Chapter 43: The Culinary Tycoon

Sold Out

Mooncakes were able to penetrate the prominent market of Tongshan City due to the underlying influence of the Cai Family. Yu Qingze was well aware of this fact. Otherwise, how could those influential households take notice of a peddler like him who didn’t even have a proper shop?

Although the snack stall had gained some reputation in Tongshan City over the past month, it was still just a small food stall, incomparable to those famous long-established brands.

Especially for prestigious and influential families who valued their reputation, the gifts they gave represented the dignity of their family. Naturally, these gifts had to be renowned and presentable to be given away.

In the case of the Cai Family, if it wasn’t for the peculiar illness of the second young master, and his coincidental fondness for the food made by Yu Qingze, coupled with Yu Qingze teaching various recipes and porridge techniques to the Cai Family’s cooks, improving Cai Yunwei’s appetite and gradually restoring his health, and then Yu Qingze making a visit and captivating the hearts of the Cai Family with his exquisite cuisine…

Without this series of “causes,” there wouldn’t have been the “effect” of the Cai Family using mooncakes from the small snack stall as gifts.

Although the favorable results were achieved through his own culinary skills, it’s important to acknowledge the kindness and goodwill extended to him. To reciprocate, he decided to offer them something they haven’t tasted before, as the Cai family already possesses everything else. That evening, he prepared additional snacks and wrote two recipes for traditional soups as a token of gratitude and a Mid-Autumn Festival gift. The following day, when the group arrived at Beida Street, Mi Ge’er was already waiting for them. He had also come to present Yu Qingze with a Mid-Autumn Festival gift.

“Good morning, Boss Yu, Brother Le, Brother Chang, Uncle,” Mi Ge’er greeted us cheerfully, as he hadn’t been able to visit for the past two days due to the busy household.

“Good morning, Mi Ge’er,” Yu Qingze replied, noticing a change in his bangs. They were styled similarly to one of the designs he had sketched earlier.

Brother Le pointed at his own bangs, gave a thumbs-up, and gestured that they looked great.

Brother Chang joined in, saying, “You were already good-looking, but now you look even better.”

With his small face, inherent cuteness, and lively nature, the irregular bangs added a playful and mischievous touch, making Mi Ge’er even more attractive. He happily asked, “Do they look good? Hehe, I owe it to the hairstyles you gave me.” The three gers continued to talk and praise each other’s hairstyles.

Observing them, Yu Qingze was surprised. He didn’t expect that a few different bang styles would suddenly bring these three gers closer. Although they knew each other before, Mi Ge’er’s interaction was not as familiar as between Chang Le and Brother Chang They maintained a basic level of acquaintance. Now, they were shamelessly complimenting each other, which was quite amusing.

The friendship among gers was truly incomprehensible to him.

However, seeing Brother Le genuinely happy and smiling naturally in Mi Ge’er’s presence brought him great joy.

His Brother Le was gradually changing.

“By the way, Boss Yu, this was specially sent by Madam Cai. He also invited all of you to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival at our residence tomorrow. What do you think?” After their playful exchange, Mi Ge’er handed Yu Qingze the gift and conveyed the message from the Cai family.

Coincidentally, at that moment, two customers who had placed orders for mooncakes arrived to pick them up. They were stewards from affluent households and knew Mi Ge’er, the young ger who often searched for fresh delicacies for the Second Young Master of the Cai family. Upon hearing the conversation between Mi Ge’er and Yu Qingze, they stood to the side, prepared to wait for a moment.

Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.

At that moment, as they heard Mi Ge’er’s words, the two stewards exchanged a glance and saw astonishment reflected in each other’s eyes.

It seemed that the rumors about the Cai family’s high regard for the owner of this snack stall were true. They had even invited him to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival at their residence!

Glancing at Brother Le, it occurred to Yu Qingze that this would be their first Mid-Autumn Festival together. He wanted to spend it with Brother Le’s family. He said, “Please thank the Old Master for me, but we won’t disturb them on the Mid-Autumn Festival. If Old Master Cai and the others are available on the 20th, we plan to visit. Could you inquire about their availability for me?”

“Sure, Boss Yu. If Old Master Cai and the others learn that you’re coming, they’ll definitely be delighted,” Mi Ge’er happily replied. He continued, “The Second Young Master’s condition has improved significantly. He has been able to increase his daily activities. Old Master Cai and Madam Cai are both pleased and eager to personally express their gratitude to you.”

Yu Qingze responded, “It’s all thanks to the Second Young Master’s good fortune. I shouldn’t take credit.”

Mi Ge’er chuckled with his hand covering his mouth and then said, “You’re truly modest, Boss Yu. Alright, I should go back now. It’s been busy at the residence these past few days.”

