Chapter 37: The Culinary Tycoon

The Role of Best Friends

After returning to the food stall, Yu Qingze inquired with Chang Le about the traditional food for the Mid-Autumn Festival in their area. He discovered that every household would make a special food called “Tuan Yuan Bing,” which had both sweet and savory variations. As Chang Le described it, it reminded him of a kind of pastry in his home country on Earth known as “Husband Cakes” and “Wife Cakes.”

Confirming that mooncakes were not a part of the local tradition, Yu Qingze saw a good opportunity. He pondered for a moment and took advantage of the lull in customers to visit some of the most renowned pastry shops in the city. He found several types of pastries that the Cai family had given him before, as well as a few other varieties. He bought them and tasted each one.

To his satisfaction, none of them had the flavor of mooncakes.

Subsequently, Yu Qingze went to the market and purchased the necessary ingredients for making mooncakes. He also acquired a pastry mold and prepared to make mooncakes upon returning.

Lastly, he visited a blacksmith’s shop and custom-ordered a large iron plate. Once Boss Liu’s new noodle dishes were launched, the sales of liangpi and cold noodles might be somewhat affected. Additionally, as August would pass quickly, leaving only Guandong Zhu hot pot, the stall needed another food item and an additional employee to quickly earn money and resolve his own household registration issue.

Turning to Chang Le, he asked, “Brother Le, do you know how to make Tuan Yuan Bing?”

Chang Le nodded, gesturing that it was something they made every year.

Yu Qingze said, “Chang Le, go and buy the ingredients for making Tuan Yuan Bing. Tonight, we will make them and see what they look like. Besides, I also want to make a pastry for the Mid-Autumn Festival.”

Although Chang Le didn’t fully understand Yu Qingze’s true intentions, he thought that Yu Qingze must be planning to create new delicacies. He nodded and took money and a basket to buy the ingredients.

Anyway, whatever Big Brother Yu said, they would do it accordingly.

When Chang Le was about to run off with the basket, Yu Qingze quickly called him back, approached him, patted his shoulder, and whispered, “No need to rush. Let’s walk there. It’s scorching hot, and I worry that you’ll get exhausted.”

Chang Le blushed, turned his head, and quickly scurried away. Once Yu Qingze couldn’t see him anymore, Chang Le still ran and took a shortcut.

The small stall would soon become busy, and it would be too much for Yu Qingze and Chang Le alone. They needed to go quickly and come back quickly.

Around noon, a waiter from Liu’s Noodle House across the street came out, holding a gong and started banging on it, making a loud noise. After three strikes, he shouted loudly to attract the attention of passersby.

“Ladies and gentlemen, fellow villagers, today our Liu’s Noodle House introduces stir-fried noodles and tossed noodles. Welcome everyone to come and taste them! For the next two days, there’s an 20% discount for all customers who order stir-fried noodles and tossed noodles. Don’t miss out on this opportunity! Come and try them out…”

While the waiter was shouting, Boss Liu had someone bring out a “big sign,” which was actually a large wooden board with red paper attached to it. It was placed upright next to a chair and secured with stones, positioned by the entrance.

On the sign, the names and prices of the stir-fried noodles and tossed noodles were clearly written, with the words “20% off” highlighted in large letters, ensuring that passersby could see it at a glance. There was also a sketch of a plate of stir-fried noodles, roughly drawn but enough to convey the idea of new noodles.

That was taught by Yu Qingze.

The waiter shouted three times in a row before pausing to answer some customers’ questions, and then resumed shouting.

Anyway, his main task during lunchtime was to shout at the entrance of the shop.

Brother Chang saw a crowd gathered in front of Liu’s Noodle House, with some people directly entering the shop. He asked Yu Qingze with some confusion, “Boss Yu, you taught Boss Liu how to make noodles. Aren’t you afraid they’ll snatch our business?”

Yu Qingze smiled and said, “There will be some impact, but most of the competition will come from the other noodle houses. I’m prepared for it, and besides, I can still make money from there.” Even if they stop making cold noodles and liangpi in the future, Boss Liu will continue making them. Most importantly, he would get to see a certain someone’s frustrated expression.

