的地方包括台南吳園、小露台藝文空間、民宿一隅等等。

經過一番尋找,大可日前為慕紅豆在台南火車站附近的民族路上找到一處固定的店面,10月中旬開幕。

大可說,地方換了,但柴燒烹煮紅豆湯的方式依舊,跟朋友(客人)溫情交流的方式也不會改變。

大可一天只煮一鍋紅豆湯,以及少許的蜜地瓜配料,一碗50元的價格,與耗時3小時熬煮的心力相比,絕對物超所值。

「我不求快,這是一種生活的態度,慢有慢的樂趣,」大可談及對慢火柴燒的堅持,口吻不疾不徐。

10月搬至固定店面定點營業之前,大可都是先在新化的家門口架起朋友幫忙設計的「火箭爐」,靠著添柴生火煮紅豆,一鍋可煮2台斤;煮好的紅豆湯再送到店裡賣,賣完為止,一天可賣二十幾碗。

三十多歲應是衝刺事業的年紀。到過慕紅豆店裡聊天的客人朋友都很好奇,大可怎麼會有那麼「看得開」的達觀心態,不隨社會主流價值起舞?

態度決定高度

從技術學院資管系畢業後,大可做了六年多的3C產品業務工作,那段時間,他過得並不快樂。「我的個性不喜歡與人競爭、比高低、論成功失敗;就算是失敗,也有失敗的價值。」

大可的父母在新化家裡自營早餐店,也幫附近小學、幼稚園煮點心。聽到大可表示想回家賣紅豆,古意的他們沒有反對,只希望大可想清楚後再投入。

其實,從大可還在試煮紅豆的階段,父母就已開始熱情投入,陪著他嘗試用瓦灶跟瓦斯爐的煮法,鍋具也從鐵鍋、鋼鍋試到陶鍋,以實際行動表達對孩子的支持。

跟大可相識7年的女友在宜蘭工作,這一年來每個月南下兩次到慕紅豆店裡幫忙,也讓大可心懷感激。

大可有弟、妹各一,都有大學以上學歷,也都在台北工作。家人、女朋友生活穩定,讓大可沒有後顧之憂。

「我的紅豆呈現我的生活態度:愛人、愛土地、單純、樂於分享,」大可說。

確實,在慕紅豆裡,客人與店家不是點餐與送餐的主侍關係,而是可暢談、可閒聊、可分享心情的朋友關係。

生活可以如此簡單

「妳喜歡看電影啊?喜歡哪一類型的電影?」慕紅豆的工讀生Kenji,跟一位從宜蘭到台南讀書的女學生打開了話匣子,從電影聊到音樂、繪畫,以及對生活的想法。8月中旬,這位女同學在城市旅遊書上讀到小露台與慕紅豆的介紹,跟朋友來到現場體驗。

「這裡很容易聚集一群有類似興趣的朋友,」72年次的Kenji邊擦桌子邊說。他自大學歷史系畢業後,曾到澳洲打工度假,之後回到家裡經營的工廠工作,總覺得綁手綁腳、缺乏自由。但在慕紅豆,「我不覺得我在工作,很開心,沒有負擔。」

「來到慕紅豆的客人幾乎都有類似的氣質,他們享受慢活,一碗紅豆湯可以喝上一、兩個小時,期間或與人閒聊,或翻閱店裡提供的藝文書籍,或單純就只是大腦放空發呆,」Kenji分享他的觀察。

但別誤會,慕紅豆走的不是布爾喬亞文藝青年路線。Kenji說,「這邊的客源很廣,街坊叔叔伯伯很多。」一位台南一中的教官聽說大可與慕紅豆的故事後,覺得年輕人勇於逐夢值得鼓勵,因此特地到小露台打氣。

10月中旬開始,慕紅豆在台南有了常態性的店面,無需再四處漂流。但大可不以此為夢想的終點,他有新的想法,要為全台老人及不便行動的身心障礙者遞送溫暖,「他們不方便來台南,換我煮好紅豆湯,送去給他們。」

