Little Chef - Chapter 2
“You mean to tell me we only have this small amount of money?”
Her little brother, Su Jin Hang, nodded solemnly.
Su Tang was trying to check their savings to decide what ingredients they could buy. She found out that they only had 50 wens in their savings. This was definitely not enough to buy any good ingredients!
To go to Daji tomorrow, the contestants needed to bring their own materials. It may be pretty simple for others, but their family could not afford to bring anything.
Su Tang took a deep breath as she began to rummage around the house. So far, she has only found flour and eggs from the kitchen. She started to think ‘Should I make some fried noodles or scallion noodles for tomorrow?’
Su Tang just shook her head when she thought about it.
There are more than 300 contestants in the competition tomorrow, but only 20 judges.
This will cause there to be a long wait for each platter to be judged, since there are a large number of contestants. Thus noodles would be the worst type of food that they could make in that situation, since they could turn soggy if people didn’t eat them right away.
Apart from these things, they only had a few bottles of oil left in the kitchen.
The oil bottles were also hidden by the siblings or else this would have also been snatched by their aunt.
Su Tang saw that the color of the oil in the bottle was different from the usual lard oil, so she stepped forward to a sniff of it.
This smell surprised her! It turned out to be sesame oil which is also known as fragrance oil.
The process of grinding sesame seeds into oil in ancient times was complicated and unique.
Su Tang thought, ‘This must be the secret ingredient her father created to keep the restaurant open!’
“Sister, what are you doing staring at the sesame oil?” Su Jin Hang asked. He thought it was strange that his sister was holding sesame oil like it was a precious treasure.
Su Tang smiled happily: “I already know what dishes I am going to cook tomorrow, and I will definitely get the promotion.”
“What do you mean promotion?” Su Jin Hang asked because he had never heard of this saying.
The first level was to pass the audition by standing out from the three to four hundred competitors. From there she could enter the real competition with the final one hundred and fifty people.
Early next morning, the two siblings rushed to the market. Su Jin Hang was still feeling very anxious because his sister spent all of her time wiping the sesame oil bottle clean last night in preparation for the competition. He thought to himself, ‘Sesame oil was just a condiment, so what could you even do with it?’
Su Tang only brought salt, half a bottle of sesame oil, and white vinegar when they set off.
They brought so little that it didn’t look like they were going to cook anything at all!
On her way to the Daji Su Tang stopped to pick up some extra stuff. She was very satisfied with the handful of fresh spring onions she had bought for only two wen. She also went to the tofu stall to buy old tofu. In total, it cost her less than ten wens.
“Sister, are you going to fry the tofu? Wouldn’t it be a little too simple?” Su Jin Hang scratched his head and couldn’t think of anything delicious that could be made from these things.
As soon as he finished speaking they heard a sneer from behind them.
“You’re thinking of coming to the God of Cooking Competition to just fry tofu?”
Su Tang turned her head to look behind her. She saw a burly man carrying vegetables and seafood in his hand. This made it seem like he was going to make a grand meal.
The man was frightened by the scar that he saw on Su Tang’s head.
“You dare come out to meet people when you’re so ugly.” The man muttered while covering his ingredients to prepare to leave.
He paid a lot of money for his ingredients, so he should definitely pass in this Cooking Competition!
Su Tang touched her forehead. Actually, her scar were almost healed, but she purposely painted them with something to make it look scary before going out today.
“Is that abalone? This abalone looks pale, and the flesh was already white. This indicates that it had been dead for a while. The person that eats this could have mild diarrhea and abdominal pain, and in more severe cases, one would have to seek a doctor for treatment. This guy needs to be careful.” Whisper Su Tang while pulling Su Jin Hang away.
The man’s face turned red. He turned around to refute her statement, but he saw that she was gracefully walking away with her brother.
The man shook his head quickly. What was he thinking? He saw the woman’s face just now. The injuries on her head were very ugly, so how could she possibly look graceful.
When she entered the Daji, Su Tang observed the surrounding people. Most of the people who came to the competition were men, and there were only a few women with lots of family members guarding them.
Cang Qin country was not too strict in the differences between men and women, but this was still ancient times.
Since Su Tang only came with her younger brother, she looked very lonely.
A woman next to her saw this, and took the initiative to say: “It’s rare for women to participate in this competition. You are so brave.”
“This Miss must be joking, didn’t you also come to the competition?” Su Tang smiled.
The woman looked at her. Su Tang’s clothes were washed clean, but they were worn out. She was neatly dressed, but the injuries on her head looked a bit disturbing.
“I would not be here if my father didn’t force me to give it a try. He said that the Huang family’s cooking skills shouldn’t die out during my generation. I told him that my brother was good enough to carry on the family legacy.” Miss Huang’s tone was soft and innocent. She looked like a spoiled young lady who had not seen much of the world. “My name is Huang Yue Tong, what is your name?”
She nodded and said: “Su Tang, it is nice to meet you Miss Huang.”
After the two greeted each other, the officers from the government arrived. They directly announced the rules of the competition.
A total of 360 participants had come, so they were randomly divided into ten groups. Each group had 36 people alongside two judges.
The people in the groups competed and more than half of them would be eliminated.
Su Tang was standing close to Huang Yue Tong, so they were directly assigned to the same group.
Su Jin Hang looked anxious standing next to her. Seeing this, Su Tang comforted him by saying: “Remember what I said? Just watch the time and bring what I asked for.”