Yu Qingze handed him the gifts and said, “These are some pastries I made. Please take them back for Old Master Cai and the others to taste. There are also two soup recipes that Uncle Fu can prepare. They’re suitable for elderly and weak individuals to nourish their bodies.”

Mi Ge’er’s eyes brightened as he took the pastries and thanked Yu Qingze, saying, “Alright, I’ll convey Old Master Cai and the others’ gratitude to you, Boss Yu.”

After Mi Ge’er left, the two customers came to pick up the pre-ordered mooncakes.

Brother Chang’s father assisted Yu Qingze in handing out the mooncakes to each customer, while Yu Qingze carefully calculated the amounts and collected payment before seeing the customers off.

Then, the customers who had ordered mooncakes yesterday came one by one to pick up their orders. Yu Qingze was busy with calculations, while Brother Chang’s father helped with checking the quantity of goods. Brother Le was busy preparing the soup base for the Guandong Zhu, and Brother Chang set up the tables and chairs, opened the parasols, and made preparations before starting the stall.

Everything was busy yet organized.

After the stall opened, some customers inquired about the mooncakes from yesterday and expressed their desire to buy some to let their children and family members try.

Brother Chang smiled and replied, “I apologize, but those mooncakes have all been sold out. We don’t have any left these past two days.”

The customers were surprised and said, “What? Sold out? Yesterday morning, there were still plenty, and not many people were buying them.”

Brother Chang smiled and said, “Yes, in the afternoon, several customers came, and they were all sold out. Even tomorrow’s batch has been pre-ordered.”

“Even the expensive boxed ones are sold out?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Which wealthy family bought them all?”

“We don’t know about that. But they bought quite a lot, regardless.”

“Sigh… If only I had bought some yesterday!”

The customers who had considered the mooncakes expensive yesterday found that even the expensive ones were now unavailable!

The people at the snack stall expressed helplessness, saying, “Who told you not to buy them yesterday? Now, even if we want to sell them to you, there are none left.”

In the afternoon, something happened at Liu’s Noodle House across the street. The owner, Boss Liu, angrily fired one of the staff members, and no matter how the staff member begged, it was of no use.

A crowd gathered at the entrance of Liu’s Noodle House to watch the commotion, and Yu Qingze also went over.

“Get lost, get lost! Don’t let me see you again!” Boss Liu chased the person with a broom, continuously sweeping it towards his feet.

The staff member had a mournful face and pleaded, “Uncle Liu, I’m sorry, Uncle Liu. I made a terrible mistake, and I won’t dare to do it again. Please don’t fire me. If I lose this job, my whole family will be left with nothing.”

Boss Liu seemed furious, his face red and his voice hoarse as he shouted, “Get lost! Don’t call me Uncle Liu, go call Uncle Wang instead! If it weren’t for your father’s sake, I wouldn’t have hired you either! Are you worthy of your father? Tomorrow, I’ll go and tell your father what a good son he has, who knows how to make money just by flapping his lips! Ah! Get out of here, as far away as possible!”

Upon hearing this, the staff member immediately knelt down and pleaded, “Uncle Liu, I was wrong. You can hit me, but please don’t tell my father. I beg you…”

Boss Liu was extremely angry. He grabbed the broom and began hitting the staff member while scolding, “Get lost! If you don’t leave, I’ll beat you to death!”

The staff member dodged and begged for mercy while Boss Liu chased after him, but eventually, the staff member left in a sorry state.

Yu Qingze walked up to Boss Liu’s side and asked, “What happened?”

Boss Liu sighed and said, “This person is the son of a childhood friend of my father’s. He used to be idle all day, so his father begged my father to let him work at the noodle house. My father agreed out of respect for his father. Who would have thought this kid would turn out like this? This morning, my father caught him sharing the recipe for our famous fried sauce noodles with someone surnamed Wang over there, and he sold it for five taels of silver. Sigh…”

Yu Qingze raised an eyebrow, understanding the situation. “So, how much did he reveal? Does he know how to make the sauce?”

Boss Liu shook his head, leaned closer to Yu Qingze, and whispered, “He doesn’t know. We make the sauce at home and bring it here. What he said was incorrect, but he revealed the method of stir-frying and mixing the noodles since he saw us doing it. My father is really furious.”

Yu Qingze nodded and said, “I see. Thankfully, it was discovered. The method for stir-frying and mixing the noodles is simple, and Boss Wang will eventually be able to do it himself after some time. However, you should be more cautious about the sauce in the future.”

Boss Liu still had lingering fear as he said, “Yes, we will be more careful.”

“How’s business at the noodle house these days? I’ve been busy making mooncakes,” Yu Qingze asked.

Upon hearing this, Eldest son Liu smiled and said, “It’s great, very busy every day.”

