Chapter 4 – Meatbuns, Part 2
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Re-Translated & Edited by Gumihou
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That evening, the moment Shiyu reached the restaurant she was immediately invited into the kitchen.
“My master wished to meet you.”
“Your master?” Shiyu was surprised, but she quickly recovered. “Is this about the soup?”
“En.” Bu Yan nodded.
His master had spent the day boiling soup, however, nothing could be compared to the one she brought.
Shiyu followed Bu Yan into a waiting area near the kitchen and waited. Before long, a middle age man came over.
Shiyu sized up the on the sly, noting his average looks and cryptic eyes. An opportunist perhaps, but not evil. A plan began to form in her head.
“I am called Li, a chef of this kitchen. How may I address lady?”
Though Shiyu’s appearance was quite beggarly, she was still obviously a girl.
“Just call me Little Shi.” In her past life, everyone used to call her Little Shi.
“Little Lady Shi.” Chef Li exchanged a few customary small talk before coming to the point. “The fish soup you made is not bad, would you let me have the recipe? I promise you, as long as you teach me the recipe, I’ll let you have all the fish bones from this restaurant.”
Shiyu’s lips curled, “”So you’re saying that if I don’t let you have the recipe, I can’t have any?”
Chef Li said nothing. However, the meaning was quite clear from his expression.
In his eyes, Shiyu was nothing but a lowly beggar, there was no need to treat her better than that. He felt that as long as he frighten her enough, she’ll give into whatever he wanted.
Unfortunately, though Shiyu was beggarly looking, she was not a real beggar at heart.
“If that’s how it is, we have nothing to talk about.” Shiyu gave a little smile, and turned to leave.
Chef Li had not anticipate this fearlessness and immediately called her back, Little lady, what is your meaning? Are you unhappy with this arrangement? You must know that the things you want come from me.”
Shiyu rolled her eyes, and turned around. There’s no need to waste words with this person, she declared, “Those are things you’ve decided to throw away. If I can’t get it here, there are plenty of other restaurant to chose from. Qing Shan City is big with plenty of restaurants around. Sooner of later I’ll find someone more generous who recognise the value of my soup and buy the recipe. Why should I stick with someone who wants to bully me just because of my age? How shameless.”
Chef Li had not realized how well this beggar knew her situation, and felt as though his face had been dragged through shit.
“You want me to buy the recipe?” Clearly this was the important point of her speech.
“Otherwise?” Shiyu said. “Did you really think I’m here to see what you looked like? At Chef Li’s expression, threw out another bait. “You should have tasted the soup by now, how was it?”
Chef Li’s lips trembled, but the word still escaped him. “Good!”
“Then have you ever taste it anywhere else?”
“Well, doesn’t that clinch it? The moment you buy this recipe from me, you will have a monopoly of the recipe, ah!” Shiyu said smoothly.
At this, Chef Li’s heart quickened. The flavour alone was good enough to sweep away all other dishes in this restaurant. Moreover, it was good enough to rival with dishes made with spiritual ingredients. If he were able to put this up for sale, it will definitely become this restaurant’s signature dish.
Only, he planned to cheat this recipe out of this beggar for free. Now that he had to pay for it, he a little agitated.
Unfortunately for him, Shiyu did not plan to let him ponder over it for too long. She was hungry. If this Chef Li guy didn’t want to pay, she’ll just go to a different restaurant. Surely someone will buy this recipe from her.
Finally, Chef Li said, “How much?”
Shiyu thought for a while. She was not at all clear how money worked in this fantasy world. Instead, she asked, “How much for the monthly rent for a single commoner house?”
“A commoner house?” Chef Li pondered over the question, “about 1 silver teal.”
“Very well, I’ll sell you this recipe for 5 silver teals.” said Shiyu.
Chef Li want to haggle on the price, but the bargaining power was in another’s hands. He could only agree.
After that, Shiyu showed him how to make the soup.
As the little beggar handled his cooking tools, Chef Li finally understood why his cooking tasted so awful. It’s just a soup, isn’t it just boiling water with things thrown in it? Why did she need to put so many ingredients before hand, and monitor the fire’s heat? And why did she need to skim the foam?
This experience really opened his eyes.
“Where did you learn this recipe from?” Chef Li asked.
“A few days ago an immortal came by the river and made soup just like this.” Shiyu already had her excuses prepared. Mr. Immortal was really helpful, ah. “Well, there you go. Hand over the money!”
Once she had collected the money from Chef Li, Shiyu thought for a bit and decided to ask Bu Yan to help keep an eye out for a free accommodation within the city. It should be much safer than living in a broken down temple.
Since Chef Li believe that his little beggar might still have recipes up her sleeves. He happily sourced out a house for her the moment he knew that she was looking for one.
With Chef Li as an intermediary, the issue of renting a house was resolved very quickly. The location was at the poorer commoner’s district. The house was not large, it was clearly a common house. Luckily, there was a vegetable garden in the back and a large fruit tree near the gate. Since the rent was 1 teal per month, Shiyu immediately paid up 3 months worth of rent in advance. She also hand over 1 silver teal to Chef Li for his help, leaving 1 silver teal in her purse.
Shiyu looked at this last silver teal sadly, she’s really spending money like water, ah!
However, before the sky darkened, she gathered all the old and young people from the temple to this place.
When the Grandpa asked her where she got the money from, she told him that a restaurant noticed her skill and wanted to buy her recipe. Since they managed to get money, nobody bothered to question her further. Grandpa appeared perfectly happy with her explanation.
Their newly rented house had almost everything. Cooking was much easier than before. When Shiyu saw the steamer sitting in one corner, a money making idea suddenly struck her.
After cobbling together some ingredients for dinner, they found that there weren’t enough beds for everyone. Unbothered by this issue, they all carelessly found some flat surface and slept the night away.
The next day, Shiyu used the last silver teal on a bag of flour, 3 jin (500g or 600g) of meat and a few spices.
Pork head was very cheap in this time and place. Since she was extra early, she even managed to get the butcher to give her some pork offal which they were about to discard.
Once back, she placed the offal in clean water and started preparation for meatbuns.
That was to say, after having been in this world for so many days, she can finally eat something that could be respectfully considered as a ‘main dish’.
To say that meatbuns are easy to make is true. To say that they are difficult to make is also true. A bite of a good meatbun will be juicy, tender and delicious. A badly made meatbun will be dry, coarse and probably cost your life to finish it.
Naturally, the meatbun Shiyu intended to make was not something casual.
Only, when the little radishes saw her bustling about, they all immediately clamoured to help. Shiyu looked at the dirty little hands and felt a headache coming up…
[Gumihou: Ah, I want a meatbun. A delicious, juicy meatbun!]
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