Gourmet of Another World - LightNovelOnl.com
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Bu Fang scooped up a spoonful of tender, silky smooth tofu pudding. The somewhat thick red ginger sauce trickled down the porcelain spoon. Steam rose from the tofu pudding, emitting with it a delicate fragrance alongside the unique pungency of the ginger sauce.
He sent this spoon of tofu pudding into his mouth. The smooth and tender texture instantly filled his entire mouth, swimming at the tip of his tongue and playing with his taste buds. It added a sparkle to Bu Fang's eyes. There was also a shred of sweetness in the spicy ginger sauce. When it streamed through his teeth and tongue, it gave him a delightful sensation.
The soft, tender tofu pudding slipped into his mouth. Barely any chewing was needed for it to glide down his throat and into his stomach, warming up his body at the same time.
The moment Bu Fang took a bite, his eyes also squinted just like Xiao Yanyu's. He had to admit that there was always a special taste in foods sold by small street vendors like this old auntie. Its flavors were always so authentic and gave one a great sense of comfort.
Digging into the tofu pudding, Bu Fang emptied his bowl in a short while. The old lady gave very generous servings of the tofu pudding. Xiao Yanyu, for one, had only eaten up half of hers.
However, Bu Fang licked his bowl clean. This didn't mean the tofu pudding was such an exquisite dish. In comparison to the Fish Head Tofu Soup served in Bu Fang's own store, this tofu pudding was still yards behind. At the end of the day, the ingredients of this tofu pudding weren't anything precious or rare. But then again, the secret to this tofu pudding was the nostalgia it evoked.
It was a restful state of mind that made one drift amidst the sea of time, as if caressed by gentle waves of water.
Bu Fang licked his lips while still immersed in his thoughts. This subconscious action mirrored exactly how he ate tofu pudding as a child, making him look quite adorable.
The old woman gazed at Bu Fang kindly, a smile hanging by the corners of her mouth.
"Young man, do you want some more? I've got enough here."
"I'm good. Thank you, auntie. Your tofu pudding is delicious." The corners of Bu Fang's mouth curled into a warm, albeit somewhat stiff, smile…
Oh my god! Owner Bu actually smiled!
Xiao Yanyu almost coughed up the spoonful of tofu pudding she poured into her mouth. Owner Bu, who normally looked as if he has a paralyzed face, actually… smiled!
Xiao Yanyu stared at Bu Fang, making the latter feel somewhat unsettled.
"What are you looking at?" Bu Fang glanced at Xiao Yanyu with a blank face and asked calmly.
Noticing that Bu Fang had returned to his aloof self, Xiao Yanyu instantly broke into a smile. Her entire body shivered as she laughed uncontrollably.
She hurriedly finished her serving of tofu pudding and handed the porcelain bowl back to the old woman.
Bu Fang took out a golden coin and passed it to the old woman.
"Young man, this is too much. Just pay me a copper coin." Upon seeing this golden coin, the old lady waved her hands swiftly. Merely two bowls of tofu-pudding did not worth this much money.
Bu Fang was taken aback, but then shook his head and pressed the gold coin on her, insisting: "Auntie, I think it's worth this much."
This tofu pudding provided Bu Fang with a unique sensation. He didn't think one gold coin was an extravagant price to pay. If it were some genuinely bad dish, Bu Fang wouldn't let one get away without a lengthy lecture… let alone pay a golden coin.
Both Xiao Yanyu and Bu Fang's firm attitude made it impossible for the old woman to resist. At the end, she gave in, holding the coin carefully in her hands. She blew at it softly, wiped it a bit, and then slipped it into her pocket.
A gold coin was already a colossal sum of money to her. And so, she was naturally extra cautious with it.
The old woman wanted to give both of them refills of tofu pudding, but Bu Fang and Xiao Yanyu turned her offer down with a smile. Then, the two left in search of other gourmet delicacies.
The old woman watched as their figures faded. A kind smile appeared across her lips.
On the lively streets of the Southern City, the fragrance of tasty foods filled the air, stimulating one's appetite.
"Owner Bu, next, I'll take you to taste Dragon River Vinegar Fish, the most authentic speciality food in the Southern City." Xiao Yanyu put on her veil again, concealing her breathtakingly beautiful face.
The two kept on walking and quickly arrived at a building with rather unremarkable decors.
The restaurant was two stories tall and appeared somewhat aged inside. The board hanging by the door read the words Drunken Fragrance Restaurant.
These words were written in a lively fashion and contained a touch of faint ambiguity. The writing itself had a pacifying affect on its readers. It was evident that whoever wrote these words was no ordinary person.
"These three words—Drunken Fragrance Restaurant—were written by late Emperor Changfeng after he tasted this Dragon River Vinegar Fish when traversing the Southern City. His offer to grant the store this writing was turned down at first since he travelled incognito and nobody knew his actual identity. That was an interesting incident." Xiao Yanyue recounted this background story as they stepped into the store.
The store was crowded, bustling with customers who came and went. The rich aromas of dishes pervaded the air within the restaurant.
