Chapter 71 – Pork and Bell Pepper Stir Fry

 

All who come in are customers. When he saw their first customer about to leave in a huff, Ye Chui quickly ran out with the menu. He said a few nice words of greetings and handed over the menu with a brilliant smile. The middle aged worker fortunately calmed down and sat down again, this time with a menu in hand.

Next, Ye Chui pulled elder sister Han Yuyan aside, “I say, could you please watch your manners, Big Rain? Think about how people take care of you whenever you visit a restaurant. You must greet every customer that comes through the door with an unfailing smile, properly hand over a menu and politely inquire what the customer would like to eat. This is the basic of the basic.”

Ye Chui saw the moment Han Yuyan’s face switched over to ‘You think this elder sister is here to be a wait staff?’ expression. Anger brewed under that expression, Ye Chui quickly said, “This is all part of being this restaurant’s disciple, a special self-cultivation that must be mastered.”

When Ye Chui said this, Han Yuyan swallowed the fury in her heart, and muttered something that sounded vaguely like agreement.

It was at this time that the middle aged worker made his decision and said to Ye Chui, “I’d like to try this Pork and Bell Pepper Stir Fry[1], and a bowl of rice please.”

“Very well, please wait a moment.”

Ye Chui nodded, on the way back to the kitchen, he gave Han Yuyan a warning glare. “Don’t just stand there, quickly pour a glass a tea for the customer.”

“… …” Han Yuyan was clearly unhappy, however, she still reluctantly went over to pour tea for the guest. This was probably the first time that this elder sister actually served someone else. Her face was so twisted that it looked like her lips and eyes would be twisted off.

Ye Chui himself felt even more twisted in his heart, he never thought that he would see the day that he would have to train a wait staff on basic courtesy.

As he entered the kitchen, Tian Xiaodu had already donned on his chef’s white, the all white chef’s outfit from hat to apron. This fatty was a competent one, he’d already taken out the necessary ingredients for this customer’s order. Green and red peppers and pork belly.

“I can make this pork and green pepper stir fry, please let me do it,” he said with a smile to Ye Chui.

“No, I’ll do it.” Ye Chui shook his head, he was also dressed in chef’s white — the clothes had all been prepared before hand. He made his way to the chopping board and took the proffered green peppers and slab of pork belly from Tian Xiaodu. He said sincerely, “Please take the role as my assistant and watch how I make this, I have prepared two cooking stations, but for the first two days we’ll just use this one.”

His meaning was clear, Tian Xiaodu was to be his assistant and learn how to make various dishes from him before he was allowed to use the other cooking station.

Tian Xiaodu felt a little offended. After all, though he was not used to making this green pepper stir fry, just how difficult could it be? This dish was so simple that there was no need for a recipe. Ever since the prohibition against meat had been lifted, a few months worth of practice was good enough for him to familiarize himself with this once banned ingredient. However, out of respect for Ye Chui, he said nothing, only nodded and said, “Okay.”

Ye Chui first washed the peppers and pork belly. As he arranged the ingredients on the counter, he said, “Since Pork and Green Peppers are classified as family style or commoners food, there’s no fixed rules for it. For myself, I prefer to get rid of the pepper seeds before slicing it into strips. The pork should be finely sliced and marinated before actual frying. However, since we’re making this ‘home style’ which prizes efficiency, we can omit the marinating step and just sprinkle some salt over it before setting it aside to prepare the peppers.”

As he spoke, the ingredients were swiftly and efficiently prepared. Soon, it was time to stir fry.

He took down the wok from its place and gave it a vigorous scrub with a brush and hot water, “The best chef value hygiene above all. Every time you cook something, you must properly scrub the wok so that the smell from the previous dishes won’t permeate into the current dish you’re cooking.”

He then placed the wok over a roaring fire. A splash of oil, and once it started to bubble around a chopstick he threw in the sliced pork belly and fry it until it was mostly done before splashing in some soy sauce. After a few shakes of the wok, the sliced red and green peppers went in.

“Since the pork had been salted earlier, seasoning must be done carefully. Just add a small pinch of MSG. When the pepper slices starts to snap apart, you can remove it from the fire.” Ye Chui continued to explain.

“What do you mean by ‘snap apart’?” Tian Xiaodu asked curiously.

“Snap apart is when the food about 80% done, the point before well done. Peppers tasted best at this point of doneness.” Ye Chui said.