情義相挺

這項環島計畫預計明年2月成行,已經暫訂拜訪的公益及弱勢團體,包括從事偏鄉原住民學童課後輔導的花蓮五味屋、台南市天主教瑞復益智中心、台南後壁的老農等等。

最近,與大可熟識的木工藝術家朋友們情義相挺,趕工雕刻尺寸、風格、造型迥異的木湯匙供大可上網義賣,所得將作為環島旅程的經費。大可也聘請接受台南古都基金會輔導的二度就業媽媽們,請她們縫製包裝木湯匙的提袋,幫助她們,也幫助自己。

「多虧有那麼多貴人幫忙大可!」大可的媽媽說。

台南社區大學插畫班的學員幫慕紅豆手繪明信片義賣,大可在卡片上寫下期許的文字:

「揹著紅豆,一步一步行,不管輸贏,聽自己的心聲。」這是大可寫給自己的惕勵 。

「飲紅豆湯,踏三輪車,載歸車的祝福,放送歸台灣。」這是大可獻給台灣斯土斯人的祝福。

相關文章

近期文章

EN

If It Tricycles Like a Duck—Spreading Joy with Adzuki Beans

Sam Ju /photos courtesy of Chin Hung-hao /tr. by Jonathan Barnard

There are a million different ways to show one’s love for Taiwan. One Tainan native, a big kid who goes by the name of Duck, is planning to show his by getting on a tricycle and circling the island, bringing his fire-cooked adzuki bean soup to the elderly and the physically and mentally disabled, and thereby demonstrating his concern for the land and people of Taiwan.

“Fire cooking brings back memories of my childhood. Adzuki bean soup represents an insistence on joy. Life unfolds over a lifetime.” Duck has chosen these words of wisdom to be put on cards which he is selling to finance his trip around the island, scheduled for next February.


Early in the morning, before the clock has struck six, smoke rises in front of a house in Tainan’s Xinhua. A ceramic pot, full of succulent and fat adzuki beans, is slowly simmering on a cannon-shaped wood-fueled stove.

Wearing a bandana around his head, Tang Wenzheng, 33, is crouched by the stove and blowing on its coals. Every so often a spark flies in his face, but it doesn’t seem to faze him.

Tang scavenged the firewood on the streets outside his house. A lover of wood, Tang has named his shop Mu Adzuki. The mu in its name means “admiration,” but it’s also a homonym for the Chinese character for wood.

Tang’s friends and family all call him Duck. In September of last year he began to sell adzuki bean soup, and in the process changed his outlook on life.

Follow your heart

“Selling” puts it too vulgarly. In fact, Duck is spreading an indescribable sense of joy, and adzuki beans are the medium by which he is accomplishing this feat. Insisting on taking a “slow food” approach, Duck brews a full pot of adzuki bean soup and then, via “sharing” rather than “sales,” uses it to spread feelings of happiness and well-being

Even his method of interaction with his customers is special: Early on, when he couldn’t find a suitable storefront, Duck sought out landlords who were amenable to renting him places to set up his stand for three months at a time. Consequently, the “mu” in Mu Adzuki also suggests the English word “move.” Duck used Facebook and his blog to tell customers where he was temporarily set up. Locations around Tainan included Wuyuan, the Xiaolutai Art Space, and hostels.

After a period of searching, Duck found a regular storefront on Minzu Road near the Tainan train station. Mu Adzuki opened there in the middle of October.

Duck says that although the locations have changed, Mu Adzuki’s fire cooking remains the same, as does the sharing with his friends (the customers).

Duck only cooks one big pot of adzuki bean soup a day, as well as a syrup-drenched sweet potato as a topping. A bowl of soup goes for NT$50, which is well worth it when you consider the three hours of hard work he puts in to cooking it.

“I don’t look to be fast. That’s an attitude I take to life: Going slow has its own slow joys.” With his insistence on fire cooking, Duck is determined to go at his own pace.

Before Mu Adzuki moved into the regular storefront, Duck had been cooking the adzuki bean soup in front of his home in Tainan’s Xinhua on a wood stove that friends helped design. He used about 1.2 kilos of beans for a single pot of soup. Once he had finished cooking the soup, he would bring it out to his stall to sell. He’d only sell about 20 bowls a day.