"Waiter, a table on the second floor please." Xiao Yanyu summoned a waiter who had a white towel draped over his shoulder.
The waiter was taken aback at first but then smiled ever so warmly. Anyone who could afford meals on the second floor was never short of money. This was because the dishes on the second floor were much more expensive than those on the first.
Bu Fang and Xiao Yanyu evidently didn't care about the difference in price. There were simply too many people on the first floor, making it was impossible to find a seat anytime soon. They would much rather go directly to the second floor.
Following the waiter's steps, they walked up the wooden stairs, which creaked between the boards, and ended up on the second floor.
On second floor, the walls were a little bit narrower, but the entire area was more spacious. There were numerous seats up here and many were also occupied.
The two found a spot next to the railings and sat opposite to each other. Bu Fang turned his head to inspect the view downstairs. From there, he could see the flourishing streets of the Southern City in all its glamor—decorated lanterns, visitors, the talented, the beauties, and everything one could wish for.
"Waiter, I'd like an order each of Dragon River Vinegar Fish and Foie Gras in Sauce. As for the other appetizers, just decide for us." Xiao Yanyu winked her eyes gently as she instructed. The waiter was stupefied by her mesmerizing glance.
The waiter snapped out of it quickly, feeling quite awkward. He nodded his head and turned around to leave.
"The Dragon River Vinegar Fish is made with plump fishes found in the streaming river right outside the Southern City. This fish is merely a second grade ingredient, but it is extremely fleshy and emits a delicate fragrance. Once cooked, the flesh of the meat spreads open into thin pieces. It tastes extremely delicious." Xiao Yanyu propped her chin up with her beautiful wrists, holding her elbow against the table. She blinked her lovely eyes and gazed at Bu Fang.
Bu Fang nodded. He recalled seeing plenty of fishermen fishing outside of the city on his way in. The enormous, plump fish swimming in the waters looked very appealing.
They chatted for a while. Then, the waiter returned with a dish. In the porcelain plate was Foie Gras in Sauce.
"The Drunken Fragrance Restaurant doesn't make the best Foie Gras in Sauce, but it is very similar to the most authentic version. Owner Bu can give it a try. It is a perfect choice for an appetizer." Xiao Yanyu took off her veil once more, revealing her stunning beauty, and beamed at Bu Fang.
The waiter who brought the dish was simply beguiled by this scene. He had never seen such an attractive woman.
But he regained his composure soon and left uneasily to bring more dishes.
Bu Fang grabbed the bamboo chopsticks from the table and picked up a small piece of foie gras dipped in a crimson shade sauce. That sauce was made of various spices and ingredients, giving off a pungent and slightly acidic scent.
The foie gras itself was not hard in texture and instead appeared rather viscous. Once in the mouth, it tasted somewhat astringent in itself. This sharp flavor, mixed with the slightly pungent and acidic sauce, lit up Bu Fang's eyes.
This was a cold dish and did justice to the original taste of the foie gras. None of its unique aroma was lost.
"Not bad, heh." Xiao Yanyu smiled as she also picked up her chopsticks and delivered a piece of foie gras into her mouth. Though this foie gras was not as famous as the Dragon River Vinegar Fish served here, it was still a splendid dish. Almost everyone who came to dine at the Drunken Fragrance Restaurant would order the Foie Gras in Sauce.
"The taste is pretty good. But then again, it is a cold dish so no control of the fire and temperature is tested. It demands for skillfulness in making the sauce and slicing the foie gras. You can tell there's a secret recipe behind the sauce, which is respectable. As for the slicing technique, I would deem it barely satisfactory." Bu Fang gave his honest opinion.
The Foie Gras in Sauce suddenly reminded him of another dish, the Dragon Liver Popsicle. This dish was a reward by the System for his last breakthrough, yet he hasn't had the chance to make it. At this point, it seemed he should really find time to study it.
As a whole, this Foie Gras in Sauce had triggered his interest in cold dishes.
After a few more pieces of the Foie Gras in Sauce, Bu Fang put down his chopsticks upon smelling a rich fragrance that drifted by. He twisted his head to look at the huge plate the waiter was bringing their way.
The waiter placed the giant plate at the center of the table, stepped back, and announced: "This is the Dragon River Vinegar Fish you have ordered. Please enjoy. There are other appetizers still being prepared. In the meantime, would you like a jar of wine specially brewed by our store?"
"You mean the 'Dragon River's Spring'? Sure, bring us a jar." Xiao Yanyu hesitated for a bit but still nodded her head. Even though she was no longer interested in other wines after having tasted those made by Fang Fang's Little Store, the Dragon River's Spring was still quite famous in the Southern City and it would be a pity to leave without drinking a cup.
Bu Fang himself was obviously not intrigued by the aforementioned wine. At this moment, his eyes were fixated on the steaming hot Dragon River Vinegar Fish.
A notebook suddenly appeared in his hands as his mind flickered. Bu Fang subconsciously lowered his head and gave it a look. Flipping open the notebook, he discovered a first page filled with words.
"The first recorded recipe, Dragon River Vinegar Fish."