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Chapter 34 Beggar’s Chicken

Lady Su's Revenge
     Time passed as Su Erya studied Nothing Unusual.

    Finally, the Baiwei Building, decorated with lanterns and festoons, was ready for its grand reopening. As soon as the waiter opened the door, a large number of customers flooded in!

    The entire Baiwei Building had a different layout, after being refurbished under the cooperation of the three families. The large sign placed on the shopkeeper’s counter struck people most.

    “Beggar’s Chicken!”

    “Is that the new top dish?!”

    “Strange name.”

    The guests seated themselves and kept talking. Seeing the bottom of the sign, someone suddenly screamed, “Are you kidding me?! Fifty taels for a dish of Beggar’s Chicken? Shopkeeper, why don’t you rob someone else?”

    This scream attracted other guests’ attention. The noises of protest grew louder. Other guests began to scold.

    “What kind of chicken is worth fifty taels? It doesn’t cost that much money to spend half a month in a brothel!”

    “This is bullying. Who can afford it? You treat us as fools?”

    “Humph... Rubbish restaurant. Goodbye!”

    “...”

    In the blink of an eye, the number of guests halved. The remaining guests were suspicious. The shopkeeper wiped his cold sweat and quickly explained:

    “Guests, main and non-staple ingredients used in Beggar’s Chicken are unique. Our master even opened a chicken farm, which is to raise chicken for Beggar’s Chicken. Today, our restaurant opens and offers free Beggar’s Chicken for you to taste. If you have enough time, wait a moment.”

    Afterwards, guests ready to leave stayed and many of those who had left returned. No guests would miss a free dish of Beggar’s Chicken, especially one worth fifty taels. No one would miss such a deal.

    With such thoughts in mind, many guests sat down, ordered some side dishes and waited patiently.

    Although Li Shanbao took all the cooks away, the helpers were still there, and it was not a problem for them to cook some ordinary side dishes.

    Su Erya spent several days detailing the steps of Beggar’s Chicken, asking each helper to be responsible for one step, such as dealing with the chicken, applying seasoning, making charcoal fires, etc.

    In this way, helpers quickly mastered the steps. Although the Beggar’s Chicken made in the assembly line could not compete with that made by Su Erya, the taste still was not bad.

    Standing in the middle of the kitchen, Su Zipei could only look on. Although she remembered the process of making the Beggar’s Chicken well, she still felt helpless.

    Moreover, looking at the greasy kitchen tables, Su Zipei had a feeling of nausea and she wished to go home immediately.

    “I think you are Su Zipei, the inventor of Beggar’s Chicken?”

    A bright and clear voice came from behind Su Zipei. She was so scared that she almost jumped up. A middle-aged big-boned man in cooking apparel was looking at her with a smile. There were certain earnestness and admiration in his expression.

    He was a cook!

    Su Zipei turned slightly flustered and did not show her arrogance as usual. Immediately she said, “I am Su Zipei. Who are you?”

    “Ha-ha, you are so polite. My name is He Shi, the new head chef. I just came. I’d appreciate your help in the future.”

    Seeing Su Zipei treat him politely, He Shi felt comfortable. He thought he was a wise job-hopper. In the previous restaurant, he did not have such a status.

    “Not really. I am still young with less experience. I would appreciate Uncle He’s help.” Su Zipei felt worried. If He Shi asked her about the Beggar’s Chicken, it would be bad.

    “No. You are too polite.”

    There was admiration in He Shi’s words. He praised, “The Beggar’s Chicken that you invented was a great rarity! Even cooks in the County Town can’t cook it. Moreover, you detailed the cooking steps. How impressive that is! Your way will definitely be imitated by other restaurants in the future!”

    “Haha... Uncle He, you are so polite.” Su Zipei smiled very reluctantly with her forehead sweating.

    Fortunately, He Shi, serving as the only cook in the restaurant, was quickly asked to do another task. He didn’t have the time to ask more questions. Su Zipei stood there for a while and tried to push out the foul smell.

    Seeing that everyone was busy, Su Zipei suddenly felt suffocated.

    How could Su Erya be so capable?

    Su Erya was an ugly good-for-nothing. How could she become so outstanding? These delicacies couldn’t be invented by Su Erya. They were definitely stolen by her.

    “Yes, she stole them from others!”

    Su Zipei’s eyes suddenly brightened, as if she found the correct answer, “The Second Sister must steal the recipes from others. She just cooked dishes according to the recipes. In fact, she doesn’t have the talent for cooking at all! If I can get the recipes, I will definitely be able to replace Su Erya and become a true genius!”

    Su Zipei felt excited.

