BLL Chapter 15 Wonton

If you aren’t reading on then these translations were stolen!

Early the next morning, the Lin family got up while it was still dark to grind the beans. Then, they were busy cooking the soybean milk, and at dawn, they finally made a pot of tofu pudding. In order to make it convenient to transport, Zhao Liniang found two earthen jars and scooped the tofu pudding into them. They then put the earthen jars in the basket they carried on their back so Ger Yan and Lin Lixuan could easily take it to the county town.

The earthen jar full of tofu pudding was much worse than the basket full of wild vegetables. It was very heavy, and the pressure on the shoulders was great. If it weren’t for the experience last time, Lin Lixuan might not have been able to endure it. The earthen jar was very fragile, and it was full of tofu, so he had to be careful. It would all be over if it broke.

Zhao Liniang didn’t go to the county town with them. She was old, and her physique wasn’t good. She wouldn’t be able to endure traveling. Zhao Liniang watched Ger Yan and Lin Lixuan with a face full of smiles. She happily sprinkled the tofu dregs to feed the chickens. When she went to the chicken coop to take a look, she didn’t expect her hen to lay two eggs. She usually only laid one egg, so this pair of eggs today was a very happy event.

“Come, come, come eat more.”

The ash brown old hen moved her claws, shook her wings, and shook off the yellow grain-sized tofu dregs from her body before lowering her body and obediently picking at it to eat.

The autumn morning was a bit cold with the cold wind blowing through the forest and dew gathered on the blades of grass like a string of white pearls. Lin Lixuan and Ger Yan drank a cup of hot soy milk when they left, and the soy milk in their bellies was still warm.

Compared to when Ger Yan first arrived at the Lin residence, he was much healthier now. He was no longer skin and bones, and the wallow color on his face evened out as well. He looked very clean and delicate now.

After arriving in the county town, he had to leave setting up the stall and selling to Ger Yan.

“Fresh tofu pudding! Come drink a bowl!”

“Tofu pudding? What is that?”

“It’s piping hot! Come try a bowl.”

“How much for a bowl?”

“Three wen.”

Scooping a spoonful of white and tender tofu pudding, then pouring a spoonful of warm sugar water on it, the bowl of sweet tofu pudding was then ready. The first customer was a dock worker who’d bought a few steamed beans and happened to see their tofu pudding shop. After seeing the honey-like mixture of sugar water, he couldn’t help but want a bowl of sweet tofu pudding.

That worker had been thirsty for a while. For the sake of the sugar water, he ordered a bowl of tofu pudding but was surprised to find the white porcelain-like thing inside the sugar water, the “white pastry”, was actually tender and delicious. It was soft and unusual. He had never eaten something so delicious before. The worker remembered his 80 year old mother, who’d lost all her teeth, and decided to buy another bowl of tofu pudding for her to try.

“Mother, I want to eat tanghulu.” A girl in red with two pigtails tugged the corner of her mother’s clothes and loudly shouted out her demands.

Her mother squatted down and patted her face. “Be good. You had tanghulu last time. Let’s buy it again next time…”

The girl was unhappy. “No…I’m hungry.”

“Sweet tofu pudding. Sweet and delicious tofu pudding…”

“Mother, can I eat that?” The girl pointed her finger.

As Lin Lixuan had expected, tofu pudding was selling like crazy in the county town. And since it wasn’t expensive, anyone could afford it no matter how poor they were. Many people came to try it. And since it was a new and rare food, it would have been weird if they couldn’t sell it. Lin Lixuan and Ger Yan sold more than 70 bowls of tofu pudding that day. A bowl cost three wen, and they earned 220 wen. Subtracting the cost of the soybeans of 15 wen and the sugar cubes of 20 wen, they earned a net profit of 185 wen.

Most of the sugar cubes they purchased hadn’t been used yet. Due to the poor technology and the rough sugar making process of this time, having white sugar like in modern times was very rare. All the sugar here had red or yellow impurities inside. The sugar water they made from the sugar cubes was also colored, but the yellow sugar water looked very good against the white tofu pudding.

Huang Yuan held a bowl of tofu pudding and refused the copper coin Lin Lixuan handed over. “No need. Drinking a bowl of tofu pudding is enough.”

Speaking of which, Lin Lixuan’s tofu pudding stall was able to be set up thanks to Huang Yuan, the unlucky scholar. Not only was this ordinary scholar welcoming, he was also very enthusiastic. The dishes and chopsticks were all borrowed from this family. The pots and firewood used to cook the sugar water were also sponsored by this guy.

Lin Lixuan wanted to divide some of his profits, but he refused.

However, Lin Lixuan had a very firm attitude. He couldn’t allow him to refuse and finally had him accept 20 wen as a gesture.

Huang Yuan propped up his face. “In the future, I might as well follow you to sell tofu pudding. I can earn more than selling words, and I can eat for free.”

Lin Lixuan raised his eyebrows. “Sure.”

Huang Yuan grinned. He had just been joking. How could he follow in their steps to set up a stop. The tofu pudding was made by them, so how could he just take advantage?

