The popularity of the snack stall made the surrounding street vendors extremely envious, especially the owners of several large noodle shops. They sent people to buy cold noodles and liangpi to study the recipes, preparing to introduce them in their own shops.
How could they miss such a profitable opportunity with such popular noodle dishes!
In Wang’s Noodle Shop, the owner, Boss Wang, had just made a bowl of cold noodles. This bowl of cold noodles also had cucumber strips, pickled green beans, and diced radish, which were purchased from Yu’s Delicious Delights. From the appearance alone, this bowl of cold noodles was no different from Yu Ji’s.
Boss Wang asked his wife, “How is it? How does it taste?”
His wife swallowed the noodles in his mouth and shook his head, saying, “It doesn’t have their fragrance. I think it’s because of the chili oil. Their chili oil has a special aroma, besides sesame and peanuts, there are other things in it.”
Boss Wang frowned. He had specifically gone to Yu’s stall before to see their chili oil, but he could only see chili powder, sesame, and peanuts. He didn’t see any other ingredients, and they couldn’t taste them either.
This was troublesome.
“What about the recipe for liangpi and pickled green beans and radish?” Boss Wang asked again.
His wife shook his head and answered, “Liangpi is probably made from flour, but we don’t know the recipe. As for the pickled green beans and radish, they might be soaked in vinegar. We tried soaking some green beans, but the taste wasn’t right, and the color was off.”
“If only we knew their preparation methods, or if we could just watch them make it,” Boss Wang muttered to himself.
His wife said, “It’s their secret recipe. How could they let you see it?”
After discussing and studying for a while, the result was that they hadn’t made any progress yet, which left Boss Wang and his wife extremely frustrated.
Similarly, the same situation was unfolding in the kitchen of Liu’s Noodle Shop. However, the atmosphere here was evidently more tense, mainly due to the temperamental and stubborn owner, Boss Liu.
The occupancy rate of the noodle shop today was even lower than yesterday, while the business of the snack stall across the street, after these few days, was not declining but rising. This made Boss Liu, who had been making noodles for more than 20 years and used to look down on others, extremely frustrated.
Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.
Especially since he prided himself on knowing every noodle-making technique during this prosperous era, but now he was stumped by this plate of liangpi in front of him!
Liangpi looked soft and smooth, with excellent elasticity, but it lacked that chewy texture. It had a delicate and refreshing mouthfeel, but it didn’t have the slightly yellow color and rich aroma of noodles!
But there was no doubt that it was indeed a type of noodle dish.
So, how on earth was this thing made?
Boss Liu was almost going to stare holes into that plate of liangpi.
In the kitchen, Boss Liu’s two apprentices, who were also his sons, dared not make a sound and silently made noodles. They were more cautious than usual, afraid of being scolded by their father.
Boss Liu stared at the plate of liangpi with a dark face for a long time. Suddenly, he stood up and left quietly.
On the street.
Yu Qingze looked at the tall and thin middle-aged man in front of him and asked, “Sir, would you like to have cold noodles or liangpi, or do you want to buy pickled green beans or pickled radish?”
This person had been standing by the stall, staring for a long time, neither eating nor buying anything. Yu Qingze didn’t know what he wanted.
The middle-aged man paused for a moment upon hearing the question, then his face turned dark. Without saying anything, he hurriedly walked away.
Yu Qingze: … Strange person.
Yu Qingze didn’t pay any more attention to him. The noodles in the pot were cooked, so he quickly scooped them out and rinsed them. At that moment, someone tugged at the corner of his clothes. He turned around and saw Chang Le pointing to the side, indicating for him to look.
Yu Qingze followed his finger and saw the middle-aged man who had just entered the Liu’s Noodle Shop across the street.
Liu’s Noodle Shop?
Yu Qingze raised an eyebrow, wondering if he had encountered a fellow in the same trade.
Chang Le made a gesture.
Yu Qingze guessed that Chang Le had also realized that they were in the same trade and was worried about any trouble. He shook his head and reassured him, “It’s fine. He probably just came to see how liangpi is made. We rely on our skills to make a living and aren’t afraid of competition.”
Chang Le felt slightly relieved upon hearing this and went back to work.
Yu Qingze frowned slightly as he thought about the expression on the middle-aged man’s face earlier.
He had encountered competition from peers before, both good and bad. He welcomed and wasn’t afraid of healthy competition, but he was wary of those who played dirty tricks behind the scenes.
Especially in this unfamiliar world, where he had no backing and didn’t know whether the local authorities were clean or corrupt. He could only be cautious in his actions.
He had these thoughts, but little did he know that they would encounter trouble when they returned home in the afternoon.
They closed their stall early in the afternoon, and as they entered the village, they saw a group of people standing in the courtyard of their home. They weren’t sure if something had happened to their grandpa, so they hurried back.
When they arrived home, they saw a young man tied up in the middle of the courtyard, and Grandpa Chang was sitting on a chair, looking angry and staring at the young man intently.
“Grandpa, what happened?” Chang Hao asked.
Grandpa Chang saw them return and said, “This person came to steal liangpi. He sneaked around in the kitchen and ran away when I discovered him. Later, he was caught by Dahe, who happened to pass by.”
“Steal liangpi?” Yu Qingze was momentarily stunned. Stealing money or food was one thing, but stealing liangpi?
Grandpa Chang nodded and bent down to pick up a bag from the ground. He said, “Take a look, isn’t this all liangpi inside?”
Yu Qingze glanced into the bag and indeed saw that it was filled with liangpi. He looked at the young man. This thief…
The villagers were not aware of the craze for liangpi in Tongshan City, they only saw that there were many of them being sun-dried in Chang Le’s yard. Someone asked, “What’s so good about this liangpi to steal?”