    The guests waited in the restaurant for four hours from morning to noon. However, the number did not decrease but increased. At noon, it was the time for lunch. Many passers-by followed the crowd and waited after seeing the Baiwei Building was filled with guests.

    Some passers-by learned of the Beggar’s Chicken through word of mouth.

    “Serving!!”

    An orderly sound rang from the kitchen. It turned out to be a dozen of waiters coming out from the back with plates. There were at least two large soil balls in each plate.

    Guests who had waited for a long time were suddenly shocked. “What’s this? Beggar’s Chicken?!”

    “You are right!”

    An eloquent youngster suddenly said, “This is Beggar’s Chicken, the famous dish of our restaurant. But you have not seen the real one. Wait patiently.”

    The waiter had put the dishes in tables while talking, one dish for one table. There were eight guests sitting around one table. They were curious about the smoking ball.

    “It’s time to see the real Beggar’s Chicken. Look at it carefully!”

    The youngster picked up a hammer and gently tapped the outer mud shell. Suddenly dense cracks appeared in the shell. The shell finally cracked from the middle.

    Although the rest of the waiters were not as deft as the youngster, they also successfully tapped the mud shell open.

    Instantly the restaurant was full of fragrance!

    Guests breathed in uniformly. The fragrance spread far away, attracting many passers-by to stop and stare. This time there were a dozen of dishes of Beggar’s Chickens. So the fragrance was very strong. The current atmosphere was far livelier than last time when the three families tried the dish.

    “Wow, it’s really delicious! I have never smelled such a unique fragrance in my life!” A well-dressed master who looked green and inexperienced, said.

    Beside him, a middle-aged person who looked learned nodded and commented, “A good dish is good-looking, fragrant and tasty. Now the fragrance meets the requirements. Let’s see the appearance and taste.”

    “Yes, what Mr. Zhou said is very reasonable!”

    “Mr. Zhou, a famous gourmet, also came here. How could he miss the dish?”

    The middle-aged man known as Mr. Zhou had been hungry for a long time. He pointed at the Beggar’s Chicken wrapped in lotus leaves and asked, “Waiter, should the Beggar’s Chicken be eaten with lotus leaves? I tasted lotus leaves. They are not so good.”

    “You must be kidding.”

    The youngster smiled brilliantly. He untied the cotton thread and peeled off the lotus leaf quickly. Then the whole golden chicken was revealed. The fragrance of the entire restaurant reached a whole other level.

    “Good, good, good!”

    Mr. Zhou said the word “good” three times and continued to comment, “The whole chicken is not round enough, but it is justifiable considering it was made quickly today. The color of the chicken is golden and the skin is complete. It can be seen that the chicken was specially treated. I don’t know whether the chicken belly is stuffed. If not, the chicken is too simple.”

    While he was talking, the guests in other tables had started to eat, mumbling “too delicious!” The guests at the same table with Mr. Zhou had drooled for a long time but didn’t dare to eat, seeing Mr. Zhou hadn’t begun.

    Mr. Zhou smiled an apologetical smile. He picked up a knife and cut the chicken in the middle. The unique stuffing was then revealed.

    “Nice! It’s really special. This dish is truly a signature dish. Our Dasu Town can finally boast its high-quality restaurant. I am very happy.”

    The rest on the table had begun to eat while he was talking. Mr. Zhou did not get panicked and put a piece of chicken into his mouth. Suddenly his eyes lit up and his mouth quickly chewed.

    Although he wanted to pretend to be knowledgeable, the chicken was so delicious that he had to be quicker to eat the chicken before it was finished.

    “What are you doing? This piece of chicken is mine!”

    “You took mine. You have eaten too much. Can’t you give the piece to me?”

    “Damn it! No one dares to take my food. Beat him!”

    “...”

    A fight was simmering. Luckily, constables who were ready to catch criminals outside the gate rushed into the restaurant and stopped the fight. The shopkeeper was relieved. The new master was really smart. He had predicted fights before the opening.

    “Fang Yuan is very clever. Fortunately, I was softhearted and took him home. Otherwise today would have turned out bad.”

    When the shopkeeper saw a little boy shuttling in the crowd, he could not help but laugh. I heard that this kid had to raise his younger sister. I will reward him today.

    “Shopkeeper, serve one more dish of Beggar’s Chicken. I’d like to spend fifty taels!”

    Taking out fifty taels and putting it on the table, the rich master spoke loudly. Other wealthy guests imitated him. They all took out fifty taels for the Beggar’s Chicken, which had completely won over their hearts.

    And those poor guests could only be envious and incidentally scolded the boss as a profiteer.

    The shopkeeper smiled and come out. With a deep bow for guests, he said, “Before you place orders, I would like to apologize to you. This is not the real Beggar’s Chicken!”