Chapter 52: The Culinary Tycoon

This chapter is dedicated to Qiwi and SOS13 for their Kofi support. The translators and I will continue to work hard (∩˃o˂∩)♡


Thingyan (Editor-in-cheese)



After the young boy left, Yu Qingze asked the old tea egg seller next to him, “Old man, do you know that child?”

The old man nodded and said, “Yes, I know him. He lives in the same alley as us. He’s also a poor child, sigh.”

Yu Qingze asked, “What happened? Yesterday, I saw him at the medical clinic, begging the doctor to treat his mother. According to the doctor, it seems his mother may not last much longer.”

Old man Huang nodded and sighed, “Yes, he has been sick for a long time. Last night, my son told me that the doctor said he only has a day or two left.”

With that, Old man Huang explained the situation of the young boy to Yu Qingze and Chang Le.

The boy’s name was Tian Jiabao. About seven or eight years ago, he and his mother came to Tongshan City. No one knows where they originally came from as they never told anyone. They rented a room in the most rundown alley in the west side of the city.

His mother would go out to work during the day and do laundry and sewing for others at night to support the family, barely making ends meet. Jiabao was also responsible. When he grew a little older, around seven or eight years old, he started running errands and delivering messages for others. By the time he was around ten years old, he was washing dishes at restaurants and doing any kind of work available. However, because of his young age, the wages he received from the establishments were meager, and he couldn’t earn much money.

Two years ago, his mother fell ill due to excessive labor. The illness came on strong, and despite consulting many doctors and taking medications, he couldn’t recover and could only focus on resting. His mother knew that he was becoming a burden to his child, so he refused to take the medicine. But Jiabao didn’t care about his mother’s protests and continued to fetch and prepare medicine every day. His mother couldn’t resist his persistence and eventually took the medicine.

Gradually, the small savings they had in the house were all spent on buying medicine. Later, Jiabao heard that there were lucrative opportunities at the dock, so he went there. However, due to his small build and limited strength, he could only earn a limited amount of money each day. His income couldn’t cover their expenses, and often he struggled to gather enough money for his mother’s medicine. He also tried borrowing from neighboring families, but everyone around them was in similar conditions and had no extra money to lend. Nevertheless, he saved enough money to buy medicine for his mother. He often survived on just two steamed buns a day and even fainted from hunger several times at the dock.

Now, his mother’s health had reached a critical point.

After Old Man Huang finished speaking, he let out a long sigh and said, “The child is a good child, just unfortunate. His mother was a good wife too, appearing gentle and refined. I heard he could even read. Who would have thought… sigh, they are all unfortunate souls.”

Yu Qingze and Chang Le both sighed upon hearing the story, realizing how difficult the child’s life had been.

Old Man Huang sighed again and said, “The liangpi he bought from you was probably for his mother. I suppose he wanted him to taste something he had never eaten before.”

Yu Qingze let out a sigh, not knowing what else to say, so he could only sigh.

In the afternoon, the sky became overcast, and soon it started drizzling.

After half an hour passed, with no sign of the rain stopping and no customers due to the rain, Yu Qingze decided to close the stall early and go home.

As the three of them, wearing raincoats, pushed their snack cart and trolley towards the West City Gate, they encountered a group of people coming out from the adjacent alley.

The first two individuals were wearing raincoats and carrying a simple stretcher made of branches. On the stretcher lay a body covered in a simple grass mat. Behind the two individuals, there was a man carrying three shovels on his back, also wearing a raincoat. There was also a young boy who had no umbrella or raincoat, not even a bamboo hat, just getting soaked in the rain as he followed behind.

Chang Le stopped in his tracks and looked at Yu Qingze, gesturing for him to look in that direction.

Yu Qingze looked over and immediately recognized the young boy following behind. It was Jiabao, the one who had bought liangpi from them in the morning.

His mother, just as the doctor had predicted, couldn’t hold on any longer.

The young boy’s eyes were red, and it was hard to tell whether the wetness on his face was from tears or rainwater. He just stared blankly at his mother’s body on the stretcher, mechanically walking behind the two men in front.

Chang Le couldn’t bear to see it and took a bamboo hat, catching up to them and putting it on the boy’s head.

The boy raised his head in a daze, seeing Chang Le. His gaze showed a hint of confusion, unsure if he recognized him or not. As Chang Le tied the strings of the hat, the boy saw the people carrying his mother getting further away. He panicked and quickly ran to catch up, following closely behind.

Before leaving the city gate, he glanced back once, then turned his head and continued walking away.

“Brother Le, let’s go,” Yu Qingze approached and patted Chang Le’s shoulder, taking his hand and leading him back.

The three of them returned home, silent throughout the journey. Chang Hao had also learned about the boy’s situation and felt deeply moved.

The whole evening, Chang Le was visibly distraught and didn’t have much of an appetite. Grandpa Chang and Chang Hao were worried about him and asked what had happened.

Translated on ho lo lo novels dot com.