Ger Yan had a delicate little face. He held the pile of copper coins and turned them over one by one. His black eyes were filled with the copper coins. He was really shocked that they could make so much money.

“You’re still counting? Are we short?” Lin Lixuan really didn’t understand this little Shuang’er’s fascination with counting money, but Ger Yan’s money-hungry expression also looked really cute.

Ger Yan gradually laughed, and the dimples on his cheeks seemed to deepen. “No, we’re not short.”

“If we’re not short, then put it away or else we’ll be robbed.” Lin Lixuan tried to scare him.


Ger Yan quickly stuffed the string of money into his chest pocket and carefully patted it. The area bulged out. Would anyone try and grab it? He bit his lip, took the money out again, and put it in Lin Lixuan’s hand. “It’s better if Lin-dage holds on to it. I’m scared.”

Lin Lixuan laughed. He hooked a finger to the string of copper coins and said to the youth, “Let’s go. I’ll take you shopping.”

They first bought a catty of pork and a catty of ribs. They also purchased a few chicks and ducklings. Ger Yan didn’t feel anything at first. He thought that since Lin-dage was the one who earned the money, he could buy buy buy as he liked. But when the copper coins became less and less, his heart felt cold… Zhao Liniang was still waiting for them at home. She would ask how much money they made. “Lin-dage, don’t buy anymore…”

Lin Lixuan touched the fluffy yellow chick in his hand. “Look at the little chick. It’s so cute, just like you…”

Ger Yan wasn’t as knowledgeable as Lin Lixuan. He had seen tons of chicks and ducklings in the village since he was a child, so they didn’t catch his attention at all. Seeing the sad face he gave him, Lin Lixuan chuckled and comforted him, “If we use all the money, we can just earn more tomorrow. Look, didn’t you see all the people who came to buy the tofu pudding today? Be good. Ge1 will take you to eat little wontons.”

Although he knew money could be earned later, but…the copper coins didn’t even stay long enough in his hands to warm it before flowing out in a rush. The melancholy of gaining and losing the copper coins swept into Ji Yan’s heart. Even little wontons couldn’t save it.

“Two bowls of wontons. One large bowl and one small.”

“Got it.”

Lin Lixuan pulled Ger Yan to sit. The little chicks and ducklings were lively chatting in their cage. Ger Yan hadn’t dispelled those complicated feelings yet when the old man who sold wontons placed two bowls of wontons on the table. The large bowl was placed in front of Lin Lixuan, and the small bowl was placed in front of the pretty Shuang’er.

“Little couple, did you come to the county town to play? You look unfamiliar.”

“That’s right. Thank you, sir.”

There were eight wontons in the small bowl and twelve in the large bowl. The wontons had thin skin and a lot of filling. They were white and plump in the bowl. There were also a few green onions floating in the clear soup, looking very delicious.

Under the shocked gaze of the old man, Lin Lixuan exchanged his large bowl of wontons with Ger Yan’s small bowl of wontons. Ger Yan couldn’t fall into sadness over money right now. His face was full of shock. He was feeling shy and embarrassed. “I can’t eat this much. The small bowl is enough.”

Lin Lixuan patted his head. Thinking he was still worried about money, he waved his hand, “Relax and eat. We made money today. If it’s not enough food, I’ll order you another bowl.”

The old man who sold wontons: “…”

Ger Yan: “…”

When they returned to the Lin residence, they only had 50 wen in their hands. Zhao Liniang heard they earned 180 wen and was ecstatic, but whens he saw the pork Lin Lixuan brought back, she couldn’t help but laugh and criticize him for spending money indiscriminately. Lin Lixuan put the chicks and ducklings he purchased in the yard to live with the old hens. Ger Yan brought out a plate of tofu dregs to feed them.

Lin Lixuan had never raised chicks or ducklings before. These fluffy little things were quite novel to him. Ger Yan watched for a while before turning to head into the kitchen to wash vegetables and make food. Because of the two catties of meat Lin Lixuan bought, they would have a good meal of fresh pork today.

For a few days, Lin Lixuan and Ger Yan went to the county town to sell tofu pudding. They gradually saved a lot of money, which also attracted the attention of the other villagers.

“Why does Xiucai Lin go to the county town with Ger Yan everyday?”

“I don’t know…”

“Is he going to the county town to study?”

“If he’s going to study, then why would he bring Ger Yan with him?”

“If it’s not to study, then what for?”

“Don’t blindly guess. They went to the county town to sell food. My son works in the county town and told me they sell something called “tofu pudding”. Don’t you see them carry those jars to town everyday?”

“I’ve also heard that too.”

During this time, Lin Lixuan and Ger Yan didn’t use the earthen jars to carry the tofu pudding to the county town anymore, instead they used a water jar to bring it. After a few days of exercise, their bodies had improved a lot. The two of them could easily carry a knee high water tank with them.

Uncle Liu, who drove the ox cart, initially only charged them the ten wen to ride the cart. Later on, he even asked for an extra five wen for the water tank.

Table of Contents

  1. Means big brother, but used between between who are close to each other, not just related. ↩︎

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