Chapter 34 Beggar’s Chicken
Time passed when Su Li studied Nothing Unusual.
One day, the Baiwei Building in the Dasu Town, which was decorated with lanterns and festoons, finally opened again. As soon as the waiter opened the door, a large number of customers who had already waited outside for a long time suddenly flooded in!
The entire Baiwei Building, with a different layout, was refurbished under the cooperation of the three families. The large sign placed on the shopkeeper’s counter struck people most.
“Is it the new top-one dish?!”
The guests seated concentrated 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?”
The scream suddenly attracted other guests’ attention to it. Then the noises were louder. Other guests began to scold.
“What kind of chicken is worth fifty taels? It doesn’t cost so much money to spend half a month in a brothel!”
“It’s bullying. Who can afford it? You cheated 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, not to mention that one dish was worth fifty taels. If they tasted a free dish, wouldn’t it be an extra benefit? No one would miss such benefits.
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.
Work in the kitchen had begun to save time and improve efficiency. Su Li spent several days detailing the steps of Beggar’s Chicken, asking each helper to be responsible for one step, such as dealing with 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 Li, the taste still was not bad.
Standing in the middle of the kitchen, Su Zipei completely became an onlooker. 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?”
Suddenly a bright and clear voice came from the back of Su Zipei. She was so scared that she almost jumped up. A middle-aged big-boned man in cook 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 chief cook. 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 status.
“Not really. I am still young with less experience. I would appreciate Uncle He’s help.” Su Zipei learned to say like adults, but felt worried. If He Shi asked her about the Beggar’s Chicken, it would be bad.
“No. You are too polite.”
There was full of admiration in He Shi’s words. He praised, “The Beggar’s Chicken that you invented was a rarity in the word! Even cooks in the County Town can’t cook it. Moreover, you detailed the cooking steps. How impressive it 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 something else. He didn’t have the time to ask more questions. Su Zipei stood there for a while and seriously breathed out the foul smell. It seemed that she wanted to release all the pressure these days.
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 with a dark skin. 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 out 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 with eyes rolling quickly. Nobody knew what tricks she was perceiving.
The guests waited in the restaurant for sheer four hours from morning to noon. However, the number did not decrease but increase. It was the time for lunch at noon. Many passers-by followed the crowd and waited seeing the Baiwei Building filled with guests.
Some passers-by learned of the Beggar’s Chicken with mutual circulation of information. Thus, they wouldn’t leave as long as there was enough time.
An orderly sound rang from the kitchen. It turned out to be a dozen of waiters orderly 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 the 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 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 watch. This time there were a dozen of dishes of Beggar’s Chickens. So the fragrance was stronger. 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 can 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 to another 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’s urgent 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, a sheer 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. The dish can be called as the signature dish. Our Dasu Town finally boasted 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 take the chicken together with the rest.
“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 dared to take my food in my life. 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 felt relieved seeing the scene. The new master was really smart. He predicted fights before.
“Fang Yuan is very clever. Fortunately, I was softhearted and took him home. Otherwise the good effect today may not happen.”
When the shopkeeper saw the little boy shuttling in the crowd, he could not help but laugh. I heard that the 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 completely won their hearts.
And those poor guests could only be envious and incidentally scolded the boss 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!”