Kiyoken, maker of railway station boxed lunches, opens 1st overseas shop in Taipei

11, Aug. 2020

Masao Aihara, chief production officer of Taiwan Kiyoken at its shop in Breeze Taipei Station on Aug. 7, 2020. (NNA)
Masao Aihara, chief production officer of Taiwan Kiyoken at its shop in Breeze Taipei Station on Aug. 7, 2020. (NNA)

TAIPEI, NNA - Kiyoken Co., a producer and retailer of railway station boxed lunches known as “ekiben”, has opened its first overseas shop at the Taiwanese capital’s main station.

Taiwan Kiyoken Co., its local unit, opened the outlet on the first floor of Breeze Taipei Station, a shopping center at Taipei Main Station, on Friday.

Kiyoken, headquartered in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, is known for its “Shumai Bento” featuring shumai dumplings rich with flavors of pork and dried scallops, a popular ekiben sold mainly at East Japan Railway Co.’s Yokohama Station.

Kiyoken has chosen to establish the store in Taipei because ekiben have become a part of popular local culture, as in Japan, and many Taiwanese people have an affinity toward Japan.

Kiyoken’s Taipei shop is selling old-fashioned shumai, the company’s flagship product, for NT$360 ($12). Other products include a Taiwan version of Shumai Bento, an Onigiri (rice ball) Shumai Bento, a set of three yaki onigiri (roasted rice balls) and a set of four shumai priced at NT$175, 195, 65 and 72, respectively.

The company is selling warm foods at the Taipei Station outlet to suit local consumers’ preferences although the company’s cold shumai is popular in Japan.

Prior to the opening of the shop, Kiyoken sold ekiben and other food products during a promotional event it held at Breeze Nan Shan in Taipei’s Xinyi District in 2019.

“Taiwanese people didn’t react positively to cold boxed lunches during the promotional event. Learning lessons from this problem, we decided to serve warm foods,” Masao Aihara, chief production officer of Taiwan Kiyoken, told NNA.

He added that the company “wants to help promote tourism in Yokohama” through the establishment of its shop in Taipei.

The local affiliate is striving to secure profits and will then set its next goal.