The Female Supporting Role Shows Out - Chapter 26
Translator: NovelMultiverse | Editor: NovelMultiverse
The man and woman who walked into the store were speaking to each other softly. The man said with concern, “I thought there was no decent restaurant in the South District, but looks like I’ve underestimated this place. Sis, since you haven’t been eating much for the past two days, you have to eat some food today.”
The woman held her chest and nodded reluctantly, “Alright, I’ll eat some then.”
The man approached the shop and saw Lin Dan stirring a pot of braised pork. He could not contain the look of surprise on his face and said, “Oh? Are you able to make Qianzhou-flavored braised pork? It’s a coincidence that we are from Qianzhou, can we have a bowl of that, too?”
Lin Dan shook her head and said, “I’m sorry, sir. The braised pork is sold out. Do you want to order something else? We also serve noodles and porridge here.”
The man frowned, seemingly displeased. “But I only want braised pork and nothing else.”
“I’m really sorry. If you want some braised pork, you can come early tomorrow.” Lin Dan smiled.
She did not know who the man was, but Qin Er’niang knew. She quickly waved her hand and said, “It’s fine, he can have my plate of meat.” She wiped the cold sweat away from her forehead as she spoke, looking all flustered. If she was right, the two siblings were the children of Lord Dianqian, who was the only regional ruler with a different surname from the Emperor in the kingdom of Great Chu. He governed the Dianqian highland all year round and managed an army of 800,000. He was a man whom even the Emperor respected.
In order to display his loyalty, Lord Dianqian sent his son to receive education in the capital when he was very young, and his son was treated as well as the other princes. One year ago, he also sent his daughter to the capital when she was fifteen years old, and it seemed that she was preparing herself to enter the palace as a concubine. In short, the two siblings were extremely respectable people who could not be offended.
The man relaxed his brows, seemingly satisfied with Qin Er’niang’s actions. But Lin Dan replied, “No matter what, we must observe the ‘first come, first serve’ rule. Er’niang has been waiting all morning, and this plate of braised pork should be hers.”
Before the man could show his anger, Lin Dan had raised her head and took a close look at the pale lady before continuing, “Besides, I noticed that this lady has been holding her chest and seems to be a little dizzy. I’m guessing she’s feeling nauseated from seasickness? In that case, she shouldn’t eat greasy food. Shall I make some light food for the lady?”
The woman did not want to eat meat in the first place and nodded her head. “Sounds good, please make me some light side dishes. I don’t really want to eat meat.” She said that before giving her brother a fearful look.
The man thought about his sister’s future and could not bear to see her suffer. He did not go against her wishes and nodded in agreement. When he turned around, he was surprised to see Tang Jiu. “You’re here too, Young Marquis Tang? What a coincidence.”
Tang Jiu nodded and said, “This shop was opened by my friend. Thank you for stopping by, my lord.” What Tang Jiu meant was asking the man not to put the owner of this restaurant in a difficult spot.
The man was bestowed the title of a feudal lord in his early years by the Emperor. Although his status was higher than a marquis, he still had to respect Tang Jiu who was working closely with the Emperor. He immediately replaced his arrogant look with an approachable smile.
Seeing that he had a change of attitude, Tang Jiu handed ten copper coins to Lin Dan, and repeatedly reminded her to send him a message at the Ministry of War if anything happens to her.
Although Lin Dan promised to do so, she had no intention of troubling Tang Jiu again. She thought they were people of different worlds and that it was better not to mingle around too much. She was a cook and he was a diner, and their relationship was as simple as that. After passing the braised pork to Qin Er’niang, who accepted her food with a pair of shaking hands, Lin Dan filled a casserole full of white porridge and heated it on the stove. She then took out a handful of green peppers and threw them into the fire.
The green peppers started sizzling when added to the charcoal fire and a pungent smell quickly filled the air. Xiao-zhu and the rest started sneezing, but the handsome man and the petite woman had a half surprised and half nostalgic look on their faces.
“Are you making fire-roasted peppers?” The woman walked to the stove and said while staring at the soft green peppers in the fire with tears in her eyes. “When I was in my hometown, my mother always made this dish for me and my brother. You probably don’t know that my mum brought us to live in the countryside when we lost contact with our dad. We couldn’t afford any fish and meat as she had no money, but the most delicious dish in my memory is this fire-roasted peppers. It had a very strong taste but was appetizing enough and could keep us full.”
The man could not maintain his stern face anymore and got slightly teary-eyed.
Lin Dan raised her head and smiled at the woman with a comforting look. Next, she smashed the roasted peppers and a few garlic in a bowl before topping it with soy sauce, vinegar, litsea oil, and other seasonings.
“Please give it a try and let me know if it tastes like your hometown food.” Lin Dan handed the cold dish to the woman when it was ready, and the woman immediately picked it up to have a taste. The tears rolled down her cheeks as she blinked. “Yes, this is the right taste.” She quickly wiped away her tears and smiled, “Brother, come and have a try.”
Since they were being taken back to the palace by their father, she had never eaten this dish again. Her mother was no longer around and they were nobodies in the palace. She and her brother were merely “objects” that could be sacrificed at will.
The man took a bite of the dish and his voice sounded a little hoarse, “I believe you’ve lived in Qianzhou? This roasted pepper tastes very authentic.”
