Chapter 35 – Sticky Rice Cake (2)
Translated by Gumihou
Please read this at kitchennovel dot com
Ahahaha, I’m finally back! I’ve been translating on and off, but had no time to properly edit anything. Thank you for waiting everyone~
Many thanks to Kirindas, Abastika for your comments~
When Shiyu finally arrived at the doorstep of the Imperial City, evening had fallen and she could no longer see the lofty clouds tinge red by sunlight. There were only the towering gates, flanked by its equally imposing walls.
Staring up at this possibly taller than 10 storey high wall made of black stone, Shiyu could feel her eyes nearly bulging out in awe. In this world filled with fantastical powers, it was natural even for buildings to exude such menacing air.
Filled with mixed feelings of excitement and trepidation, Shiyu stepped into the Imperial Capital, known for being the heart of the martial world. Compared to Qing Shan City, as well as the other cities she had passed through, this place was way more magnificent. Just the entrance alone was enormous. 18 carriages could enter the gate side by side without feeling cramp. The flagstones under her feet were also made of the same black stones. Lining this magnificent road were rows of restaurants and teashops, more than a few of the buildings within the city were actually taller than the magnificent wall.
However, the Chinese style building gave Shiyu a little sense of belonging. No matter what time or dimension she was in, being surrounded by evidence of Great China’s cultural explosion was something comforting.
There were plenty of people streaming up and down the street, not caring that evening had fallen. Shiyu rented a room from one of the numerous taverns to rest in. She then asked one of the wait staff for a recommendation on local food, not leaving before actually grilling several answers out of the man.
Who knew that she would actually encounter a long line of people waiting to enter a shop just a dozen steps away from the tavern. Since business seemed to be hopping for this shop, whatever they were offering must be incredibly good or famous.
Curious, she approached the front of the shop and found that it was a restaurant. Moreover, the thing that they’re selling was something that Shiyu had always loved — Sticky Rice Cakes. The method for making this cake is actually quite simple, one only needs to knead glutinous rice flour and water together and then steam it.
However, when Shiyu peeked into the shop, it looked like this restaurant did not make Sticky Rice Cake the conventional way, instead there were four burly men welding sticks as large as her thigh, bashing a pile of rice into flour, and then flattening the flour into flat cakes.
This method of crushing rice into flat cakes would result in better texture compared to the normal water and flour mixing method. Not only that, since less water was used to hold the rice cake together, the cake would have a better shelf life as well. However, looking at the long line waiting to buy the rice cake, it looked like there was no need to worry about shelf life, the bashing method was most probably used for texture improvement.
Shiyu joined the troop of people lining up for the rice cake and eventually made her way to front of the shop’s stall. Lined up like disciplined soldiers, square pieces of fried rice cake stood at attention, drawing the eyes with their bright golden lustre.
When she asked for the price, it was two pieces of rice cake to one silver teal. If someone had tried to sell Sticky Rice Cake in Qing Shan City at this price, the people there would cry robbery. However, to see so many people lining up even at this ridiculous price, her most important question was answered. This thing had to be amazingly delicious to warrant such a ridiculous price.
After paying for two pieces, Shiyu could not resist biting into one immediately. The first impression she got was crisp flakiness, second was a supple yet strong bounce against her teeth, third a sweet mellow fragrance. The contrasting texture of flaky and supple bounce was something she had expected, however, she had not anticipated this lovely mellow fragrance.
She had already eaten many tasteless rice cakes just to enjoy its unique texture. This was the first time she encountered such a strong yet delicate fragrance of rice brought out by frying. The flavour of rice itself was strong enough that there was no need for either salt or sugar.
This was definitely no ordinary rice, it was probably some kind of valuable spiritual rice.
Shiyu sighed inwardly, there were so many different kinds of ingredients in this world, she really did not know if her culinary skill would be able to keep up with the different variety of strange and new ingredients that kept popping up.
