The Female Supporting Role Shows Out - Chapter 22
Translator: NovelMultiverse | Editor: NovelMultiverse
Lin Dan did not stay in the kitchen, she asked the waiter to set up a simple shed at the entrance of the shop with stoves, pots and bowls, chopping boards, and kitchen knives. Meanwhile, she cleaned her hands and face and used a piece of cloth to cover her long hair to prevent her hair from falling into the pot and contaminating the food.
After Xiao-zhu had stirred the braised broth, he pleaded pitifully: “Sister Lin, can you make us a bowl of noodles? We can only work hard when our stomachs are full!”
Lin Dan looked at him and smiled. She cut a piece from the ready-made dough and quickly pulled it into thin and shiny noodles before putting it into the boiling spring water. Then, she lined up five large bowls and scooped a spoonful of the milky bone broth into each bowl. When the noodles were ready, she cut the braised pork into thin slices and placed them neatly on the noodle soup. Next, she added some boiled green cabbage leaves and half of the braised egg before sprinkling some chopped green onion and coriander.
“Here, please get started as soon as you’re done eating.” After Lin Dan finished her speech, Xiao-zhu, Shaoyao, and the rest cheered. They each took one bowl of soup noodles and started to enjoy their breakfast.
“Master, the noodles are very chewy. The sauce of the braised pork also complemented well with the fresh and aromatic bone broth and created a flavor that is neither too salty nor bland. May I have another bowl?” Shaoyao exclaimed while eating.
“Sure, I’ll make another bowl and you’ll share it with Dujuan.” Lin Dan understood that growing teenagers would naturally want to eat more, and she could afford to provide another bowl of noodles for them. When she turned around to continue making the noodles, Xiaozhu asked, “Manager, why did you bring the kitchen out? Wouldn’t it be inconvenient since people are walking in and out of the shop?”
“It is precisely for convenience that I moved out. Customers can tell me what kind and how big a portion of noodles they want when they enter the shop. I can make it right away and serve it to them immediately. The noodles that are freshly removed from the pot taste the best. They are smooth and chewy, and each strand is nicely separated. If we serve the noodles too slowly, the noodles will stick together and affect the texture. But we will return back into the kitchen in the afternoon, as stir-frying the dishes will produce fumes that may choke the customers.” Lin Dan had always paid attention to the details when it came to cooking, but she had always placed the feelings of her customers as the top priority. This was why she would make arrangements for the convenience of the customers.
Xiao-zhu and the others nodded repeatedly to express that they had learned something new. At this time, a low voice was heard from the outside, “Lin Dan, being your customer is probably the happiest thing in the world.”
“Welcome.” Lin Dan smiled and shook her head, “You flatter me. What kind of noodles would you like to have today?”
“I have no preference. You can make whatever you have here.” Tang Jiu stepped into the shop. Xiaozhu quickly greeted him and prepared the tables and chairs for him.
Lin Dan knew that Tang Jiu was a true food connoisseur that could accept any taste and served him a bowl of braised sauce noodles. After serving her first customer, she began to stir-fry some minced meat. First, she took out a piece of overcooked pork belly from the pot of braised broth and minced it with a kitchen knife. She then put it in a wok and stir-fried the meat with fire on high before gradually adding the diced bean curd, bamboo shoots, wild rice, and other ingredients. Finally, she added some water and cooked the food ingredients into a pot of thick sauce.
“It smells so good. Can I have some of the minced meat?” Tang Jiu looked at Lin Dan eagerly.
“Of course, but one spoon of minced meat will cost an extra ten cents.” Lin Dan joked.
“I don’t even mind paying fifty cents for that.” Tang Jiu looked at her intently before adding the freshly made minced meat into the noodles. His eyes immediately lit up when he took a big mouthful of noodles. Lin Dan’s culinary skill was so good that she could easily turn a large pot of diced vegetables into a dish with a strong meat flavor with only a half-pound of braised pork.
