Chapter 74: Minced Tofu Soup (Pt. 1)
Translated by Jouissance of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Tang Shuang was just as his name suggested, straight forward and unhesitant, and he was fast at learning as well, quickly managing to familiarize himself with XiQin Restaurant. He carefully listened to everything Lin ShuYi had to say to him, memorizing it easily. Afterwards, he meticulously showed Lin ShuYi the extent of his knife skills.
What he made was a Huaiyang dish called minced tofu soup, known for requiring delicate knife skills.
The stock was brewing. There was still a while before customers started coming and Lin ShuYi had the time and willingness to see how well-practiced Tang Shuang was, so he gave the other some ingredients and had him do as he pleased. Before this, Lin ShuYi had neither seen nor tried minced tofu soup , but he had heard of how strict this dish was in terms of knifework, so Lin ShuYi was curious, standing next to Tang Shuang and watching with interest.
A full box of silken tofu was placed on the washed cutting board. Tang Shuang then ran the thin blade under the tap as well to prevent the tofu from sticking to the knife.
He cut it horizontally across, cutting the tofu into two before rapidly slicing the tofu into thin pieces, and from there into thin strings. The soft, smooth tofu turned into thin, but whole, strips of tofu under Tang Shuang’s knife. At the moment, it wasn’t obvious, but when Tang Shuang placed the tofu strips into the water, they almost seemed to bloom into flowers, pure, white tofu flowers.
Lin ShuYi watched, wide eyed. As expected, it really was a test of one’s knife skills. He was pretty sure that he wouldn’t be able to reach this level with quite a while of practice. Tang Shuang really was quite skilled.
After the tofu was cut, the rest was much easier. Shiitake, ham, chicken, bamboo shoots and spinach were all cut into equally sized thin strips. Then two ladles of stock were put into the pot, and after it boiled, the strips of chicken, ham, shiitake and spinach were put in and set to re-boil. After that, the tofu, having been boiled in the other pot, was put in with the rest before seasoning was added. The soup was thickened and with a smattering of cilantro and a few drops of sesame oil, it was ready.
The stock gave the dish a pale tint, and the aroma of the ham and shiitake filled the room. Tang Shuang handed the bowl over to Lin ShuYi, smiling widely with his canines showing. “Try it, it should be pretty good.”
Lin ShuYi accepted the bowl and took a bite. It was tasted good, but compared to spectacular beauty in presentation, the taste seemed to lack a little something. Of course, it was very flavorful, with the flavor of the ham and shiitake combining perfectly and the tofu practically melting in his mouth, everything was aromantic.
Lin ShuYi gave the bowl to Shen Fu and had Shen Fu try it. Since Tang Shuang didn’t make much, and everyone had just had dinner anyways, there was only the bowl Lin ShuYi had and what Old Man Yang had.
Tang Shuang’s expression was practically begging for praise.
Old Man Yang gazed at Lin ShuYi with a smile. “So? How is he? Good?”
Lin ShuYi nodded and even Shen Fu gave a thumbs-up.
Tang Shuang was ready to explode with happiness. He was a prep cook. His knife skills were great, but honestly, he didn’t have that much experience with making full dishes, so when Lin ShuYi praised him with a nod, it meant that he had really done well this time.
The four were about to start commenting on how well-made Tang Shuang’s tofu was when a knocking came from outside. Tang Shuang was the closest to the door, so upon hearing the knocking, he looked to Lin ShuYi for approval before opening the door.
Who would be visiting at this hour?
The door opened to reveal two young ladies dressed fashionably.
The two were smiling and were stunned for a moment upon seeing Tang Shuang. How come it wasn’t the two handsome guys they saw on Weibo? However, though this guy was a little tanned, he looked lively and pretty handsome himself. This place really was full of cuties. The two young ladies’ eyes lit up. “Sorry, but is this XiQin Restaurant?”
Though the sign outside said it was, it was best to make sure first.
Tang Shuang nodded.
“Are you guys open today?”
Tang Shuang was a little confused, unsure at what the two wanted. However, hearing this, he still nodded in affirmation. “We are planning to open today, but it’s not time yet.”
The two young ladies exchanged a look and smiled. “That’s fine, so long as we’re in the right place, we can wait.” They tried to peek inside. Since Lin ShuYi and Shen Fu were both in the kitchen, they didn’t see what they had been hoping for, so they asked, “Is the boss here today?”
Tang Shuang felt like he had been enlightened. No wonder they came so early, they were here to look for Lin ShuYi. They didn’t look like they actually knew him though.
Tang Shuang called over his shoulder, “Xiao Yi-ge, someone is looking for you!”
Lin ShuYi was confused and put down the bowl, heading out. Shen Fu followed out of habit.
Looking for him? Who?
Lin ShuYi and Shen Fu walked out of the kitchen and the two young ladies’ eyes went wide. The two excitedly pushed at one another. “It’s them, it’s them!”
They kept their voices quiet so Lin ShuYu and Shen Fu couldn’t hear, but Tang Shuang, next to them, heard everything.
The gears in his head turned, and he figured out why they were here. Probably because of that weibo post.
As a resident of the Chaoyang street, Tang Shuang had definitely seen the weibos, and when he had seen them, they already had a terrifying amount of reposts. After finding out that the person in the picture was also Old Man Yang’s kin, Tang Shuang had been shocked. After that after Old Man Yang had told him he already, he had been relieved. Now he didn’t have to be afraid of saying anything.
Were those two young ladies also here because of the Weibo post? So were they here to eat or… to look at those two?
The answer was clear.
Though Tang Shuang had nothing against gays, but he didn’t really understand this sort of behavior.
It was just good that the two young ladies seemed pretty rational. Though they had managed to get Lin ShuYi and Shen Fu over, they didn’t overstep their boundaries, asking, “Is the shop not open yet? Could we sit here and wait for a while?”
Lin ShuYi smiled gently. It seemed that these two young ladies would be their first customers after the reopening, though it was still very early. Lin ShuYi didn’t really mind. “It’s fine. If you want something to eat, then you can count the shop opened.”
The young ladies seemed a little embarrassed at this.
They would admit that they were here to see the two, but now they had seen them, and it really was two of them, no, three cute guys. They all seemed very nice as well, but they really were here a little too early. The place hadn’t even opened. They had thought that it would be nice if they could sit in for a while, even if they couldn’t order and eat, but who would’ve expected Lin ShuYi to agree to serve them with a smile. It made them feel rather shameless.
“It’s that too much trouble for you? We’re ok with waiting.”
Lin ShuYi led them inside to a table behind folding screens, smiling as he said, “It’s fine, no trouble at all.”
Tang Shuang immediately followed, placing two antique-looking menus in front of the two.
Lin ShuYi admitted to them, “We have all sorts of dishes, but since some take a lot of time to prepare, we might not be able to get them ready on time, and this time of day probably isn’t very suited to breakfast.”
The two young ladies nodded in understanding. Lin ShuYi smiled and left with Shen Fu before the two young ladies started looking over the menu. With this, they almost started drooling.
Each of the dishes portrayed on the menu were personally made by Lin ShuYi, and almost all the dishes had accompanying photographs. The photographs were taken by Shen Fu. He had used a single lens reflex camera with great performance. The photos were beautiful and tempting, and even on paper you could practically smell the delicious aroma coming from the dishes.
The two young ladies hadn’t eaten yet, and now their stomachs rumbled further with the tempting sights. “They all look so good, what should we get?”
The two young ladies carefully looked through the menu. Apart from some that were difficult to make or required pricy ingredients, the pricing wasn’t much different from other places. They all looked amazing as well.
“Let’s not go for something too oily or heavy in the morning.” They flipped passed the braised meat section tearfully.
“Cold dishes aren’t too appropriate either.” They flipped passed the cold dish section tearfully.
“Hm, for breakfast, steamed egg is good. There’s quite a variety of them, too,” Tang Shuang suggested.
He had looked through the menu again and again, so he was very familiar with everything in it. Seeing the two young ladies hesitating, he decided to recommend something. Since they weren’t a restaurant that sold many breakfast food, steamed egg was probably the most appropriate.
One of the two clapped her hands together. “That’s true! I really love steamed egg. What are you getting?”
The other was still hesitant. “I don’t really like salty steamed egg.”
Tang Shuang thought for a moment and flipped to one of the pages in the menu. Since there were too many kinds of steamed egg, they only took a photo of one kind, the salty and very flavorful icefish steamed egg. However, there were quite a few others in the corner.
Tang Shuang pointed out a few. “It’s fine if you don’t like salty ones, there are also orange steamed eggs and coconut steamed eggs.”
The young lady’s eyes lit up. “Is there any with coconut milk? If there is, then I’ll take that. I like it sweet.” Tang Shuang made an ok hand gesture and the young ladies flipped through the menu. “Then a plate of fried wontons. That should be enough.”
Fried wontons were a starter, but at a time like this, they would count as the main course. It should be good with steamed eggs.
Tang Shuang recorded it all and went to pass on the order to Lin ShuYi. “One icefish steamed egg, one coconut milk steamed egg, and one fried wonton.”
“Ok.” Lin ShuYi rolled up his sleeves and put on his apron, taking out eggs, icefish and coconut milk to start making the steamed eggs.
“Do you need me to do anything?” Shen Fu walked up to Lin ShuYi.
Lin ShuYi was already cracking eggs into a bowl with one hand, and didn’t even bother look over as he said, “No.”
Shen Fu shrugged and went to pour some water for the young ladies.