Chapter 36 – Nanchang Fried Beehoon (2)

 

Cooking Stir Fried Beehoon could be said to be easy, it could also be said to be difficult. The cooking method isn’t simple, but neither is it complicated. The most important points are fire control and a deep understanding of the ingredients and seasoning involved. Beehoon’s characteristic is simple and refreshing, just a dash too much salt would turn it into a salty mess, too little and it would be tasteless. Too much oil is also bad, the oiliness would stick to the mouth which would cause to the dish to become less and less flavourful the more one eats it.

JX style dishes[1] tended to be oily and spicy, which meant that their stir fried beehoon also tended towards spiciness. However, this was not the time to introduce the JX style of cooking. The little boy in front of her was still young and his little stomach probably would not be able to take that kind of spiciness.

As soon as the wok grew hot, she splashed a measure of oil in and waited for it to grow fragrant. First, the ingredients went in first. It’s imperative for the ingredients to go in while the oil had been heated up, but not too hot. This was to ensure that the  garlic and onions were not burnt as she stirred them around, increasing the fragrance of the oil as well as other seasoning.

Finally, when the ingredients had been given a good fry, she placed the translucent beehoon into the wok and began to toss everything over hotter fire, sprinkling salt, a few slices of chillies and finally a couple of drops of soy sauce for colour and flavour. In a short while, a plate of freshly cooked Stir Fried Beehoon was ready. As a bonus for her first customer, Shiyu even included a fried egg with its edges cooked to a golden crispness with a wobbly yolk in the middle.

Served on a clean white plate, the slightly tea coloured noodles looked very attractive with its fried egg on top. The child could not wait to eat it. As though a wind had swept the contents away, the plate was soon licked clean and handed back to Shiyu. “May I have another?”

Shiyu laughed and once more started the fire under her wok again.

Goodness knows what this brat’s body was made of, eating whole 5 portions before pausing.

Naturally, this little performance as well as the incredible fragrance drew in quite a few potential customers over. However, a lot of them were scared off by the 10 silver liang pricing. In the end, only a few dared to spend the money to try this new product.

Fortunately, Shiyu did not disappoint their expectations. Seeing how quickly they gulped down their portion, she knew that this roadside food really suited their taste.

As a new type of food, the Fried Beehoon really drew the passerbys’ attention, so her business has potential to become quite successful. However, thinking that she could enter the college just by setting up a business like this would be quite naive.

Shiyu had thought about it already, the time spent time frying up beehoon for sale, she intend to polish her skill with every plate, pushing the limits of its deliciousness until its pinnacle before switching over to a different food. Right now, she felt that her skill was still rather mediocre.

News of the newly established food stall soon spread through the Imperial College. Most of the residents were busy cultivating, and did not pay much attention to their stomach. No matter how extravagant the rumours get, they would only think about food during their rare breaks.

Shiyu had been selling her food over about half a month, gradually realizing that mere ordinary food, or more like commoner’s food, won’t be able to attract the attention of those attending the College. After all, the people attending the college were serious cultivators! Only things related to cultivation could move their hearts.

When her thoughts reached this point, Shiyu decided to adjust her plan of attack. However, her hard work this past half month had not been in vain, all the physical effort required to stand and flip the wok became serious workout, which allowed the residual Cinnabar Fruit in her veins to slowly seep into her meridians, thereby broadening her meridian veins at the same time. She had no intention of wasting her time cultivating, rather, she intended to continue taking Cinnabar Fruit to increase her power until it stops being effective.

Right now she had grown more and more adept at controlling the blue flame, to the point that she could make it penetrate the ground to form traps. However, due to her limited spiritual energy, she could only set traps in the immediate area.

Ever since coming to the Imperial College this half month, she’d found all kinds of delicacies she had never seen before. She found found that the the best types of delicacies were generally found in two places, top-notch restaurants or remote shops far off the beaten track. The Imperial Capital was just too large, Shiyu could not hope to explore every single nook and cranny. Moreover, she was about to challenge of those remote, out of place, hole in the wall shops right now.

The little lane where the shop was situated was in a rather remote area, but it was far from quiet. The reason for that was the constant stream of people coming in everyday to line up for this shop’s food.

The people selling air dried ham from this shop were surnamed Shen, the ones currently operating this shop were third generation shopkeepers, and their signature dishes all featured their special air dried ham.

The first time Shiyu tried their signature dish, she was immediately hooked. The ham itself looked like tough sticks with an intense smell. However, once it was finely sliced, the paper thin meat looked like transparent jewels. The ruby red meat were shot through with white threads of fat, just a slight application of heat will melt the fat into beads of oil.

When the slice of meat was placed into her mouth, it was neither dry nor greasy, the umami flavour was especially concentrated in every slice. It matches so well with white rice that she ended up gulping large mouthfuls of it with every slice.

With this, eating became a joy.

Shiyu became so enamoured with this flavour that she came everyday, quickly turning into one of their regulars.

She came as usual today and were warmly greeted by the owners. However, the shop owners seemed even happier today.

“Mister Shopkeeper, what happy news do you have?” other regulars were quick to pick up his mood asked.

The shopkeeper gave a hei-hei laugh, unable to hide the glee in his eyes. “I’ve just received an imperial edict, half a month from now the palace intend to let our old man cook for them.”

When Shiyu heard this she understood, considering the number of population as well as excellent eateries within the Dong Wu Empire, being selected by the Imperial Edict to cook for them was something extremely glorious.

“Would Chef Shen be in charge of the cooking?”

“Of course not, there are over a hundred chefs who received this imperial edict. All we needed to do is prepare our own speciality dishes, there will be plenty of people in charge of the main banquet.”

“To need over one hundred chefs from outside, just what kind of feast is the Imperial Palace throwing? Just what kind of important guest will the Imperial Palace entertain?” quite a few of the regulars were stunned.

“I heard that the Imperial Capital is planning to hold a grand auction. There would definitely be all kinds of treasures going under the hammer which would attract many different kinds of hidden cultivators out of their mountain caves. The emperor wishes to invite these people to him, thus the grand reception.”

At these words, the people around them immediately sucked in their breath. Those hidden practitioners were the most powerful monsters within the empire. Just what was going to happen when these old experts’ interest were provoked.

Shiyu continued to listen as the others around her continued to talk about the matter. As she quietly ate her food, she suddenly wondered just what was going to be sold at this grand auction.

The cultivation level in this world was split into 9 Class, and she had just scratched the surface of the lowest category. Because cultivators’ ability to rise was suppressed in this world, the highest Class they could achieve is High Class only. If they wish to go any higher and reach the next level, that is the King Class, they would have to enter the Upper Plane in order to break the limit shackling their potential.

So troublesome! So difficult! Those who actually managed to leave for the Upper Plane were already powerful beings, those hateful powerful people would only come back even more hatefully powerful.

At this upcoming auction there will be lots of opportunity to upgrade oneself. This was a major once in a life time event, how could people not be excited? It’s also normal for the strong to appear.

Suddenly, Shiyu straightened up with a jolt. Over a hundred chefs had been invited, does that means that there will be over a hundred dishes just as delicious as this air dried ham? Looks like she’ll be able to learn something new!

She was just thinking about all the delicious things she had never seen before and was about to ask about the other chefs when someone suddenly came running over, hands covered in blood. In a high pitched voice cried out, “Quick, report to the officers! Grandpa’s hand had been chopped off!”

 

 

[1] JX style – It’s a fictional brand I think

 

 

 

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