Considering that one’s 30s are regarded as a time for going full throttle in establishing oneself in a career, the customers and friends that come to Mu Adzuki all wonder how Duck has been able to maintain such a happy-go-lucky attitude to life.

Attitude determines altitude

After graduating with an information management degree from a technical college, Duck worked for six years as a salesman in the electronics industry. It wasn’t a happy time for him. “I’m not someone who takes a lot of joy in competition, in concerning myself with who’s up and who’s down and who’s won and who’s lost. In truth there’s some value even in losing.”

Duck’s parents run a restaurant business out of their home in Xinhua, preparing snacks for local elementary schools. Hearing that their son was planning on coming back home to sell adzuki bean soup, they didn’t object. Rather, they only expressed the hope that Duck would think things through clearly before committing himself.

In fact, during the stage when Duck was still testing out types of adzuki beans and cooking methods, his parents enthusiastically joined as he tried out cooking with brick stoves and gas stoves. Together they tried out iron, steel and clay pots. In this manner, Ducks’ parents were able to actively express their support for what their child was doing.

Duck also feels grateful that he is able to move forward without worry thanks to support from his girlfriend of seven years (who works in Yilan and has been coming down to Mu Adzuki twice a month), and due to the fact that his younger brother and sister both hold university degrees and work in Taipei. It all makes for a stable, reassuring environment.

“My adzuki bean soup conveys my attitude about life: my love of people and the land, my desire to share something simple and joyous,” Duck says.

In fact, in Mu Adzuki the customers and the proprietor don’t just have a relationship based on the ordering and serving of food. Rather, they relate to each other as friends, holding long conversations and sharing feelings.

A simple life

“Do you like to watch movies? What kind of movies?” says the gregarious Kenji, an employee at Mu Adzuki. He’s conversing with a young woman from Yilan who came to Tainan for her studies. From films, they turn to music, art and philosophy of life. In the middle of August, the student read a story in a city travel magazine about Xiaolutai and Mu Adzuki, so she and a friend came to check it out.

“This is a good place to get together with friends with similar interests,” says Kenji, 29, as he wipes a table.

“Mu Adzuki’s customers have similar sensibilities,” observes Kenji. “They like to take things slow. They can linger over a bowl of adzuki bean soup for an hour or two, whether chatting with friends, leafing through the establishment’s collection of books, or simply spacing out.”

But make no mistake: Mu Adzuki is not exclusive to bourgeois hipsters. “There’s a diverse bunch of customers here. There are plenty of average Joes off the street.” One administrator from First Tainan High says that he became a customer after hearing about Mu Adzuki and being intrigued by the story of a young person living out his dreams. He came to Xiaolutai to show his support.

Since opening up his regular storefront in Tainan in the middle of October, Duck no longer needs to wander around. But he doesn’t regard the accomplishment as the endpoint of his dreams. Rather, he has added a new aim: to bring some warmth to the island’s elderly and handicapped. “It’s not convenient for them to come to Tainan. So it falls upon me to cook some adzuki bean soup and bring it to them.”

Comradeship

This round-the-island trip is planned for next February. Recently, a bunch of artists and Mu Adzuki familiars designed some wooden spoons for the establishment, which are now being sold online in order to finance the journey. On the advice of Tainan’s Foundation of Historic City Conservation and Regeneration, Duck also hired some mothers just reentering the workforce to make bags to hold the spoons. He thus helped both himself and the mothers.

“It’s fortunate that so many wonderful people have helped Duck,” says Duck’s own mother.

A class at Tainan Community College created some cards for Mu Adzuki in order to raise funds for Duck’s trip. The cards include the following lines penned by Duck himself:

“Carrying adzuki beans and taking it one step at a time. Forgetting about winning or losing. Listening instead to my own heart.” For Duck, these are lines of self-encouragement.

“Eating adzuki bean soup and riding a tricycle. Filling it with blessings and bringing them to all of Taiwan.” These are the joys that Duck is delivering to the land and people of this island.

X 使用【台灣光華雜誌】APP!
更快速更方便!