Lin Dan noticed the look of surprise on his face and explained, “Most of the people who get up before dawn to work are not as wealthy and can only afford a bit of meat during the holidays. I’m charging about forty cents for a bowl of braised pork noodles and I believe some of them are unable to afford it. This is why I thought I could sell this flavorful minced meat that is half-filled with vegetables and let everyone share it at a low price. Since the diced tofu, bamboo shoots, and wild rice are all food ingredients that absorb oil and gravy well, it is easy to create a meat taste when it is slightly cooked in the gravy. This is what the ‘taste changing technique’ is about in the theory of food seasoning.”
Tang Jiu had already put down the bowl unknowingly as he was mesmerized by her explanation.
As Lin Dan talked about food literature, many people nearby had already followed the smell and come for the food. With such a strong smell of braised meat, they were sure that it was made by a restaurant ready to serve their customers. Although most people could not afford to have meat, they thought it would be fine to get a bowl of Yangchun noodles. Since the chef of this restaurant could make braised pork smell so good, they were certain that the chef would be good at making other dishes too.
At the thought of this, many people had already made several turns into the deep alley and found the “Homecooked Kitchen” without having a guide. Even if people had lost their way, they could manage to find their way back because the smell of the food was the best signboard.
Within a short period of time, the entrance of the shop was already filled with customers. Seeing the steaming pot of braised broth, people could not help but feel their mouths water and their stomachs churning due to hunger. They felt even hungrier when they saw Tang Jiu eating happily with beads of sweat rolling down his forehead and wearing a face of contentment.
“Hi, how much does a bowl of noodles cost?” A brawny man asked while swallowing his saliva.
“Ten cents for a bowl of Yangchun noodles, twenty cents for a bowl of minced meat noodles, thirty cents for extra minced meat, and forty cents for braised pork noodles. I also sell plain porridge for twenty cents a bowl.” Lin Dan said slowly.[Read this novel and other amazing translated novels from the original source at the “Novel Multiverse dot com” website @ novelmultiverse.com]
Xiao-zhu rushed out and greeted the customers warmly: “Please take a seat inside if you would like to order some food.”
“Minced meat noodles for just twenty cents? This kind of minced meat?” The brawny man pointed to the big pot, his eyes sparkling. The braised pork had been completely softened in the pot, while the diced bamboo shoots, bean curds, and wild rice were completely covered and was full of meat flavor. Although it looked exactly like braised pork from the appearance, it had a tinge of freshness and sweetness that braised meat does not typically have.
The brawny man had a look of surprise. He did not know the truth behind the dish that was made with lots of vegetarian ingredients and thought the pot was made of only minced meat. Most of the minced meat noodles were sold at fifty cents on the streets.
“Yes, it only costs twenty cents. This minced meat gravy was made with vegetables which is why it is sold at a lower cost.” Lin Dan explained patiently.
“I’ll have a bowl, then!” The brawn man stopped hesitating and immediately walked into the shop. He thought to himself happily, “As long as I can taste meat, I don’t care whether there’s any meat inside!”
He seemed to be the leader of a group as a group of people followed as he walked in. All of them had ordered a bowl of minced meat noodles, they had the same accent and seemed to come from the same place.
Lin Dan said politely, “From your accent, I could tell that you are from northern Shaanxi. Shall I add a taste of your hometown into the noodles?”
“We’re allowed to adjust the taste of the noodles? Sure! That’ll be great!” The group nodded quickly.
Lin Dan placed a wok on the empty stove, poured some oil, and waited for the oil to heat up before frying the chili flakes into chili oil for use later. Since there were a total of nine diners, she scooped nine spoons of minced meat and combined it with the chili oil before stir-frying it for a while. She then added starch to thicken the sauce and when the gravy was boiling, she added some finely chopped pickled vegetables to the minced meat. In this way, Lin Dan had turned the braised minced meat into a pot of hot and spicy, yet sour and salty minced meat with a taste of northern Shaanxi cuisine.
When the minced meat was cooked and the noodles were ready, Lin Dan quickly scooped them up and put them into the nine bowls. Finally, she sprinkled some chopped ginger, green onions, and coriander on the noodles before asking Xiao-zhu and the rest to serve them.