Yu Qingze raised his chin and asked again, “And over there?”

Eldest Liu knew that Yu Qingze was referring to Wang’s Noodle House. He whispered while covering his mouth, “Let me tell you, these past few days, quite a few of their regular customers have come to our side to eat. I guess their situation isn’t good, otherwise, they wouldn’t resort to such despicable tactics to buy people off.”

Upon hearing this, Yu Qingze laughed and patted the shoulder of Eldest Liu, saying, “That’s really good news! Keep up the good work! It would be best if we can snatch them all away!”

Liu’s Noodle House and Wang’s Noodle House have been at odds for a long time. Upon hearing Yu Qingze’s words, Eldest Liu chuckled, but then he was scolded by his father.

“Why are you just standing there? Hurry up and go to the kitchen to help! Are you ignoring the customers?” Boss Liu shouted.

Eldest Liu: …

Yu Qingze: …

“Yes, father, I got it. I’m going now!” Eldest Liu made a helpless eye gesture to Yu Qingze and quickly slipped back to the kitchen.

Yu Qingze could only give him a sympathetic look. Having a strict and ill-tempered father meant he had to constantly remember not to be lazy!

“Boss Yu, you’ve come at the right time. Take the money for these past few days,” Boss Liu said after shouting his eldest son back to the kitchen.

Since they started cooperating, their relationship had gradually improved, and now they referred to each other as “Boss Yu” and “Brother Liu.”

“Okay.” Yu Qingze followed Boss Liu back to the counter of the noodle house.

Boss Liu took out the account book and handed it to Yu Qingze, then sighed and said, “I made a fool of myself, letting you witness all this.”

While looking at the account book, Yu Qingze said, “It’s alright. Sometimes there are things that can’t be avoided due to face-saving issues. I understand.”

Boss Liu sighed.

After Yu Qingze finished looking at the account book, Boss Liu gave him his share of the income from the past few days. Yu Qingze signed on the account book, also retroactively signing the previous entry, and then prepared to return to the snack stall.

“Wait, Boss Yu,” Boss Liu called out to Yu Qingze and asked, “Are you coming to open the stall tomorrow?”

“No, we won’t open the stall, but I’ll still come by. I have a few customers who want their mooncakes delivered in the morning,” Yu Qingze replied.

“Oh, alright. Remember to come here before you leave tomorrow. I have something for you,” Boss Liu said.

“What is it?” Yu Qingze asked curiously.

Boss Liu smiled and said, “Something good. You’ll find out tomorrow.”

The next day, the snack stall was closed, and only Yu Qingze and Brother Le came to deliver the mooncakes. After all the mooncakes were taken away, Yu Qingze brought two boxes of “Five Blessings at Your Doorstep” and gave them to Boss Liu.

Boss Liu happily accepted them and then went to the kitchen to bring a basket for Yu Qingze.

“What’s this good thing?” Yu Qingze opened it and was instantly stunned. “This is… beef?”

Inside the basket were two large packages of meat, one of them beef, and the other one resembling pork, although it was much leaner than pork.

“Yes, today two cows were allowed to be slaughtered in the market. I got the news and went with my second son to snatch a few kilograms. These are for you,” Boss Liu replied.

Because oxen were important for agriculture, the government had specific regulations prohibiting the indiscriminate slaughter of cows. Killing a cow without proper authorization was a serious offense. Only cows that were old or sick and could no longer work could be slaughtered, and even then, it required approval from the specialized management department.

Therefore, this beef wasn’t available every day. But whenever cows were allowed to be slaughtered, they would undoubtedly be sold out immediately, sometimes even before they left the slaughterhouse, as people had already pre-ordered them.

Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.

Yu Qingze was also pleasantly surprised and said happily, “This is really something great! Thank you, Big Brother. I won’t hesitate to accept it.”

Boss Liu laughed and waved his hand, saying, “Take it.”

Yu Qingze then looked at the other piece of meat and asked, “Is this wild boar meat by any chance?”

Boss Liu’s eyes lit up, and he said, “Good eye! This was hunted by one of my relatives in the countryside. They killed it in the mountains this morning and brought me some.”

Yu Qingze exclaimed, “This is also something fantastic! Today, I’ve really struck gold! Thank you.”

Boss Liu glared at him and said, “Why are you being polite with me? No need for formalities.”

“Alright, alright!”

Leaving Liu’s place, Yu Qingze happily said to Brother Le, “Brother Le, let’s go to the market. There are delicious things to be had today!”


Thingyan: Sigh, if only those people listened to this esteemed translator, they would have had some mooncakes made by the protagonist 😏


  1. Eyesee says:

    I feel like I need to make mooncakes after reading this!

    1. Iron Thandar says:

      Please do and post pics ☺️

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