Brother Chang seemed to understand but not quite, so he didn’t ask further. Since the boss wasn’t worried, as a small assistant, he just needed to focus on his own tasks.

“Oh, by the way, Brother Chang can I ask you for a favor?” Yu Qingze suddenly asked.

“What is it?” Brother Chang asked back.

Just then, a customer approached, so Yu Qingze hurriedly said, “I’ll talk to you after we close for the day. For now, continue with your work.”

Shortly after, Chang Le returned, afraid that Yu Qingze might scold him if he was late, so he hurried back on foot.

Seeing Chang Le’s flushed face and dampened hair, Yu Qingze sighed and dampened a cloth to wipe his sweat, saying with concern, “Feeling hot, huh? I told you to walk, but did you still run? Look at all this sweat on your forehead.”

Chang Le squinted his eyes and smiled sheepishly, taking the cloth from Yu Qingze and wiping himself.

Yu Qingze took the basket from Chang Le’s hand and looked inside. He found only white sugar, glutinous rice flour, sesame seeds, and candied winter melon.

“Is this all?” he asked.

Chang Le gestured that the rest was at home.

“Oh, I see. Take a good rest for now and have some water,” Yu Qingze said.

Chang Le nodded, and Yu Qingze placed the basket down and poured him a bowl of water.

Chang Le took it and drank.

Indeed, the business of cold noodles and liangpi was affected by Liu’s Noodle House. That day, they sold seven to eight jin less than usual, but Yu Qingze didn’t mind.

The stir-fried noodles and tossed noodles introduced by Liu’s Noodle House received positive reviews from customers. People who passed by and tried them said the taste was excellent.

Yu Qingze smiled and thought, “You haven’t tasted my food, so of course, you think theirs is delicious.”

When they were about to close, they happened to pass by Wang’s Noodle House.

Boss Wang stood in front of his own shop, looking towards Liu’s Noodle House. He saw the constant flow of customers there and then glanced at his own noodle house, which was only half full. His expression became serious. Many customers had gone to Liu’s Noodle House to try their food.

Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.

Yu Qingze saw Boss Wang’s expression and grinned.

This is just the beginning. There are more noodles waiting for you in the future.

After returning home, Yu Qingze pushed the small cart back and went to talk with Brother Chang.

“What’s the matter, Boss?”

Yu Qingze said, “About Brother Le, I heard from Grandpa Chang that you have a good relationship with him, is that true?”

Brother Chang nodded, “Yes. I can understand some of his gestures, but usually I do most of the talking, and he listens.”

Yu Qingze asked, “Do you and Brother Le usually talk about more private matters?”

Brother Chang looked at Yu Qingze with suspicion, his face showing some strange expression, and said, “Boss Yu, what do you want to know? The private conversations between us gers should not be known by you men.”

Yu Qingze hurriedly said, “No, you misunderstand. I don’t want to hear your private conversations with Brother Le.”

Brother Chang looked even more puzzled and asked, “Then what do you mean?”

Yu Qingze explained, “I want you to advise Brother Le to cut his bangs a little shorter.”

Currently, Chang Le’s bangs are very long and thick, covering his eyes. According to Chang Hao, his bangs have never been short; they have always been this length, covering his eyes. When they grow too long, he trims them slightly so they reach just above his upper eyelids.

Yu Qingze thought that by making Brother Le more confident, this hairstyle with heavy bangs would make him more conscious of the scar on his forehead.

To help him overcome his concern about the scar, he needed to reduce the significance of the scar in his mind. Additionally, changing his hairstyle to make him look better and more energetic would increase his self-confidence and reduce his feelings of inferiority.

Brother Chang disagreed, “That’s not possible. I told him the same thing a couple of years ago, suggesting he cut his bangs to just above the eyebrows, but he refused.”

Yu Qingze said, “Can you try again in a few days? Just give him some advice from your perspective as gers?”