The brawny men had originally come without having any expectations, but when they saw the bowl of noodles that reminded them of their hometown, they were moved. They could not wait to pick up their chopsticks and start eating. As soon as they took a mouthful of noodles, they started getting teary-eyed. The noodles were thin and chewy, and the minced meat was sour and spicy, and very flavorful. They felt warm when the noodles entered their stomachs – the nostalgic hometown, the childhood memories that they could not bear to reminisce in the middle of the quiet night were flashing in their minds. The noodles had made them miss their hometown more, but it had also relieved them of their homesickness.
“This is delicious! It tastes the same as the one I had when I was a kid!” The brawny man took a few more mouthfuls of noodles and his voice started to turn hoarse as he spoke. His fellow townsmen nodded frequently with a satisfied expression. After eating a bowl of hometown noodles, they felt rejuvenated and energetic. They would certainly be able to move more goods and make more money later.
“It’s delicious, I’ll be here tomorrow.” Before the noodles were even finished, the brawny man had already begun to miss the food. He felt that he had finally found something to look forward to in his miserable life.
“I’m coming, too.” Everyone nodded in agreement. Hometown food was the only thing they would never be sick of having.
After a while, a few more people came to the shop. They were a little shorter and had a strong accent that was difficult for ordinary people to understand what they were saying. However, for Lin Dan who was extremely well-traveled and had extensive knowledge, she did not have any problems communicating with them. She was able to explain the prices of the noodles and porridge to them in detail.
Several people came and stared at the pot of braised broth for a while before caving into the temptation and walked in.
“From your accent, I suppose you’re from Baiyue? Shall I add a taste of your hometown into the noodles?” Lin Dan asked politely.
They nodded but, were skeptical about her ability. Lin Dan scooped out a few spoonfuls of minced meat and added water to dilute the flavor before adding some sugar to taste. Subsequently, she took a small pot from the counter and scooped out a few spoons of dark sauce before pouring it into the seasoned minced meat. An indescribable fishy smell started to spread in the air, but it quickly turned particularly fragrant after blending with the minced meat gravy and even had a subtle smell of seawater.
The skeptical men immediately had a look of surprise on their faces. They spoke quickly in an incomprehensible language and gave her a thumbs up.
Lin Dan nodded and said: “Yes, this sand crab sauce was specially made by me. Do try it and let it know if it tastes authentic.”
The Baiyue people from the west had a great fondness for the sand crab sauce. Regardless of meat or vegetable dishes, they would always add the sand crab sauce to taste. They also like to use sand crab sauce when making noodles and make minced meat with sweet noodle sauce, bean paste, and some other ingredients. Lin Dan spent a few months in the West Yue and had learned how to make the authentic West Yue fried sauce noodles. It was a very unique flavor that was fishy yet fresh at the same time.
Once the minced meat was well seasoned, Lin Dan added a spoonful of thick milky soup on the noodles that were in the bowl and sprinkled it with pink shrimp skin and fresh green onions.
The men did not need Xiaozhu’s service at all and did not enter the shop to find a seat. They stood at the entrance and watched Lin Dan as she cooked the noodles. After the noodles were ready, they took them away by themselves and started eating quickly. Indeed, the taste of the hometown was the best.
The smell was still spreading around, and the diners arrived in groups. Lin Dan would adjust the taste of the noodles according to the requirements of each diner, such as adding pepper, bean paste, and other ingredients to make spicy minced meat noodles for the Shuzhou people or creating a fragrant and spicy flavor for the Hunanese people. She also offered all kinds of flavors including the hot and sour flavor and the green onion flavor. Customers could also choose to have soup noodles, dry noodles, or oily noodles.
It was said that satisfying every customer’s palate was a difficult task, but it did not seem to be difficult for Lin Dan at all.[Read this novel and other amazing translated novels from the original source at the “Novel Multiverse dot com” website @ novelmultiverse.com]