“Did you hear? Over on the east side of the city, someone opened a…what was it called…braised food shop. They have free food tasting and half-price sale for the first day of their opening!”
“Braised food stop? What’s a braised food shop? I’ve never heard of it. Is it edible?”
“Won’t we know if it’s edible after trying? It’s free anyway!”
“Who would do a business that doesn’t earn money? Won’t they lose all the money that they invested in the business?”
“That’s right, that’s right! Is the manager a fool? They won’t trick us to try it, and then ask for money, right?”
“That can’t be, right? The shop isn’t very far from the prefectural yamen. Would a swindler dare to scam right in front of the prefectural magistrate?”
“Come, let’s go check it out! It doesn’t cost any money to take a look…”
In the Jingwei Prefectural City, everyone was talking about ‘The Yu's Braised Food Shop’. Like a cool autumn breeze, the opening of ‘The Yu’s Braised Food Shop’ had spread to every corner of the city.
Yu Xiaocao, who came up with the gimmick of free food tasting, was currently busy giving out the braised food to the people waiting in line for tasting! There was a very long line in front of The Yu’s Braised Food Shop. Liu Hu and Yu Hai were busy keeping order.
Originally, these people were watching from afar with the mindset of a bystander. At the beginning, there were very few people in front of the braised food shop. Most people didn’t believe that there would be such a good thing as a free meal. However, when Little Shitou’s classmates who lived in the prefectural city, like Little Fatty and Liu Jinye, heard about the soft opening of the braised food shop, they hurriedly sent their servants to line up. They, on the other hand, huddled in front of the glass window to look at the roasted duck, roasted chicken, smoked chicken, smoked duck, and smoked pork, drooling.
The first person in line was the steward in charge of the kitchen in the Sun Household. Yu Xiaocao pointed at the slices of braised meat and smoked meat on the plate and said with a smile, “Feel free to have a taste!”
The Sun Family’s steward looked at his young master, and then raised his voice to ask, “Can I try it even if I don’t buy anything?”
“Yes!! It’s our soft opening today, so we have free tasting and half-price sale for all our products! You can have a taste even if you don’t buy anything, but each person can only try one piece of each dish!” Yu Xiaocao replied with a smile.
The Sun Family’s steward tried each of the dishes and had high praises for the braised meat. His young master had already selected the roasted duck, roasted chicken, salted duck, and a large braised pork knuckle that he wanted to buy. If Yu Xiaocao didn’t stop him, he might have bought all of the different dishes!
“It’s a little warm now, so the food can’t be out for too long. Just buy the ones you’re eating today. Wouldn’t it be a waste if you buy too much and they end up going bad?” Seeing his intention, Yu Xiaocao promptly stopped him.
The steward of the Sun Family looked at the price of the braised meat. With the fifty percent discount, it was even cheaper than the raw pork sold on the market now. It also tasted very good. He couldn’t help but quietly ask his young master, “Young Master, my mother likes to eat meat, but she has bad teeth. The braised pig head meat is fragrant and soft, so this servant wants…”
“You have money in your pocket, so if you want to buy it, then buy it! There’s no need to ask me!” Little Fatty used a toothpick to pick up a piece of ‘crispy skin roasted duck’ and savored the taste in his mouth. Then he said to Yu Xiaocao, “Second Sister, your roasted duck isn’t inferior to that of Zhenxiu Restaurant, and it’s also cheaper. If Zhenxiu Restaurant’s business plunges because of you, the Zhou Family definitely wouldn’t let you off!”
“Look carefully. Five taels is half price. It will be back to the regular price tomorrow!! Moreover, for products such as roasted duck and roasted chicken, our shop is only selling ten per day and we don’t accept reservations. It won’t affect Zhenxiu Restaurant in any way!!” Yu Xiaocao quickly packed the food and collected the money. Then she swiftly sent away Little Shitou’s classmates.
At this time, there weren’t any customers in front of the shop again. She raised her voice and yelled, “The Yu’s Braised Food Shop is having a soft opening today. We’ll have free food tasting for half a day. Come over quickly if you want to taste it. You can have a taste even if you’re not buying anything. Free tasting will be over at noon! Don’t walk by and miss out on this opportunity!!”
Today was the second day after that examination, so there were still a lot of students who hadn’t left yet. A student, who was in his twenties and dressed in a long blue robe, came over to the window and asked Yu Xiaocao in a soft voice, “Excuse me… did you guys used to sell braised food at Tanggu Docks?”
Yu Xiaocao looked up at him, nodded with a smile, and said, “Yes! Our ‘one copper coin braised food’ is very famous at the docks. Not only the locals of Tanggu Town, but a lot of foreign merchants are also full of praises for our braised food. Older brother, since you have heard about our braised food, have a taste to see if you like it.”
With a flushed face, the student quickly shook his hands and said, “I didn’t come for the free tasting. In the past, my father had brought back your family’s braised food from the docks for me. It’s very tasty, and my whole family really likes to eat it! It’s a pity that we haven’t been able to buy it anymore since last autumn. I’m going home early tomorrow morning, so I wanted to bring some braised food back…”
“We have many different varieties of braised food. I don’t know which one will suit your taste, so why don’t you try all of them?” Yu Xiaocao understood why he didn’t want to taste it. He was afraid that his classmates would ridicule him by saying that he liked to take advantage of others, so she tried to persuade him to try the taste.