After thinking for a moment, Brother Chang asked, “Boss Yu, why, I mean, why do you want me to do this?”

Yu Qingze confessed, “I like Brother Le, and I want him to be more confident and cheerful.”

Brother Chang suddenly realized that there had been some awkwardness between them before. So, that’s what it was all about, so he asked, “Do you know why he keeps his bangs so long?”

Yu Qingze nodded and pointed to his forehead, saying, “He has a scar here.”

Brother Chang was surprised, “You know about the scar on his forehead? Did he show it to you?”

Yu Qingze nodded.

“He never shows it to anyone, especially to men.” Brother Chang blinked and thought for a moment before saying, “Why don’t you talk to him yourself? He would probably listen to you.” He could tell that Chang Le liked Yu Qingze a lot, but he never thought that Yu Qingze also liked Chang Le.

Yu Qingze helplessly replied, “If I talk to him, he might listen, but I think it would be easier for him to accept if you, his good friend and fellow ‘ger,’ talk to him.”

If he were to say it himself, there would inevitably be suspicion that he cares about Chang Le’s appearance and only then suggests changing his hairstyle to make him look more attractive. He didn’t want Brother Le to have such thoughts.

But if it were a close friend of same gender, it would be different.

Brother Chang nodded at Yu Qingze’s words and said, “Alright, I promise you.” Yu Qingze was considerate of Chang Le and for that reason alone, Brother Chang was willing to help.

Seeing him nod, Yu Qingze happily said, “Thank you, Brother Chang. Also, I know a few styles of bangs. Maybe you can help him cut his hair?”

Brother Chang looked at Yu Qingze with a peculiar expression and asked, “How does a man like you know about different bang styles?”

Yu Qingze replied, “That’s a secret. I’ll draw them for you, and you can discuss with Brother Le which one looks better. In any case, the main principle is to make sure his eyes are fully visible, and it would be best if the right eyebrow is also visible.”

Yu Qingze went back to the kitchen, found a piece of charcoal and a wooden board, and then began drawing and explaining to Brother Chang at the entrance.

In the end, Yu Qingze drew four or five styles of bangs. There were straight bangs, side-swept bangs, and even some irregular ones. But without exception, all of them reached just above the eyebrows and could cover the left side of the forehead.

Brother Chang returned home, holding the wooden board with a strange expression on his face.

This Yu Qingze really knew his stuff. Moreover, these different styles of bangs were quite good-looking. He could suggest cutting his hair together with Brother Le. Having someone accompany them during the haircut might just convince Brother Le to agree. Hehe…


In the academy, there were three days off every month, on the last day of each ten-day period, which were the 10th, 20th, and 30th.

In order to have the same vacation as Chang Hao, Yu Qingze scheduled the fixed days off for his snack stall on these days as well. If the work in the fields was too busy, he wouldn’t open the stall and would focus on completing the agricultural tasks before resuming business.

In addition, he planned to visit the Cai residence once every month to cook a meal for Old Master Cai and Cai Yunwei. He would also bring Chang Hao along. It would be great if Chang Hao could establish a friendship with Cai Yunwei.

Chang Hao was intelligent and enjoyed reading. If he wanted to participate in the imperial examinations in the future, having a connection with Old Master Cai would undoubtedly be helpful. Regardless, building a good relationship with them now would definitely be beneficial. Moreover, it would have a positive impact on their business as well.

It’s good to have support from influential people. At least now, Boss Wang wouldn’t dare to cause trouble for them easily.

The next day happened to be the 10th, so they didn’t open the stall.

That evening, after dinner, Chang Le and Grandpa Chang started making Tuan Yuan Bing.

Yu Qingze watched the entire process, observing them make the filling, the oil pastry, and the oil dough. They would wrap the oil dough with the oil pastry, roll it out, let it rest for a while, and then roll it again to make the cake skin. Finally, they would wrap the filling inside, press it flat, and place it on an iron plate over burning charcoal to bake.

