Jintan's Purple Cow

Jintan's Purple Cow
juanisaac Mar 31, 2014 12:59

Kitchen International is a famous eatery located in New York City where if someone breaks the rules, they are banned from the establishment until the punishment is completed. In Seth Godin's book Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, he gives businesses advice on how to stand out from their competition.

Godin describes any business that offers something very unique as a "purple cow." The customer is privileged to shop there instead of that business having to advertise to attract patrons. In Jintan, Jiangsu one famous noodle restaurant by the name of Kai Yi Tian, Open One Day, is the town's own purple cow. If you ask locals, the restaurant is true to its name and is only open every Monday.

 According to the manager, the original restaurant opened right before the start of the Japanese-Chinese War of 1937. Since Jiangsu was a constant battlefield between Chinese Communist forces and the Japanese Army, the steady supply of foodstuffs to the restaurant was uncertain.

In response, the original two owners decided to change the name to Kai Yi Tian since they did not know on what days they would have food. If residents saw the restaurant open, it would be better for them to come inside since its next day of operation would be unknown. At the end of World War II the owners decided to keep the restaurant's war time name.

It turns out the only thing that resembles a purple cow for the restaurant is its name. The restaurant is open everyday of the week. The residents of Jintan use this story as a joke with foreign and Chinese visitors. No one in Jintan knows why Monday is the chosen day for the joke. Sometimes Kai Yi Tian receives a visitor who thinks they are lucky to eat there on a Monday, or a special day besides Monday that the restaurant opened.

The author of this piece was fooled as he went there every Monday until one local decided to explain the joke to him. This "purple cow" belongs to the people of Jintan who use this story for a laugh and Kai Yi Tian that benefits from unsuspecting visitors.

Tags:Travel Food Expat Tales Lifestyle


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This story reminded me of Chinese street names. In Urmuqi we have Tuan Jie Lu (Unity Street) where no unity could be spoken of on the 5th day of July 2009. Should it be changed according to what happened? Probably not. Walking on that street would give you a feeling similar to that in Kai Yi Tian - something of a joke. I think the Chinese love that. By the way, you wrote an interesting story. I look forward to more.

Apr 05, 2014 17:52 Report Abuse



Thank you. I find your kind words heartening.

Apr 07, 2014 10:37 Report Abuse