40.2 Superb Wheat Foods
While talking, Nian Bing’s right hand held the chicken wings that were starting to heat up over the open flame and turned them rapidly. The side of the chicken wing would come in contact with the open flame for no longer than a second. The two chefs stopped their movements and were smirking coldly at him. They thought that Nian Bing was making a fool out of himself.
Nian Bing’s moments were very simple. Any ordinary person could do it, but it would be hard for them to keep up such a rotation tempo. From beginning to end, his speed was kept entirely steady, without even the slightest of changes. The two chefs who were roasting the chicken wings were not mediocre talents. Very soon, their original contempt was replaced with a serious expression.
Nian Bing’s actions were very light. When the chicken wings started to gain a yellow hue, his movements suddenly changed. The five skewers of chicken wings lay level above the open flame. He started to flip them, skewer by skewer, from left to right in a continuous cycle in a steady rhythm, but this time the skewered wings were exposed to the fire for a longer period of time.
The chef closest to Nian Bing said doubtfully, “Even if your actions are somewhat skillful, and will make the roasting of the chicken wings more evenly distributed, the difference in flavor between ours and yours will not be that big. As long as it’s not a true gourmet, they would not be able to taste the minute difference. Moreover, it is very easy to get tired this way. Do you know how much we sell per day?”
Nian Bing smiled. While roasting the chicken, he said, “It’s not at all like you think. The real crucial point has not started yet. You can relax; I will definitely not use your marinade. A bit of salt and cumin is enough.”
Soon, the difference between Nian Bing’s roasted chicken wings and the two chef’s appeared. When those two chefs were roasting, they would start to brush the oil after the chicken wings had already turned yellow as to make the chicken wings become even spicier. But Nian Bing didn’t do any of that. He only quickened the rotation speed. With a slight smirk, Nian Bing’s eyes exuded a faint light. The crucial moment had arrived.
Just as the chicken wings turned yellow and their fragrance started to disseminate, Demonic Engraving appeared in his hand without any forewarning. On one face of the chicken wing, Nian Bing quickly scored three vertical and three horizontal lines. His movements were done all in one broth without any stutters. Everyone only saw a blue light flash for a moment on top of the chicken wings, and then the chicken wings had already been flipped over and the same action was once again repeated on the other side of the chicken wing. Demonic Engraving disappeared, and Nian Bing continued to turn the chicken wings.
“Did you see that clearly? The chicken wing’s natural oil is most concentrated inside the chicken wing. There is no need to add even more oil. When the chicken wing turns golden-yellow, cut open the chicken a bit. As such, you can make the chicken wing’s oils saturate the entire chicken and make the flavor of the chicken meat more well-distributed, and will make the chicken wings even more tasty.” Having said this, he grabbed a pinch of cumin and sprinkled it onto both sides of the chicken wings. After the chicken wings had been rotated once, he sprinkled some salt on and then continued with the roasting1.
“Roasted chicken wings actually don’t need too much added condiments because chicken wings already have a naturally tasty flavor. The marinade you guys add on certainly makes the flavor of the chicken more pungent, but because of the sweetness, the entire chicken wing takes on the flavor of the marinade, and you lose the natural flavor of the chicken wing as well as the crispiness of the skin. Although it’s commendable that the added medicinal herbs to the marinade are beneficial to people’s health, as chefs the flavor should be the most important. Okay, please sample my premium roasted chicken wings.” When he lifted the chicken wings out of the oven, Nian Bing separated two skewers to give to the two chefs. Of the other three skewers, he gave one to the attendant and two the guests who were lined up closest to the front.
A purple-gold coin was tossed out from Nian Bing, which fell onto the counter before the attendant and then he strode away.
A hissing sound followed Nian Bing’s departure. Eighty percent of the guests thought that he had voluntarily conceded defeat. Nian Bing didn’t care about the false allegations and just walked along the brightly lit road.
“Wah, this tastes super good. It’s so fragrant! I have never tasted such a fragrant chicken wing before.” A guest fortunate enough to obtain the chicken wing cried out in surprise.