The blue-robed student looked at the prices of the different braised food through the window and picked two of the cheaper ones to taste. He probably didn’t even have a proper taste of the food before he swiftly weighed the half catty of pig’s head meat, paid for it, and left.
“I heard that there’s free food here? Give me some of each!!” A fat, old woman with drooping, triangular shaped eyes came up to the door of The Yu’s Braised Food Shop and arrogantly instructed Yu Xiaocao to weigh the meat.
“Aiyo! Isn’t that Cripple Wang’s wife? This old lady really likes to take advantage of others. Moreover, she was extremely stingy and unreasonable. We’re going to have a good show to watch ah!” The onlookers saw that the people who had tasted the food had more or less brought some back, so they were still uncertain if the food tasting was free or not. They continued to watch from afar but slowly came over when they saw the fat matron come over.
Looking at her attitude, Yu Xiaocao felt that she was the same type of person as Madam Zhang. However, judging from her clothes, she probably wasn’t so poor that she couldn’t afford to buy food. No matter how stingy one was, there must be times when they have to entertain guests. Also, during the New Year and special holidays, they would still have to prepare some meat dishes for their families. In Yu Xiaocao’s opinion, as long as they weren’t beggars on the street, they were her potential patrons.
With a warm smile, she explained in a sweet voice, “Auntie, it’s free to taste! You can try a piece of the dish that you like!”
“One piece? How would I know what it tastes like with just one piece? Since it’s free, don’t be so stingy.” As she said that, she took a toothpick with her plump hands and pierced fiercely at the plate, bringing up four or five pieces of braised meat.
Yu Xiaocao stopped her hands, pointed at the bulletin-like poster on the wall, and loudly said, “Auntie, you’re welcome to participate in the free food tasting event, but please abide by the rules of the event! It’s written very clearly that you can only try one piece of each dish. Our purpose is to give everyone who is interested in ‘The Yu’s Braised Food Shop’ a chance to taste the food. It’s not to let you eat to your heart’s content!!”
“I have a big mouth, so I can’t tell what it tastes like with one piece!! Do you guys want to do business or not? You say that it’s free food tasting, yet you’re not letting people taste the food. Do you think that we’re fools? If you can’t afford it, then don’t use these insincere tricks!!” Cripple Wang’s wife smelled the tempting fragrance of the braised food, and she couldn’t help but swallow her saliva. She tried hard to free her hand that was holding the toothpick from Xiaocao’s grasp.
With a firm gaze and attitude, Yu Xiaocao said, “My answer is still the same. If you want to participate in the event, then please follow the rules!! Otherwise… we will have to invite the prefectural magistrate to help us judge whether we’re deceiving the consumers or you’re causing trouble without reason!!”
A voice sounded among the crowd, “Cripple Wang, you’re also here? Hurry up and take your wife home. Don’t let her continue making a fool out of herself here. The little girl has already said it and it’s also posted on the notice. Each person can only try a piece. Look at what your greedy wife has done.”
Cripple Wang’s wife’s hand, which Xiaocao was holding, trembled and the expression on her face instantly changed. She hastily put down the toothpick and lowered her head, acting like a quail. Cripple Wang was considered quite a good person, but he had two problems—he was sensitive about his reputation and he beat his wife. However, most of the time, it was his wife who did something to provoke him.
“What are you doing?” Cripple Wang squeezed out of the crowd and looked at her with a sinister gaze, as if he was an injured old wolf staring at his enemy.
The fat matron’s entire body shivered for a moment, and she replied in a trembling voice, “No…nothing…I heard…that a braised food shop opened here, so I wanted to buy some novel food for you to eat with your drinks…”
The fat matron knew that her husband was very concerned about his reputation. If he found out that she was fighting with them in order to eat a couple more pieces of meat, she would definitely receive a beating when she got home!
Seeing this, Yu Xiaocao pointed at the promotional poster on the wall and said, “Uncle, our braised food shop is having a soft opening today. We’re doing a free tasting and half-price sale event. Please have a taste and give us some advice!”
When he was younger, Cripple Wang’s family had decent living conditions and he had gone to school for a few years. After he carefully read the rules on the wall twice, he went up to the window and carefully tried each of the dishes. He looked at the price again, and then said, “The crispy skin roasted chicken, roasted chicken, roasted duck, and salted duck taste about the same as Zhenxiu Restaurant. The price is also slightly cheaper. However, it’s still not something that commoners, like us, can afford. The braised meat and smoked meat taste quite unique… Give me two catties of braised pork knuckle.”
“Okay! One catty of braised pork knuckle cost two hundred sixty copper coins, so the total for two catties is five hundred twenty copper coins. With a fifty percent discount, it will only be two hundred sixty copper coins…” After Yu Xiaocao signaled her oldest aunt with her eyes, Yu Caifeng quickly weighted the meat, packed it up, and waited to collect the money.
Cripple Wang looked at his wife and said with a frown, “What are you still waiting for? Quickly pay up…”
The fat matron touched her money pouch and said with a sad face, “I… I didn’t bring money when I came out…” She said that she wanted to buy braised food for him to eat with his drinks earlier, but now she claimed that she didn't have money. How was she going to buy food without money? The onlookers burst out in laughter.
Cripple Wang looked at his wife with even more gloomy eyes. He glared fiercely at her, and then said to Yu Xiaocao, “Little girl, keep the two catties of braised pork knuckles on the side for me. We’ll go back to get the money. Don’t worry, my house isn’t very far from here. I’ll give you the money in a moment.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter