That’s right, Lin Dan returns to the capital this time indeed with an intention to challenge the Yans’ Restaurant. She is not unwilling to lose to Yan Langqing, but the predecessor of the Yans’ Restaurant is the Lins’ Restaurant, which was founded by Lin Putin. Every specialty in the restaurant is his painstaking efforts. But finally it has been taken away by the second and the third brothers of Lin Putin and the Yans. Is there any good thing like this in the world?
The Yans feel shameless. Lin Dan, who inherits the unfulfilled wish of the original host, can’t let it go. To put it in a similar way, she will take back the things belong to her. But she will not accept the things which do not belong to her even if they are free.
As the saying goes, "If one knows his or her enemies and knows oneself, he or she will not be imperiled in a hundred battles". If she wants to challenge the Yans’ Restaurant, Lin Dan still needs to taste their dishes and see how they taste. However, her facial features have not changed much over the years. If the second and the third brothers recognize her, they will definitely play dirty tricks. She can only ask the handsome man to pack some specialties and take them to eat elsewhere.
After eating the dishes, the two sit in a private room of a teahouse to talk. The handsome man asks in a low voice, "How does the Yans’ food taste?"
"The cooking skills are very good and the Yans deserve to be a family of imperial cuisine." Lin Dan makes a fair comment.
"Are their skills better than yours?" The handsome man has not eaten the Shandong Cuisine made by Lin Dan, and is eager to have a taste.
"When I open the shop, you will know." Lin Dan smiles slightly; she pushes the door and leaves. Although she doesn’t give a positive answer, her light attitude is enough to show her confidence.
The handsome man stares at her forceful figure, shaking his head and smiling.
The two continue to wander around Qingyun Lane until they reach a corner. When they see another restaurant of Shandong Cuisine, Lin Dan waves her hand and says, "Let’s in and have a look." In order to set up a shop, it is natural to find out all the nearby restaurants. Not only to compete for business, but also to make best use of the advantages and bypass the disadvantages, it is always necessary.
This restaurant is called Qiaoyuan Restaurant. It is as two times large as the Yans’ Restaurant, and the decoration is very luxurious. It has pavilions, bridges and flowing water. The environment is very elegant. Dignitaries like to pay attention to ostentation and extravagance when they go out. The ostentation and extravagance of the Qiaoyuan Restaurant is far more luxurious than that of the Yans’ Restaurant. In theory, business should not be bad. However, Lin Dan and the handsome man have only seen five or six tables with customers after sitting in the hall for a long time. Compared with the guests of the Yans’ Restaurant, it is really far worse.
After eating the dishes, Lin Dan begins to find out the reason. The reason is nothing special but that the cook in this restaurant is not good at cooking and the Shandong Cuisine he cooks is not authentic.
"If you eat Yans’ food and come back to eat this one, the taste will be one or two grades worse. No wonder they can't keep repeat customers." Lin Dan puts down her chopsticks and sighs.
The handsome man doesn’t speak, only beckons the waiter to come and settle the bill. Lin Dan just takes out her pouch to take money and her hand is pressed by him. His wrist just turns over, half a tael of silver ingot falls into the hands of the waiter, and the bill is paid as fast as possible. The waiter gets the silver and doesn't know how the silver comes into his hand. He scratches his head and puzzles for a while.
Lin Dan is amused, licks her lips slightly, and sets up a conversation with the waiter, "Do you want dry goods in your restaurant? I brought them from Nanyang (an old name for the Malay Archipelago, the Malay Peninsula and Indonesia or for Southeast Asia), including abalone, bird's nest, sea cucumber, dried scallop and so on. I also have delicacies from land with me, and there are many kinds, which can provide stable supply for a long time. "
In order to support her family, Lin Dan has to do some small business while studying. Over time, she sets up a caravan to resell dry goods, taking coastal seafood inland and inland delicacies to the seaside. As a result, she makes a lot of money.