At the moment, the two chefs from the Orchid Fragrance Restaurant had been reduced to a lifeless state. When the chicken wing’s aroma had filled their mouths, although it was not sweet, the chicken wing’s natural flavor was perfectly embodied. On top of that, the crispiness of the skin and the tender, slippery chicken meat was just as Nian Bing had said. This was the true premium roasted chicken wings! The two chefs looked at each other. One of them said, “Sorry customers. Today we have decided to temporarily close. Tomorrow, we will put out a new roasted chicken wing.” Having said this, the two immediately headed to the backroom. Right now, they had only one thing on their minds – to engrave Nian Bing’s every movement in detail into their memories. Nian Bing’s culinary arts had completely vanquished them.
Everything was already within Nian Bing’s anticipation. He had done this only because of the admirable sincerity that the restaurant held toward its customers. He believed that the two chefs were not dumb. They would definitely learn many things from his actions. By raising their cooking methods of roasting chicken wings, he hoped that their business would become even better. After all, currently there were only a few businesses who did not put profits above all else.
While walking, Nian Bing suddenly saw a restaurant not too far from him. He hadn’t eaten his fill from the chicken wings from before. On the contrary, he had almost cried due to the spiciness. At this moment, his stomach was starting to get ideas. The reason that the restaurant attracted Nian Bing was because of its signboard. It was a simple sign board with only four words – Superb Wheat Foods.
Superb? To dare to use such a moniker, it seems that the owner of this store has absolute confidence in his dishes. He wanted to go in and take a look. If it were wheat foods, there were a lot of variations on it. Nian Bing was most unfamiliar with wheat foods.
The difference in between the business of Superb Wheat Foods and the Orchid Fragrance Restaurant was like heaven and earth. There were very few guests at the tables. Moreover, a large portion of the guest only had one bowl of noodles.
“Sir, welcome. May I ask what you would like to eat?” A server greeted him politely.
Nian Bing sat down at a table and asked with a smile, “What is your most specialty dish here?”
The server smiled and replied, “Of course it is noodles. We serve every kind of wheat food here, some that you cannot even imagine. There is nothing that we cannot make. However, the prices here are relatively high. Any kind of wheat food is one gold coin.”
“What? One gold coin? It’s almost robbery.” Nian Bing stared wide-eyed at the server. It should be known that one gold coin is enough to eat a pretty good feast. For this only to be able to buy a single bowl of noodles, it is no wonder there were so few customers. But Nian Bing quickly noticed an anomaly – the guests here were primarily elderly. Moreover, each one of them wore resplendent clothes. When he had cried out in surprise, they were all looking him with expressions of contempt.
The attendant’s smile disappeared. “As the saying goes, ‘a girl would doll herself up for a man who loves her,a gentleman would die for the patron who knows his worth.’2 Sir, since you doubt our prices, then you can leave now. We will not welcome a guest like you.”
Nian Bing went black for a moment. They opened their doors to do business, but they would chase out guests? This Superb Wheat Foods was truly strange. He came here to try some food. There were some special characteristics here. With a smile on his face, he said, “Sorry, I was being rude just now. I just did not think that the wheat foods here would have such a high price.”
The attendant looked at Nian Bing with some surprise. Obviously he did not think that Nian Bing would decide to stay. The person himself had already apologized, so what more could he say? “Then, what would sir like to eat? We can make any wheat food that you wish.”
Nian Bing smiled slightly and replied, “Then give me three kinds, okay? I want five golden aromatic rings, five donkey rolls, and a plate of fried ginger twists. Please hurry up, thanks.”
When the server heard Nian Bing’s three foods, his face immediately contorted in surprise. He had worked here for a long time, so naturally he knew which sort of wheat foods were hard to make. Of the three dishes Nian Bing had ordered, he had only heard of the golden aromatic ring. The other two he had never even heard of them. HIs eyes held some hesitation when he said, “Sorry, sir, but could I ask you to pay up front?”
Nian Bing grabbed three gold coins from his chest and said, “I can do so right now.”
The server nodded his head and said, “Please wait here, it will be ready in a moment.”
The attendant left. Nian Bing took stock of his surroundings. The restaurant was decorated simply. The wooden floorboards were made of brown wood, and the furniture was also made of wood. The entire restaurant looked clean. In the most inner part there was a roll of calligraphy, with the word ‘superb’ written on it. The brush strokes were thick and powerful, full of grandeur.
