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Chapter 35 Stealing Recipe?

Lady Su's Revenge
     Hearing what the shopkeeper said, everyone was shocked. Wasn’t this delicious chicken the famous top dish?

    Are you kidding?

    The shopkeeper continued, “The real Beggar’s Chicken has strict requirements for the duration and degree of heating. Only when the miss of the Su Family, that is, the owner of the restaurant, spends a large amount of time cooking it by herself can the real dish be made. Unfortunately, the miss of the Su Family is still young. How much could she possibly make on her own? So, the miss figured out the way to reduce the process and increase the output. As a result, everyone just tasted the Beggar’s Chicken which is a less flavorful version.”

    “It turns out that the miss of the Su Family is a genius.” Mr. Zhou was moved to tears, “Such a chef! I hope to see her someday.”


    The shopkeeper pointed at the sign placed aside, “The price of the real Beggar’s Chicken at 50 taels isn’t high at all. Our restaurant accepts advance bookings every month. Only three dishes will be available each month. The Beggar’s Chicken served today is not limited and sold at a low price of 10 taels.”

    Everyone felt this was a very cheap price. The middle-class guests who couldn’t afford it would order another dish to satisfy their appetite.

    The cooks in the kitchen continued to make the Beggar’s Chicken throughout the day. However, it could only last for three rounds. It had been late night after the third round was finished. The guests only left after the restaurant was closed.

    “Master, have a look! The profit of the restaurant in the first day came out.”

    In the Main Courtyard of the Su House, the old butler hurried in the study holding a booklet. Su Huanli immediately grabbed it.

    “We made 800 taels on the first day! With the cost of the ingredients excluded, the net profit was more than 500 taels, which is much more profitable than the silk shop.”

    Su Huanli was so excited that his hands were shaking. This was the profit of the restaurant in one day. Forty percent of the profit means more than 200 taels, amounting to 6,000 taels of silver in a month!

    “Master, your business strategy is excellent. First, mark a high price of 50 taels to keep guests guessing, then make them be addicted to it by offering a free dish, and finally reduce the price. As a result, no one can bear it. Even moderately rich families threw silver at it.”

    Su Huanli felt ashamed upon hearing what the butler said. In fact, he heard of the plan from Erya. First, he had thought the plan was unreliable. What could be done if guests were scared away at a price of 50 taels?

    However, he knew that even if Erya kept cooking for the whole day, he wouldn’t be able to satisfy everyone’s appetite. Since he couldn’t think of anything else, he had to carry out the plan.

    Unexpectedly, the plan turned out to be great. They not only improved the price of the Beggar’s Chicken but also advertised the dishes made by his daughter as treasures which guests scrambled to reserve.

    Erya was so talented in business. If she run the Baiwei Building, the profit would be even higher.

    “In the past, the signature dish of Baiwei Building was only worth one tael of silver, the current signature dish is ten times higher. Yet all of the guests felt that it was cheap. That’s...”

    Su Huanli shook his head and laughed, sweeping previous worries and fears he sat tight in the square chair again. All that was left for him was to keep the chicken farm operating well, to sit at home and collect money. How comfortable was that?!


    There were few people out in Dasu Town late at night. Fang Yuan moved fast in the dim alley. He stopped at the door of an old courtyard.

    Fang Ling, who heard a sound, pushed against the courtyard door and asked quietly, “Brother?”

    Fang Yuan’s alertness disappeared. He held back his tiredness and said in a low voice, “It’s me, Ling, open the door.”

    The courtyard door creaked and opened immediately, revealing Fang Ling’s very happy little cheeks.

    “Brother, you’re finally back. I was so worried! Did the guys in the restaurant embarrass you? My sisters told me that the people in the Dahan Country are very cunning and vicious.”

    Fang Yuan took a small parcel and came in. Fang Ling kept chattering as she closed the door, but she dared not look directly at her brother.

    With an oil lamp burning, Fang Yuan’s face was softened in the light. He gently wiped away the tear stains which didn’t disappear in the corner of his sister’s eyes, feeling distressed.

    The girl must secretly cry during the day.

    “I was blinded by the wind. I didn’t cry.” Fang Ling explained hurriedly, but there were still signs of wetness in her eyes.

    Fang Yuan quickly changed the topic, “The shopkeeper is very good. He not only raised my pay but also gave me a special reward. Fang Ling, open it.”

    The new topic grabbed Fang Ling’s attention. She carefully opened the parcel and cheered instantly seeing a half of the Beggar’s Chicken without skin.

    “Wow, it’s the Beggar’s Chicken! Brother, you are so amazing. I heard that it costs 50 taels! I will heat it. Let’s eat together later.”

    Fang Yuan nodded and watched his sister holding the Beggar’s Chicken and going into the kitchen. His smile disappeared and he clenched his fists so violently that they almost bled.

    “Fang, this half of chicken fell into the swill bucket. You did a good job today. It was your reward. Continue the good work. Okay?”

    Even if he was not a high-ranking official...He was a decent and dignified person, not a beggar used to dealing with garbage!

    Yet he hadn’t received his pay, so they…had to eat it.