This restaurant specializes in the noble business. Of course, the food must be of top grade. The waiter doesn’t dare to make decision and hurriedly invites his shopkeeper out. The shopkeeper is naturally happy to have a stable supply of goods. Lin Dan asks her servants to bring the goods to the restaurant for inspection.
The shopkeeper doesn't know much about the quality of food and has to fetch the chef. The chef has just turned 20, looks fair and handsome, and looks very young. Although he is not good at his cooking, he has excellent eyesight and affirms, "Abalone is double-headed abalone, bird's nest is a fine white bird's nest at the beginning of the rainy season, shark fin has tiger shark fin, plough head shark fin and basking shark fin, all of which are good products... Jew’s ear is not common Jew’s ear. It is picked from cliffs, and it can be called the top of land delicacies. These are all good ingredients, and not fake."
He breathes a sigh of relief and seems to put down a big stone in his heart. With this batch of dry goods of good quality, he is not afraid that he can’t make Shandong Cuisine with excellent taste. He has two years to learn before he starts work as a cook, but his father suddenly died of a sudden illness. This restaurant is the painstaking efforts of his father, so it needs to be operated well. However, his cooking skills are still not good enough. Since he starts cooking, the business in the restaurant has been getting worse and worse, showing signs of being difficult to operate. If he were not both a chef and a boss, the shopkeeper would have booted him out.
"We are going to buy all the goods. Shopkeeper Lin, please offer a price." The chef made a decisive decision.
Lin Dan gives a moderate price, not too expensive, but also not cheap. Seeing the chef readily to pay the silver notes (something in ancient China like bank notes today), her attitude becomes relaxed, "Are there any other restaurants near here, please give me some tips, so to keep me walking more unnecessary roads. Don't worry; I don't have any superior goods with me. What I have are all inferior goods. Selling them to other restaurants will not affect you." If she can sell all the stock in hand, she can fill in the shortfall.
The handsome chef shakes his head and says in a somewhat bad tone, "There are no other restaurants. There are only our Qiaoyuan Restaurant and the Yans’ Restaurant in the nearby streets. You are not a local resident, perhaps you don't know. The head of Yans’ Restaurant is an imperial chef and has great power. You are not allowed to open a restaurant of Shandong Cuisine nearby to compete for business with them. "
"But don't you operate well?" Lin Dan frowns slightly; the handsome man also reveals a harsh look.
"My family is not devoid of history. My grandfather served last emperor, and my father served the queen mother. They were all imperial cooks in the palace. A painting with calligraphy hanging in my hall is the real work of last emperor. The Yans wouldn’t dare to bully me no matter how rampant they are." The handsome chef looks proud but he is uneasy actually. Although his family has inside information, but his skills are not good, so his family has been declining in recent years, and Yan Langqing has been cooking in the imperial kitchens at a young age, she is also the emperor's favorite, her reputation has long been spread in and out the palace.
These gourmets in the west district have to consider the emperor’s prestige even if they don't consider hers, so the Yans’ Restaurant is getting bigger and bigger.
Lin Dan often sends people back to the capital to inquire about the situation; she surely knows how Yan Langqing made her fortune. After leaving the Yongding Mansion, Yan Langqing worked as a chef in Yan's restaurant. One day, the emperor visited her restaurant in secret. She was very fond of her skills and had a good talk with her. Then she was recruited to cook in the palace and gradually gained favor.
Later, what happened to Yan Langqing, Lin Dan didn't pay attention to it, so she never imagined Yan Langqing had reached this point.
She still hears the chef continuing, "Yan Langqing is the head of the Yans. Her most famous specialty is Wanfu Meat. The emperor liked it badly the first time he ate it and immediately made her stay in the palace to be an imperial chef. It is said that if the emperor doesn't eat her food for only one day, the emperor will feel uncomfortable. Do you think she will not be favored? "
Lin Dan is not interested in if Yan Langqing is favored or not, but she is interested in Wanfu Meat. She can't help asking, "How is this Wanfu Meat made? Is it really so delicious?"