“Yes, I’ve lived there for a few months.” Lin Dan served the porridge on a small stove and said warmly, “As the appetizers are slightly spicy, please don’t eat too much. I will cut some raw meat and pork liver for you. You may add it directly into the porridge with some leafy vegetables. It tastes fresher if you eat it once it’s cooked.”
“Thank you, manager.” The woman’s mood improved after tearing up. She picked up the peppers using a pair of chopsticks and slowly ate it little by little. She had never expected that she was able to eat such authentic hometown food in a remote place of the capital.
With teary eyes, the siblings sat across each other as they ate and did not speak for a long time. To avoid the awkward situation, Lin Dan retreated to the kitchen with Xiao-zhu. Qin Er’niang did not dare to dine with the nobles and followed Lin Dan with her plate of braised pork, rambling about various gossips in the capital. She was now particularly fond of Manager Lin, not only because of her good culinary skills but also because of her kindness. She could feel a harmonious and peaceful aura around her, and this made her feel very comfortable being around her.
After half an hour, the siblings were gone but they placed a shiny golden leaf on the table. Qin Er’niang swallowed hard and exclaimed, “My dear, it’s really good to have such good culinary skill! I believe this restaurant is gonna make tons of money!”
From that day onwards, Tang Jiu, Marquis Weiyuan, the children of Lord Dianqian had become loyal diners of the Hometown Kitchen. They came not only for themselves but also packed food for their relatives and friends. With the recommendation of these respectable people, Lin Dan’s business got better and better. Besides people in the South District, many people of status from the West and East District would visit the restaurant secretly in ordinary clothes to enjoy some good food in peace. No matter how many delicacies they had eaten, the one they love and miss most was still a hometown specialty.
Two months later, Lin Dan had successfully made her name in the capital. She was busy with her restaurant business in the morning and taught Chef Qiu cooking in the afternoon. As Chef Qiu only learned the culinary skills from his father for three years, he did not even get to master cutting techniques well, let alone cooking. But he was gifted, and he was willing to learn. Subsequently, Lin Dan accepted him formally as her apprentice as she got more interested in teaching him.
One day, Tang Jiu invited a few princes from Mongolia to eat in the restaurant. Lin Dan used almond milk to boil a large pot of hand-grasped mutton before serving it with a sauce made with salty alfalfa and chive flowers. Xiao-zhu wanted to prepare chopsticks and bowls for them, but she shook her head and stopped them from doing so.
“But how can the guests enjoy the food without the utensils?” He thought. The official who came with Tang Jiu immediately got upset. Another young man who had a similar look with Tang Jiu yelled, “Are you blind? How dare you serve food in a big bowl without utensils?! Where are the bowls? Are you expecting us to eat with our hands?! Jiu, this restaurant is ridiculous. Let’s go to the Yan’s restaurant instead. Sister Yan is not in the palace today and should be in the restaurant. I’m sure the guests will be satisfied with her good culinary skills.”
The name of the man who was speaking was Tang Peng, Tang Jiu’s cousin who was also serving in the Ministry of War. He was fond of Yan Langqing and naturally strongly recommended going to Yan’s restaurant, but he was rejected by his cousin. Now that he saw Lin Dan making a huge mistake, he seized the opportunity to express his unhappiness.
“Shut up if you don’t know anything and don’t embarrass us.” Tang Jiu’s tone was cold and unhappy.
“Brother, I am also trying to make sure that our distinguished guests are satisfied. It’s not easy for them to visit us in the Great Chu and you’re bringing them here to eat something like this? Look at the faces of the princes…” He turned around and looked at them. He had wanted to explain the situation to them nicely before politely asking them to move to another restaurant, but he saw them reaching into the big bowl and grabbing a piece of lamb with bones. They gobbled it up and were speaking in an unintelligible language, their faces full of admiration.
A staff member who knew Mongolian translated, “The princes are very satisfied with the meal. This dish is called hand-grasped mutton, which should be eaten by hand.”
Another prince beside him raised his voice and said something which made the staff showed an even more relieved expression. He continued: “They are saying that the smell of the mutton they tried in the Central Plains was too strong and they are not used to eating them. They have lost a few catties of weight from hunger in the past two months after arriving in the capital. They are glad that they will finally satisfy their hunger today. They said that the mutton made by this chef is very fresh and tender and does not have that strong smell. They think it tastes exactly the same as the mutton they have back in the grassland. The Hometown Kitchen is worthy of the name and reputation!”
Tang Jiu replied with a few polite words before grabbing the lamb and started eating. Several officials who were almost dying of embarrassment were relieved that the princes did not understand Mandarin. Tang Peng’s cheeks flushed with embarrassment and was speechless for a long time. He yelled and chided Manager Lin for being ignorant, but it turned out that she made a local specialty of Mongolia. It was due to his ignorance that he did not know that the dish should be eaten using hands, which had made him seem even more uneducated than a chef.
Xiaozhu and the others were a little nervous at first, but they could hardly contain their laughter when they saw this scene. “What an ignorant official!” They thought.
Lin Dan did not care about the embarrassing situation happening in the dining hall. She washed her hands and took a carriage to the West District. In order to fight against the sudden rise of Qiaoyuan Restaurant, Yan’s Restaurant had recently launched two signature dishes in a row in the past two months. Hearing that they would be introducing a third signature dish today, she had to hurry there and check it out.[Read this novel and other amazing translated novels from the original source at the “Novel Multiverse dot com” website @ novelmultiverse.com]