    In a large magnificent courtyard close to the small courtyard, a group of local ruffians were playing cards, with the voices of women chiming in from time to time.

    “What about the kid?”

    “Ha-ha, we stole his money and the brother and sister tramped the streets. You gave them the shabby courtyard on credit. He felt grateful for it!”

    “I didn’t expect that the kid would be so rich. He had more than 500 taels.”

    “Ha ha ha, his money is ours anyway.”


    It was a dark moonless night. One couldn’t see their hand in front of them.

    When Su Erya woke up the next morning, she saw hundreds of orders sent by her father. Based on a quota of three dishes per month, the orders from the first day alone would take until next year to fulfill.

    Su Erya sighed. The news about the Beggar’s Chicken couldn’t have already spread to other towns in just one day. All these orders had to have come from Dasu Town. “It’s said that people in Dasu Town are not rich. I guess that isn’t true.”

    Su Erya put the orders aside and carried out her normal routine. There were no signs of cooking at all.

    Su Huanli was in a hurry when he received the news. He stopped his business and immediately ran in, slowing down to speak, “Erya, these orders are piled up to the mountains. Choosing not to make money doesn’t make sense. Why don’t you work harder and fulfill all the orders?”

    His daughter rebuffed him, “Daddy I could work harder. However, books say that the rarer a thing is, the more it is worth. If I cook too much, the guests may feel it isn’t as rare as they thought, and even that they’re suffering a loss no matter how delicious it is.”

    Su Erya paused and said, “Also, the meaning of a signature dish doesn’t lie in the food itself, but how the rich use it to show their identity. If it becomes available to everyone, the rich will feel that it is not rare, and there will be no more orders. Daddy, you must not be confused by the all these initial orders.”

    Su Huanli was instantly enlightened as if wakening from a dream. What his daughter said was completely right. The business vision should be long-term. If the business was run his way, this favorable situation might disappear.

    “Wow!” Su Huanli exclaimed, “You aren’t expected to know so much at such a young age. I have to look at you with new eyes.”

    Su Huanli was still slightly reluctant to give up more than 5,000 taels of silver!

    “Doctor Qi is a good master.” Su Erya began to credit Qi Xianqing with the praise, “He not only teaches me reading and writing, but also tells me the truth of life and the philosophy of life. What Doctor Qi says often proves to be true.”

    “It turns out that Doctor Qi is really an unworldly master!”

    Su Huanli echoed what her daughter said, but became alert as never before. He used to think that Qi Xianqing was good because he had no conflicts of interest with him. Now Erya was an important figure in the Su Family. If Qi Xianqing taught Erya to rebel, his days would be over.

    “I have to think of a way to deal with it.”

    Su Huanli left with an evil plan, and Su Erya smiled a small smile and sat down to read books as if nothing else existed.

    What she was reading was the fifth hurdle of Ghost Valley Meditation Direction.

    “Miss, why were the plants brought by the Master now less than half? Were we robbed?” Nanny Li came in and asked nervously.

    Shaking her head, Su Erya said, “Nanny, don’t worry. They were poisonous, so I threw them away.”

    “That’s good.”

    Nanny Li breathed a sigh of relief and inadvertently caught sight of an extra black porcelain bottle on the table, but she did not ask about it. There were a lot of seasonings the miss used, so the bottle was not that suspicious.

    Nanny Li became anxious when she thought of something. She ran and closed the door and then whispered, “Miss, the maid you bribed before told me that the Third Miss has inquired about the layout of your study over the past two days.”

    Su Erya was shocked and smiled lightly, “Zipei... What would she like to steal?”

    “You study is filled with books. And recipes. What else would she want to steal?” Without finishing her words, Nanny Li suddenly realized something and said, widening her eyes, “Maybe...”

    Su Erya shook her head helplessly, “If she wants to take it, let her. The Third Sister has disguised herself as me in the restaurant for two days and must be suffering a lot.”

    “Miss!” Nanny Li suddenly felt anxious, “Su Zipei was mean to you, and you...”

    “Nanny, stop mentioning it. Tell the guards that it’s my order to let the Third Sister in and not to embarrass her.”

    Hearing Su Erya’s instructions, Nanny Li stamped her feet, but she had to do as she said.

    No matter how she cared about the Second Miss, she didn’t dare disobey her. The greatest taboo of servants was the unwillingness to listen to their masters’ words. Who would hire servants who did not listen to masters’ words?

    “Miss is still too softhearted. I hope everything goes well.” After passing on the order of the miss, Nanny Li still felt worried, but she had no choice but hope that the Third Miss had a conscience and didn’t steal the recipe as they guessed she would.

    In the study, Su Erya put down the writing brush and gently dried the ink.

    She was writing a recipe, as there was no complete recipe for the Beggar’s Chicken in the study. Since Su Zipei wanted it, she had to be prepared in advance.

    She did not make any false description for the recipe, which was several times more detailed than what she had previously given to the kitchen helpers.

    “My dear Third Sister, don’t let me down.”

    Chuckling, Su Erya rolled up the paper, picked up the Copybook of Dahan and left the Jinyuan Court.