Yu Qingze saw that Chang Le remained silent and proceeded to tell Grandpa Chang and Chang Hao about what had happened during the day.

After hearing the story, Chang Hao widened his eyes and asked, “Is it the same young boy we encountered yesterday, Jiabao?”

Yu Qingze nodded in confirmation.

Chang Hao fell silent upon hearing this.

Grandpa Chang let out a sigh, unsure of what to say.

Yu Qingze, worried that Chang Le might think of his own parents’ passing and feel even more saddened, noticed his low spirits.

Knowing that Chang Le had a soft heart, Yu Qingze was certain that he wanted to help the unfortunate young boy. However, he didn’t know how to assist him.

After some thought, Yu Qingze spoke up, “Grandpa, Brother Le, with just the three of us at the snack stall, including Brother Chang, we’re already quite busy. In a few days, we’ll be making desserts for the Zhao Family, and afterward, I plan to introduce another food item, which will require hiring an assistant. So, why not invite Jiabao to work with us? He can attend to customers and help with dishwashing. We can try it out for a few days, and if he is quick-witted and suitable for customer service, we can pay him 60 wen a day. If he is more suitable for dishwashing and general tasks, then 50 wen a day. What do you think?”

Chang Le’s eyes brightened upon hearing this proposal, and he turned to eagerly nod at Yu Qingze. He wholeheartedly agreed!

“It’s a good idea,” Grandpa Chang also agreed.

Chang Hao nodded as well and said, “In that case, the young boy won’t have to work at the dock anymore.”

Yu Qingze nodded and added, “Furthermore, Brother Chang is very capable, hardworking, and intelligent. I plan to increase his wages. When we open our own restaurant in the future, I want to train him as a supervisor. If we have more assistants, he can also help with management. Grandpa, what do you think?”

Grandpa Chang nodded and said, “That’s a good idea. Brother Chang is reliable.”

“In that case, Grandpa, how much of a wage increase do you think is appropriate?” Yu Qingze asked.

Grandpa Chang waved his hand and said, “You have a better understanding of this than us. Whatever amount you think is appropriate, go ahead and increase it.”

Yu Qingze looked at Chang Le, who also nodded in agreement.

After some thought, Yu Qingze said, “Then let’s increase it to 80 wen per day. What do you think?”

Grandpa Chang and Chang Le both nodded in agreement.

With the matter settled, Yu Qingze patted Chang Le’s head and said, “Don’t worry anymore, okay?”

Chang Le blushed slightly and nodded.

Chang Hao and Grandpa Chang smiled silently.

The next day, Yu Qingze informed Brother Chang about the wage increase. Brother Chang was overjoyed and worked even harder. He was smiling throughout the morning, and the customers teased him, asking if he had encountered something good. Brother Chang happily confirmed the good news with a beaming smile.

Early in the morning, Yu Qingze asked Old Man Huang about Jiabao’s situation from the previous day. Old Man Huang said that Jiabao didn’t have money to hire someone for the burial. Even the money to buy a coffin for his mother was unavailable. A neighbor helped him carry his mother’s body outside the city for burial.

Upon returning home, kind-hearted neighbors brought him food. However, when they went to check in the morning, the food was still there. Jiabao had been sitting on the bed, holding his mother’s memorial tablet.

“Ah, poor child. Now he’s all alone, and he doesn’t know what to do,” sighed Old Man Huang.

Upon hearing this, Yu Qingze said to Old Man Huang, “Old Man, can you take me to his house later after we close the stall in the afternoon? I have something to discuss with him.”

Old Man Huang asked, “What do you want to talk to him about?”

Yu Qingze explained, “I want to offer him a job as an assistant. I think he’s suitable, so I want to talk to him and see if he’s willing to come work at my snack stall.”

Upon hearing this, Old Man Huang immediately became happy and said, “Good, good! After we close, I’ll take you there. Let me tell you, Boss Yu, this kid is hardworking. He can do all sorts of household chores and has worked on various jobs outside. He’s very capable.”

Yu Qingze said, “That would be best.”

“You’re truly a good person, Boss Yu.”

However, they didn’t have to wait until closing time in the afternoon. At noon, Tian Jiabao arrived at their snack stall.

He lowered his head, holding a bamboo hat in one hand and something wrapped in the front of his clothes with the other, walking up to Yu Qingze.

When Yu Qingze saw him, he was somewhat surprised and asked, “I was just looking for you. You’re Tian Jiabao, right? Are you doing okay?”

Chang Le also looked at him and raised his head in their direction.

The young boy lifted his lowered head, his eyes red and swollen, with only a narrow slit left where his once big eyes were.

“Boss, I’m sorry. I accidentally broke your bowl. I don’t have money to buy a replacement for you. I…” The young boy anxiously glanced around and quickly said, “Can I compensate by washing dishes for you? I know how to wash dishes and can do other tasks. Can I work to repay the debt?”