While she was in Qing Shan City, she thought that her skills surpassed most of the people in this world. However, now that she had reached this place, she found that she had been too arrogant in her thinking. Perhaps, there were plenty of people in this world who could not cook well, but a good chef would be able to bring out best in any dishes as long as they are familiar with the ingredients.
Like this Sticky Rice Cake she had just eaten, the taste and texture had been maxed out to the extreme, no one would have done it better. If this had been an examination with a 100% threshold, this cake already made it to the 100%. If a higher educated person were to take this exam, there was no way they could get past 100% with all their extra knowledge.
Her advantage in this world was her familiarity with more types of ingredients than the average chef. However, her knowledge was limited to ordinary, none spiritual ingredients, and she had no idea how to properly treat spiritual or other more advanced ingredients.
However, it was thanks to this lack she could grow as a chef!
Looking at this wide street crowded with people, Shiyu once more experienced the same feeling she had felt during the first year of her chef’s training school. It was the same kind of excitement and wild anticipation bubbling within her heart.
Upon returning to her tavern, Shiyu planned have a good rest before getting a physician to take a look at her body. Clearly she had eaten too many Cinnabar Fruits, to the point that her meridians felt swollen, but no matter how she tried to cultivate, there was no improvement to her energy. If things continued like this, she would fall behind Lin Fan even more.
She had just settled herself when her cloth bag wobbled and shook, then, a plump white person rolled out. This little person was as tall as her palm, his looks as sweet and pure as jade. Shiyu was shocked, but only for a moment. This was clearly that radish demon she had picked up.
“San Pang, so you’ve awakened?” Shiyu was truly happy, she was actually feeling a little lonely from not having anyone to talk to.
“Of course.” San Pang twirled around, “I’ve actually turned into a human, but, why I’m so tiny?”
Shiyu poked it on the head, “So you still want to be bigger, by the way, are you a boy or a girl?”
“Don’t know, ah! According to the stories, we are an asexual race…” halfway through his speech, San Pang suddenly dove into the cloth bag. After it shook and wobbled for a bit, it came out. “Looks like I am a boy.”
“… …” Shiyu looked him up and down, and said, “If you dare to peek while I bath, I will pinch you to death!”
“This young master has no interest in those things. More importantly, we’re now inside the Imperial Capital, right?” Little Pang wind himself up Shiyu’s hand. “You came here to attend the Imperial College, right? Let’s go to the College. There are lots of good things there.”
Shiyu picked up him and stared at him with serious eyes. “How do you know all this things?”
“Naturally I overheard them, ah!”
“Hm? For something that has been living in the woods with no one to eavesdrop, how exactly did you ‘overhear’ this?” Shiyu’s level of suspicion increased.
She thought back to that time when she was thrown into the river. She had drifted all the way down to a peaceful lake and found a lovely fat radish growing next to it. At that time, the only thing in her mind was how to cook the thing. Who knew that this mysterious character could actually spit out human words.
Was this guy really an ordinary Radish Demon? Absolutely not!
At this point, San Pang pretended not to hear anything and did not answer her question at all. Instead, he continued to plead, “There are so many rare treasures at the Imperial College, maybe you could even find the thing you’re looking for there, right?”
Shiyu looked at him, noting the way he switched subjects and decided not to pursue the matter. Everyone has their own secrets, there’s no need to press the issue.
“Let’s leave the Imperial College for now, the thing I want to know now is about this Cinnabar Fruit. Just what is going on? It’s one thing to not be able to increase strength after eating it, but right now even with cultivation I can’t seem to increase my powers?” this was something that had been plaguing her for a time. She hadn’t thought too much of it at that time but as time went by, she started worrying over it.
“Cinnabar Fruit is a good thing, but, how did you eat it?”
“Well, I ate it like some kind of wild fruit…”
“… …” San Pang tried his best to restrain his anger, but in the end shouted. “You’re an idiot! Who told you to eat it like this!”
[Gumihou: Oho, Shiyu has a tiny friend now]