He nodded his head. He understood what he needed to do.
Su Tang and Huang Yue Tong walked to their positions.
They are in the eighth group of the ten groups.
Since the contestants brought their own ingredients, there were no restrictions on what they could make.
Basically, every other chef brought a huge amount of ingredients, and it seemed like they were going to make a magnificent cuisine.
Su Tang looked around and found the man with the abalone from before. It seems that he was also in this group, but he was far away. Su Tang shook her head gently after seeing how reckless the way that he was handling the abalone.
She also saw a piece of beef next to Huang Yue Tong. The beef looked very tender, and red veins could be seen on it. Such ingredients are bound to be fresh and could make any normal recipe taste delicious.
The other contestants mostly brought the same kind of ingredients as Huang Yue Tong. Su Tang seemed to be an exception with her old tofu and spring onions.
Su Tang was not careless, but many people’s eyes have glanced over since she didn’t mind them finding out what ingredients she was using.
There were only a few women in this ancient cooking competition. This caused two women in their group, Su Tang and Huang Yue Tong, to stand out. It was even more eye-catching because Su Tang only had a small amount of materials in hand.
Huang Yue Tong also noticed this and whispered: “I can share some ingredients with you. I also brought a freshly slaughtered chicken and pork tenderloin.”
“No, thank you.” Su Tang thought that Miss Huang was cute.
It was obviously a competition, but she was willing to help others.
Su Tang pointed to the beef: “Beating the beef with the back of a knife will make it more tender.”
“No talking allowed in the examination room!” The official who came to test the dishes scolded Su Tang and Huang Yue Tong.
Huang Yue Tong stuck out her tongue and began to process the beef.
The official’s surname was Ji, and his name was Ji Shu.
He was a civilian official in the government, but he was sent to serve as a judge for a cooking contest. He felt it was laughable that he was brought in to judge this kitchen affair.
As the saying goes people’s hearts are not ancient and the world is going down. (to lament the deterioration of the reading temperament in society, the lack of simplicity and kindness, but the deceit and hypocrisy, and the heart is no longer as simple as the ancients )
Besides, if this cooking competition goes well, then their hard work won’t be in vain.
Hua Shi Xin, the other judge, didn’t care at all. He likes delicious food, so he basically begged to be a judge for this event.
Su Tang was not in a hurry. What she was going to make was very simple, so there’s no need to rush.
She placed a pot of water to boil and then put a few drops of white vinegar in it.
The boiled water will not be used immediately, but instead it will be left to cool on the side. Only the water at the top will be used and a third of the water will be drained. Then the remaining two-thirds will be boiled and filtered with a fine gauze.
That was how ‘clear water’ was made.
“What is she doing? Can she even cook?”
The contestants were forbidden to talk to each other, but the crowd kept on chattering.
There were people around her who were baking, making pancakes, and steaming fish. The smell of food was gushing out, but this little girl was still boiling water!
The people’s discussions made the two judges look over. When they saw that this woman was still boiling water they gently shook their heads. This made them think there really are these types of people.
In another location, Cang Qin country’s young general Shi Ding looked nervous. He carefully said: “Marquis, this competition is all for you. Just sit and wait for a little while, and there will be delicious food sent over.”
Shi Ding looked up at the Marquis, but soon bowed his head again in fright.
The man in question had a handsome face with sword-like eyebrows and deep black eyes, but there was a cold air that he emitted from his body that made people afraid to look straight at him. His eyes were full of pressure and his thin lips were pressed into a straight line. This indicated that he was in a bad mood right now.
Shi Ding would have already lifted his leg and ran away if not for the fact that he was a General’s son.
“This person has to eat and you have to make sure that it happens no matter what! Search elsewhere if the capital doesn’t have his favorite chef.” Shi Ding was sweating because he was ordered by the emperor and his father to keep an eye on Marquis Weiyuan while he was at the God of Cooking Competition.
The marquis was very picky about food because everything tasted bad to him. This was something many people knew.
The Marquis probably wouldn’t want to eat at all, if not for the fact that his health would be at stake.
This was the reason why the God of Cooking Competition was being held.
The competition just started today, and he had to make sure the Marquis stayed and watched.
Shi Ding racked his brains to find something to keep the Marquis interested. He hastily said: “I heard that there is a woman outside. She is just boiling water while everyone else is cooking. It is very interesting because I heard that the water has already been boiled three times. I don’t even know what she is thinking.”
“You kept me here just to talk about this nonsense?” Marquis Weiyuan said lightly.
He was obviously not interested, and this caused the atmosphere to grow even colder.
Su Tang has just begun to cook, but thirty of thirty-six people in their group have already finished.
Now it was her time to shine! Su Tang was fast with her hands when she blanched the old tofu with the boiled water. Then she set it to boil for an additional two minutes.
Su Jin Hang brought over another basin of water, and Su Tang quickly dipped her finger in it to check the temperature.
“Nice. This well water is cold.”
It was too bad that the dish would taste better with ice water, but this well water would be enough.
Su Tang shook her head and began dividing the well water into three parts. The boiled tofu was stirred in one part of the cold water before it was rinsed and set into another basin of well water.
“What is she doing?!”
“She is just trying to show off. There is nothing interesting to see here.”
Su Tang looked over at the two contestants who were gossiping about her. She didn’t do this to show off, but it was in preparation for something else.
Fried noodles(youpo mian-油泼面)
Scallion Noodles(Cong you ban mian-葱油拌面)