The process of making pork and pepper stir fry was not complicated. The moment the explanation finished, Tian Xiaodu was already holding out a plate and was watching Ye Chui dish out the food. The peppers spicy aroma mixed well with the pork belly’s sticky soy sauce fragrance. It really stimulates the appetite. He breathed in deeply and said thoughtfully, “This plate of pork and pepper stir fry did not use too many seasoning or condiments, and the cooking steps were simple, almost extremely so. I have made something similar to this, using similar method but the end result is vastly different. So this is the Way of Least Distraction… to think that deliciousness could be coaxed out through simplicity… Little brother, this dish really requires a good amount of skill.”

“Hehe, if you wish to learn it, I am more than happy to teach you.” Ye Chui said with a laugh.

Tian Xiaodu’s face immediately wreathed with smiles, “Then… may I address you as master?”

“Very well.” Ye Chui nodded in agreement.

In truth, he had already accepted this Tian Xiaodu as his elder disciple, fully intending to properly teach this guy all sorts of skills that a gourmet chef should have. Though Tian Xiaodu’s age was twice that of Ye Chui, to be addressed as master still felt quite appropriate.

Outside the kitchen, the middle aged worker who had been running about most morning was feeling really thirsty and had swiftly finished the whole cup of tea in no time at all. Once that was gone, he still wanted more, but the teapot was placed on the table where Han Yuyan was sitting. This elder sister was seated elegantly with her pot of tea, studiously ignoring the eyes of this customer. The middle age guy really wanted to catch her eye and reminded her to pour the tea, but her elegant air made it difficult to say anything…

The attitude of the service staff here was so bad that it could not get any worse. He definitely won’t come here any more.

Right this time a juicy, spicy smell of meat and peppers wafted from the kitchen. The middle aged worker’s appetite was immediately hooked. As a middle aged working man, his life was fairly monotonous. Everyday was the same, running about getting things done here and there. His heart had more or less become apathetic to all matters around him. But, oddly enough, this smell, this spicy meaty fragrance seemed to lift his spirits and shook him from his lifeless routine. A spark of interest revived in his heart as he looked up, a sense of expectation of something delicious lit up inside of him.

It’s not like he’d never had Pork and Bell Pepper Stir Fry before, only, he could tell from the smell alone that this time, the Pork and Bell Pepper Stir Fry would definitely be the best he’d ever had. His eyes suddenly grew a little feverish from anticipation.

“Big Rain, serve the food!” Ye Chui yelled from the kitchen.

“Ok…” Han Yuyan muttered as she walked towards the kitchen. The dish had been plated, Tian Xiaodu was in the middle of scooping up a bowl of rice from the industrial rice cooker. The rice was something that Ye Chui had already prepared earlier. Han Yuyan eyed the plate of Pork and Bell Pepper Stir Fry, without hesitation, she grabbed a pair of chopsticks in preparation to attack…

Ye Chui smacked her hand, more sweat gathered on his forehead, “That’s for the customers, hurry up and send it out!”

Han Yuyan glared at Ye Chui resentfully. This elder sister had never been denied food ever since she was young, however, her fury quickly leaked out. She glared at Ye Chui, Ye Chui glared back. Though Ye Chui’s body was now physically younger than her by five or six years, there was no gap in his imposing manner and she quickly subsided. She resentfully carried out the plate of Pork and Bell Pepper Stir Fry as well as the bowl of rice out.

This little scene caused Tian Xiaodu, the by-stander, to click his tongue in amazement. He hadn’t expected his master to actually managed to tame this Han Yuyan woman, ah…

When the middle aged customer finished his meal, he only had great praises for this meal. He promised himself to come again and left with a smile on his face. Soon after, other diners began to arrive.

While it’s true that the restaurant’s main customer target were students from the nearby school, it was close to a business district and a residential quarters. So this restaurant did not lack in terms of foot traffic and potential customers.

Once the students were released from their schools, there will be an abrupt increase in customers at their restaurant.

The little sisters, An Jing and Wang Shiyu, came home after being released from school. The moment An Jing came home, she immediately busied herself in helping out as part of the wait staff. Little Wang Shiyu slipped into the kitchen like smoke, this little thing’s intention was to act cute in front of the uncle chef that Ye Chui spoke about, if she’s able to establish a good relationship with this uncle, then she would be able to all kinds of good things in the future, right?

As a result, she came skidding into the kitchen. The moment she laid eyes on the plump uncle who was nodding over some instructions that Ye Chui had given to him, her body shivered. “Weird Uncle!?”

Tian Xiaodu who had been slicing meat also shivered, “Little Witch?!”

 

 

 

 

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