Previously, Chang Hao had explained to the villagers that liangpi was a type of food similar to noodles, made by Yu Qingze and sold by their family. When the villagers heard that it was similar to noodles, some of them even requested some to take home and cook, but it didn’t taste like anything and wasn’t as delicious as noodles, so not many people were interested.
One of the villagers recalled the rumors they heard when they went to the city to sell vegetables in the past few days and exclaimed, “Ah, I remember now! There’s a new food called ‘cold noodles and liangpi’ in the city, they say it’s delicious. Could it be the same thing?”
“I’ve heard about it too, they say it’s on the North Street. Aze, could it be the same thing you’re making?” another villager asked.
Yu Qingze nodded and said, “Yes, it’s the same.”
“Oh, so it’s this! How is it? Is it really delicious? I had it before, but it didn’t have much flavor and wasn’t as tasty as noodles.”
“The people in the city really enjoy eating it. I was planning to go and try it, but the weather has been too hot, so I didn’t go.”
“Is it profitable?”
“With so many people enjoying it, it must be profitable.”
The villagers began discussing and their attention shifted to whether liangpi was tasty and profitable.
“Why did you steal liangpi? Who sent you? How did you know we lived here? How long have you been tracking us?” Yu Qingze squatted in front of the thief, staring into his eyes and questioning.
The thief’s eyes darted around, too afraid to meet Yu Qingze’s gaze. Surrounded by so many people, he wished he could curl up into a ball. In a stuttering voice, he said, “N-No one sent me. I s-saw that your business was good and wanted to take some back to sell myself.”
“Oh? Is that so? Then why do I often see you entering and leaving the noodle restaurant on North Street?” Yu Qingze said casually, trying to bluff him.
Upon hearing the words “North Street” and “noodle restaurant,” the thief’s eyes visibly panicked. He stammered, “Wh-What noodle restaurant? I was just on North Street, saw that your business was good, and wanted to sell them myself to make some money.”
It was obvious that he was trying to cover up the truth, and Yu Qingze saw through it. He reached out and grabbed the thief’s neck, exerting pressure on his carotid artery. With a fierce expression, he asked, “How did your boss instruct you? To steal liangpi? To observe the process of making liangpi? Did he also want to know how I make my chili oil?”
Yu Qingze applied considerable force, choking the thief, whose face turned red within moments. His breathing became labored, and he started wheezing heavily.
The other villagers who were discussing the matter were taken aback by Yu Qingze’s sudden ferocious demeanor and fell silent. They had grown accustomed to seeing him as easygoing and friendly, forgetting that he was skilled in martial arts.
Even Chang Le and Chang Hao were momentarily stunned. They were used to seeing the affable and smiling Brother Yu, but it was their first time witnessing his forceful and aggressive side. Even when they apprehended the cattle thief last time, Brother Yu had caught him with a smile.
However, their fear did not make them afraid of Yu Qingze. Instead, they became even more convinced of his abilities and respected him. This was how one should deal with malevolent individuals!
“Speak!” Yu Qingze roared, increasing the pressure in his grip.
The thief, who was not a professional, was already panicking, and now with his neck being squeezed, he could barely breathe. He trembled and said, “I-I’ll talk.”
Yu Qingze loosened his grip and said, “Speak! Who sent you?”
The thief took a couple of breaths, his gaze wandering, and in a hesitant tone, he said, “It’s… it’s the owner of Liu’s Noodle Restaurant.”
Liu’s Noodle Restaurant?
A flash of the middle-aged man’s face crossed Yu Qingze’s mind, and he furrowed his brow.
“Liu? Are you sure?” Yu Qingze patted the thief’s face and asked.
The thief immediately wore a mournful expression and said, “Big brother, how could I forget my own boss? I’m in this state now, please spare me. I was just following orders, I had no choice. If I didn’t come, he would have fired me. I have a family to support, and if I can’t earn money, we’ll have to go hungry…”
“Enough, enough. There’s a limit to nonsense,” Yu Qingze impatiently interrupted the thief’s rehearsed words and stood up.
The village chief, naturally present during such a major incident in the village, asked Yu Qingze, “What do you plan to do with this thief?”
“Village chief, how do we usually handle thieves like this in the village? It’s not a serious crime like stealing cattle, and the stolen goods are not worth much. Should we report it to the authorities? How do the authorities handle such cases?” Yu Qingze, unaware of the local procedures, decided to ask the village chief first.
The village chief replied, “Normally, we would report it to the authorities, and the thief would receive a beating as punishment.”
“Do they get imprisoned as well?”
“It depends on the value of the stolen goods,” the village chief answered. “In this case, the stolen liangpi is worth less than 100 wen.”
Yu Qingze took a look and said, “I see.”
“Then it’s a beating.”
Yu Qingze glanced at the thief and noticed that the mention of reporting to the authorities didn’t elicit much reaction from him. It seemed that he wasn’t afraid of being handed over to the authorities. Yu Qingze said, “Hang him on a tree overnight!”
Grandpa Chang asked, “Aren’t we reporting him to the authorities?”
Yu Qingze frowned, weighing the pros and cons. After some consideration, he shook his head and said, “No, let’s handle it privately.”
Considering that the thief had been able to run a shop on the bustling North Street for so many years, there were likely some connections behind him. Judging from the thief’s reaction earlier, reporting him to the authorities might not benefit Yu Qingze much. It would only completely offend the people behind him, and it could lead to continuous trouble if he wanted to open a shop in the city in the future. It would be better to teach the thief a lesson and use it as an opportunity to send a message to the person behind him, letting them know that Yu Qingze was aware of their involvement. As long as the person wasn’t extremely ruthless, they would likely be more cautious.
The next morning, the beaten and mosquito-bitten thief crawled out of Niu Tou Village, his body covered in bruises.