Hearing this, Yu Qingze finally noticed that the broken fragments of the bowl were tucked in the front of the boy’s clothes. He smiled and silently nodded in his heart. This young boy had a decent character. Yu Qingze said, “You don’t need to compensate now. I want to hire you to work for me, washing dishes and serving customers, for a trial period of a few days. I’ll pay you 50 wen per day. Are you willing to do it?”

The young boy widened his eyes, looking at the boss in disbelief.

“How about it? Are you willing?” Yu Qingze patiently asked again.

The young boy nodded dazedly and said, “Yes, I’m willing.”

Yu Qingze patted his head and introduced him to Chang Le and Brother Chang, saying, “I’m Yu Qingze. You can call me Boss Yu or Big Brother Yu. The one washing dishes over there is Chang Le, and the one serving customers is Brother Chang.”

The young boy hadn’t realized that Chang Le was the one washing dishes, but now he recognized him as the big brother who gave him the bamboo hat yesterday. His eyes brightened, and he walked up to Chang Le, handing him the bamboo hat and said, “Big Brother Chang Le, this is your bamboo hat. Thank you.” As he spoke, the young boy bowed to Chang Le.

Chang Le wiped his hands and took the bamboo hat, shaking his hand to indicate no need for thanks.

Yu Qingze waved and called the young boy over, saying, “Since Brother Le can’t speak, if you have any questions or don’t understand something, ask me or Brother Chang.”

Upon hearing that Chang Le couldn’t speak, the young boy’s face showed a mix of surprise and understanding. No wonder earlier…

“Go home and rest for today. Tomorrow, come here at the hour of Chen (7:00 am to 9:00 am),” Yu Qingze instructed.

The young boy nodded and turned to leave, but Yu Qingze called him back.

“Have you had lunch?” Yu Qingze asked.

The young boy covered his stomach and shook his head.

Since yesterday noon, when he had bought liangpi and returned home to find his mother had passed away, he hadn’t eaten anything. He couldn’t eat. The thought of his mother made him too sad, and tears welled up in his eyes.

Yu Qingze looked at him, told Chang Le something, and then took the boy’s hand, leading him towards Liu’s Noodle House. “Come, I’ll take you to have a meal.”

He wanted the boy to have something easily digestible and warm.

“Boss Yu, I… I can’t eat. And… I don’t have money,” the young boy anxiously explained when he heard they were going to have a meal.

Yu Qingze turned to him and asked, “Have you not eaten since yesterday?”

The young boy looked at Yu Qingze in surprise and nodded gently.

In response, Yu Qingze said, “If you don’t eat, how can you work if you faint?”

The young boy remained silent.

“Let’s go. Lunch is on the house, no need for money,” Yu Qingze said.

The young boy was pulled into the noodle house and was seated at an empty table by Yu Qingze, who instructed him to wait. Then he saw Boss Yu enter the kitchen.

He looked at Yu Qingze’s back with a sense of confusion. How could this boss be so kind?

Yu Qingze ordered a bowl of hot soup noodles for him. After he finished eating, Yu Qingze gave him money for dinner and breakfast the next day, emphasizing the importance of eating on time.

At first, the young boy refused to accept it.

Later, Yu Qingze said he would deduct it from his future wages, and only then did the boy take it.

Yu Qingze patted his shoulder and said, “Alright, go back and rest well. We have a long way ahead, so we must live well. We can’t let your mother worry, understand?”

With tears in his eyes, the young boy bowed to Yu Qingze and thanked him before leaving.

Yu Qingze returned to the snack stall, where Chang Le asked him how it went.

“Don’t worry, I gave him money for dinner and breakfast. He agreed to come and work as an assistant tomorrow morning,” Yu Qingze patted Chang Le’s head, reassuring him and letting him focus on his work.

Chang Le breathed a sigh of relief and got back to work.

With the matter of Tian Jiabao resolved, Yu Qingze went to the market in the afternoon to buy steaming baskets and ingredients for pastries.

This time, there were many orders for pastries from the Zhao Residence, but they had to be prepared well in the next two or three days. Otherwise, if the pastries turned stale, it would tarnish their reputation.

With so much to do, Yu Qingze would need the help of Brother Chang’s father and mother when he went to the Zhao Residence to make the pastries. He needed to train them in advance so they could catch up in time. Moreover, Brother Chang’s parents had to learn how to make jujube the pastries.

The next few days are going to be busy!


Thandar: Awww so nice of them to help the boy.


  1. Aprillen says:

    Oh, no, I’ve caught up! No more chapters! 😭
    Thank you for the update!

    Spotted an error: in the next to last paragraph, it says YQZ “would need the help of Chang Le’s father and mother”, but I think that should be “Brother Chang’s father and mother”? Since Chang Le doesn’t have any parents…

    1. Aprillen says:

      Sorry, spotted another typo:

      “Brother Chang’s parents had to learn how to make jujube the pastries”

      Should be “the jujube pastries”

  2. sissilia says:

    Thank you for the update ❤️💯

  3. Cici's Donuts says:

    “jujube the pastries” sounds like a movie name 😭🤣

    1. Thandar says:


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