Without an oven, ancient people found other ways to cook the cakes. Yu Qingze found it quite admirable.

According to Grandpa Chang, there was another type of iron box that was even better for baking, but it was usually only used in pastry shops. Regular households typically used iron plates directly.

When the cakes were baked, the surface turned golden brown and looked quite fragrant.

Yu Qingze tasted one, knowing well that it couldn’t compare to modern mooncakes, but it was still pretty good.

“Tomorrow, I’ll make mooncakes for you.”


“Yes, they’re a type of pastry we eat during the Mid-Autumn Festival in my hometown. They should taste pretty good.” The premise, of course, was whether he could bake mooncakes using this iron plate.

The next day, after breakfast, Yu Qingze started preparing to make mooncakes. He planned to make red bean paste mooncakes.

The red beans had been soaked overnight, and he had Chang Le help cook them until they were fully cooked, similar to cooking rice. Meanwhile, he began making the mooncake dough.

He mixed sugar syrup, alkaline water, and vegetable oil in a large bowl, then added flour and stirred until well combined. He transferred the mixture to a chopping board and kneaded it into a dough. He covered it with a damp cloth and let it rest for about an hour.

While the dough was resting, Yu Qingze directly mashed the cooked red beans in the pot, adding some oil and sugar syrup to make the red bean paste.

After the dough had rested, he divided it into ten equal portions, and the red bean paste was also divided into ten portions. He flattened the dough and wrapped it around the red bean filling, then pressed it into a mold to shape it.

Chang Le thought it seemed simple and wanted to give it a try, especially enjoying the step of pressing the patterns. So, Yu Qingze let him make the remaining few mooncakes.

Then came the crucial step of baking.

Yu Qingze first tried baking the cakes directly on the iron plate, brushing them with beaten egg halfway through the process. They turned golden brown on both sides, but the edges of the mooncakes weren’t as crispy, and due to multiple flips, the shape of the cakes became slightly distorted.

Then he tried steaming the raw cakes first and then baking them. It seemed to improve the results.

Finally, they tasted all three versions together: the fully steamed, directly baked, and steamed-then-baked mooncakes.

“Brother Yu, the fully steamed one tastes good too.” Chang Hao ate one that was purely steamed and not baked, finding it delicious.

Yu Qingze also tasted it, noting that it lacked the fragrance of the baked ones, but the taste was still acceptable. The other two baked versions had a slightly richer aroma.

“How does it taste? Actually, in a couple of days, the baked ones will become more flavorful after the oil settles, but we don’t have time for that now. It’s already the 10th today,” Yu Qingze asked the three of them. “What do you think? Can we sell these?”

Chang Hao, a lover of snacks, nodded and was the first to agree, saying, “They can be sold. They’re really delicious.”

Grandpa Chang also thought they tasted great, even better than the Tuan Yuan Bing, and he nodded as well.

Chang Le has been following Yu Qingze in business recently and has developed his own opinions. He gestured, suggesting that they can give a few mooncakes to customers for a taste test tomorrow, preferably to Mi Ge’er so that he can take them back to Cai Yunwei. If Cai Yunwei finds them delicious, the market response should be positive.

Yu Qingze looked at Chang Le and chuckled, “Brother Le, you’ve learned some bad habits. You’re actually using young master Cai as a taste tester to assess the market response.”

Chang Le pursed his lips, feeling a little embarrassed, but he bravely gestured again. If young master Cai says they’re delicious, then ordinary folks will certainly think they’re delicious too! They will sell well, not just during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Yu Qingze burst into laughter and said, “Exactly, Brother Le is right. Let’s do that. We’ll have young master Cai taste them tomorrow!”


Thingyan: I also want to be a food taster for Yu Oppa!!!!!


  1. Aprillen says:

    I too want to be a product tester for YQZ!

  2. Cheroo says:

    Thanks for translating ❤️
    I saw a how to make mooncakes YT video once and the actual process took 5 days to make 🤣😂.. After I saw that I’m like… I guess I’ll never try it..such a long process.

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