"I don't know. It is said that when making Wanfu Meat, Chef Yan will make others avoid it. She is the only one who knows the recipe." The handsome chef shakes his head regrettably.
Lin Dan has a complexion as usual, her eyes are cold, and she leaves her address and leaves. After leaving the Qiaoyuan Restaurant, she immediately goes back to find the grocer and tricks him by saying that the silver has been collected and the transfer could be made. The grocer refuses in every possible way and says that someone paid a high price after she left, and bought the shop.
Lin Dan looks at him carefully and finds that his eyes are full of the painful regret of rejecting a good deal. What else does she not understand? The multi-party bidding is all false, and it is true that the Yans warn against selling shop to others to open a restaurant of Shandong Cuisine.
After saying good-bye to the grocer, Lin Dan is no longer interested in wandering and walks back without saying a word.
Looking at her back, the handsome man's voice is a little heavy, "I was traveling in the northwest some years ago. I only returned to the capital recently, and I often had to go out to walk. I didn't know the Yans were so biased."
"Biased?" Lin Dan looks back at him, smiles for no apparent reason.
Soon, the handsome man knows why she smiles like that. It seems that Yan Shouye learned from the grocer that someone was going to open Shandong Cuisine restaurant across the street to challenge the Yans’ Restaurant, so Yan Shouye sent someone to check, and Lin Dan had no power, so she was soon found by him. So no matter where Lin Dan wants to open a shop, it will be ruined by the Yans. No one in the west district dares to sell her a shop. Neither does one in the eastern district. When she just finishes buying a shop in the north district, the seller goes back on his own word and tricks Lin Dan out of the deposit. After wandering around, Lin Dan finally finds a shop in the south district, which is located in a dock. Passers-by are extremely complicated and the public security is very poor. Robberies and even killings often occur. If one wants to do business here, it is impossible to make money while it is good enough not to lose money.
So the Yans are finally satisfied and feel that Lin Dan has been beaten so hard that she can’t climb up. Only then do they stop.
The handsome man follows Lin Dan around every day, watching her being teased, pushed out, and bullied. Only then does he know that the Yans’ actions can’t be described as "biased" and it should simply be "cheap". Even if he is a man of strong concentration and stable temperament, his chest is also holding up a heavy anger. However, Lin Dan has always maintained a positive and optimistic attitude. When she meets difficulties, she thinks it through quickly with only a frown, as if no one or anything can defeat her.
On this day, Lin Dan comes to the south district with her servants to clean up the shop, while the handsome man stands guard at the door, peering back and forth at passers-by with sharp eyes, and his aura is wide open. He leaves in the evening every day and appears in the morning the next day. After breakfast at Lin Dan's house, he follows her everywhere. Fortunately, with his protection, Lin Dan can come and go freely in this chaotic place in the south district. Without this bodyguard in the future, she will have to hire some strong, honest and reliable guys to guard her shop.
Thinking of here, Lin Dan sighs, "My affairs have been completed. You don't have to follow me in the future."
The man doesn’t answer her and suggests once again, "This shop is not in a good position. I'll change a shop for you. It's in the west district."
"We meet by chance, we have no friendship, and how can I be not bashful to accept your shop. I will remember your care these days and I will give you a 50% discount if you come to my shop for dinner in the future." Lin Dan refuses as usual. She is not an unappreciative person, but she is not an insatiable person.
The man’s lips slightly pucker, he doesn't know how to persuade her, seeing the sky is dark, he has to turn round and leave. When he reaches the end of the lane, he looks back and his heart is full of worries. This shop is really not a good place to open a restaurant. It can be tolerated that the shop is hidden in the winding lane, but it is still full of gambling shops, chicken battling fairs, docks, and brothels. How can she do business?
Lin Dan's temperament is so stubborn that the handsome man doesn’t know how he can begin to help her.