Nian Bing chose those three wheat foods and all of them belonged to a different sort of specialty food on the continent. When Zha Ji had been teaching him the culinary arts, he had said that if he could make those three wheat foods, then his skills in wheat foods foundations would be up to par. These three different wheat foods usually represented a wheat chef’s level.
“Ai, is there anyone here? I’m really hungry; get me a bowl of noodles.” A clear and crisp voice spoke, attracting the gazes of the customers to the entrance. On hearing the voice, Nian Bing immediately trembled. When he saw the red-clad figure at the entryway, he could not help but grumble and quickly lower his head. But he was sitting too close to the door, and his golden-hair was rarely seen within the Ice Moon Empire and immediately attracted the person’s attention.
A pleasantly surprised voice spoke, “Nian Bing, it’s too great. I have finally found you. It seems that my luck is really not that bad.” Suddenly appearing in the entryway was the young miss of the Pure Wind House, Xue Jing. From her dust-covered figure he could see that she had hurried along the road. Her red warrior clothing perfectly delineated her curves. Though she looked tired, her heroic spirit had not been diminished.
Since he already been recognized, Nian Bing could only stand up to greet her. “Jing Jing, why did you come here?”
Xue Jing looked at Nian Bing’s expression and smiled. “Isn’t it to find you? You left without a word; if Ling’er had not told me, I would not have known where you left to. You are really heartless!”
Feeling the other diner’s strange gazes, they seemed to all be suspicious. Was this beautiful girl abandoned?
Nian Bing could not suppress his embarrassment. Bitterly, he said, “My aunt, you should pay more attention to your words. We are ordinary friends, no need to act like a scorned woman.”
“Peh.” Xue Jing’s beautiful face flushed. Ill-temperedly, she retorted, “Who’s a bitter woman, you’re dreaming. I came here to bring you back. Leaving whenever you want, if you don’t come back with me to the Pure Wind House, I will always follow you and annoy you every day.” Her voice was very loud, bringing smiles to the customers’ faces.
Nian Bing tugged Xue Jing to his table to sit down. “Miss, I am not deaf. You can talk quieter and I will hear.”
Xue Yang’s eyes suddenly reddened. She asked in a hurt tone, “I really did not think that you would actually get up and leave. Don’t tell me that I did something to make you hate me?”
Nian Bing shook his head and said in a low voice. “That’s not it, please don’t be mistaken. I left Ice Snow City because I had no choice! I think that not long after I left, Ice and Snow City received an order from the king to summon me. I did not want to lose my freedom, and moreover, I always aspired to travel the continent to improve and collect cooking techniques. Didn’t you understand when I spoke to you before?”
Xue Jing snorted and said, “I don’t really care. Anyway, if you don’t come back with me, then I will travel the continent with you. It just so happens that I wanted to play anyway.”
Nian Bing forced a smile and said, “How could that be okay. You are a girl. Being with a man everyday will make people gossip. Don’t tell me you are not afraid that Yan Feng will be jealous?”
Xue Jing’s face held a hint of a strange light. “Nian Bing, tell me honestly, do you hate me?” Her voice was very calm, but the light in her eyes showed her seriousness.
Nian Bing replied, “I just hated your temper. However, I discovered afterwards that though your temper is bad, you are lively and cheerful and kind at heart. You are definitely a good person.”
Xue Jing sighed in relief. She said in a low voice, “Actually, I always knew that my Wild Girl name was no good. When you left Ice and Snow City, I was afraid that the big part of the reason was to avoid me.”
Nian Bing replied helplessly, “Why do you always say things like that? I have already said that I left Ice and Snow City due to personal reasons. They have nothing to do with you. We are friends, so why would I bother about those things that happened in the past?”
Xue Jing smiled. “If you can say it like that, you should allow me to travel around the continent with you. After the commotion has passed in Ice and Snow City, you can come back with me and become a chef, or we can go somewhere else to set up a restaurant. I will pay and you can be a majority shareholder, and I will leave the affairs of the kitchen up to you.”