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236 Imagined Delicacy

 When the aged man heard that Yuan Zhou wanted to eat the famous dish of the village, he naturally felt very happy. However, famous dishes were usually rare. Anyone who would like to eat it had to look for the ingredients by themselves. This was the rule of the village.

"You are welcomed to savor it. You can go to the needle peak to try your fortune alone tomorrow. Somebody managed to pick it several months ago over there." The warm-hearted aged man showed to Yuan Zhou the mountain peak like a finger in the distance.

"Humm. Do you have the picture of the mushroom?" Before Yuan Zhou came here, he had once heard of a famous dish originated here.

With the name of "Wu Chicken", it was said to be a dish of the royal palace and was once served in the Banquet of Thousand Aged People held by Kang-hsi Emperor. As a result, it naturally had its own fame and rule. However, it had been lost for a long time.

The reason why the Yanfeng Village was famous was because every villager could cook this dish. Besides, there was once a chef working in the royal kitchen and he was also from the village.

"No, I don't. But it's very easy to recognize it. You'll know what the mushroom is like when you see it." The aged man revealed a mysterious smile after he finished.

"Ok." Yuan Zhou nodded the head.

"Here we are. This is the house of this aged man. The contiguous room is for you. You can prepare some foodstuff and cook in the kitchen. The oven is over there." The aged man pointed at the neighboring two stone rooms and then at the small shed behind them and explained one by one.

"Thank you." Yuan Zhou nodded the head and thanked him.

Following a sound of "zhi ya", Yuan Zhou pushed open the wooden door. Unexpectedly, the room was quite clean. There was only a stone bed, a stone table and an empty wooden box inside.

"It's clean, isn't it?" The aged man stood behind Yuan Zhou and asked him proudly.

"Yeah, it's very clean. Thank you." Yuan Zhou nodded the head and went up to put down the backpack.

"Of course. I clean the room every day. Those people like to live in my house very much." After a proud smile, the aged man turned around and left.

He put down his stuff, took out his phone and checked the time. It was 3:00 in the afternoon. China Mobile was powerful. Even in the mountain area, there was still one signal bar.

"Time for lunch." Yuan Zhou had been travelling around all the time in the morning and hence, didn't get time to eat.

With a sound of "Peng", he shut the door and prepared to go out with only a wallet.

"Young man, I cooked a bowl of noodles just now. Do you eat it?" While the aged man was coming out from the small shed with a white porcelain bowl in his hand, he just bumped into Yuan Zhou who was walking toward him and then asked him enthusiastically.

"Great. Thanks a lot." Yuan Zhou received the big bowl, inside of which there were some white noodles and a poached egg as well as some chopped green onion.

"I especially put some beef tallow inside. Just try the taste. It's the specialty here in our village." The aged man revealed an expression of pride. He presumably went to cook the noodles after he left just now as Yuan Zhou had told him that he didn't have lunch.

"Yes. It smells good." Yuan Zhou nodded the head.

"All right. Just eat it up. But I have to suggest that you go to look for the golden mushroom early if you want to eat that dish." The aged man waved his hand and returned to his own room.

"Many thanks." After thanking him, Yuan Zhou put the bowl on the table and began to eat.

Actually, beef tallow wasn't really suitable to put into the bland noodles. However, Yuan Zhou felt the noodles were sweet and fragrant as well as chewy. Therefore, he ate the noodles up and even drank up the broth in the end.

As he had lunch too late, he ate it slowly and eventually finished the meal at 4:00 pm. He then went out of the room and washed the bowl first. After that, he started on a journey to the needle peak.

As far as Yuan Zhou knew, the dish was actually the stewed chicken with the mushroom. The mushroom was called the Golden Mushroom.

This mushroom was quite suitable to grow in the soil rich in metals. It was said that if one could find the wild Golden Mushroom, he found the gold mine. That's why people called this kind of mushroom as Golden Mushroom. What it meant could easily be seen.

The shape of the mushroom was unknown to him. He only knew the taste was incomparably fresh and delicate. Normally, mushrooms grown in the soil rich in metal weren't supposed to be edible. Nevertheless, it was not so for this mushroom. It not only had an incomparably delicate taste but also tasted smooth and tender while being eaten. The taste was extremely great.

The very dish served in the Banquet of Thousand Aged People used Bian Chicken, also known as Youyu Chicken in Shanxi Province, as the main food material. It was actually Dagu Chicken brought in from Fengtian area when Suidong Siqi Region was reclaimed and cultivated. After domestication, the chicken multiplied, expanded and then formed a distinct breed with the characteristic of decent meat quality, good adaptability and cold resistance. It was especially suitable to stew the chicken soup.

"Ka Cha Ka Cha", Yuan Zhou walked unhurriedly on the small path covered with pebbles all along and was occasionally greeted by some people.

"Are you here to buy the honey? When will you start?" The curious middle-aged women asked him one after another.

"I won't buy much. So don't wait for me," Yuan Zhou straightforwardly said.

"You must be here to pick the Golden Mushroom. Don't linger here too late. The mountain paths are bad." When they heard Yuan Zhou did not intend to buy much, they didn't get annoyed. Instead, they reminded him kindly.

"Humm, thank you." Yuan Zhou thanked them while walking forward.

"You are welcome. Go back early." While the villagers' words were still lingering in his ears, Yuan Zhou had walked far.

The needle peak was virtually not too far from the village. But as soon as Yuan Zhou arrived at the place, Yuan Zhou understood what the aged man meant.

This needle peak was covered with pointed stones everywhere. Shadows of the plants would be very conspicuous. However, people would get hurt on the feet due to slightest carelessness if they walked on the pointed stones. Yuan Zhou's hands and eyes were flexible, sensitive, and well cooperated with each other, but the cooperation of his feet and eyes were not so good.

"Si", Yuan Zhou gasped. In just a little while, he had gotten hurt several times. As for the Golden Mushroom, he hadn't seen even one of them.

There was nobody else on the needle peak at that time. Therefore, Yuan Zhou had to look for the mushroom carefully alone.

"It's truly like a mermaid that walks with pain for every step. It's just that there's no princess ahead waiting for me to marry," when Yuan Zhou hurt his feet again, he said with a sense of mockery.

It was gradually getting dark. Not to mention the Golden Mushroom, even a green plant wasn't seen by him. Around the small needle peak, Yuan Zhou had only likewise searched at this place by half.

At that time, he intended to return on the same route. Of course, he had also thought of going back along other routes, but he found his learning abilities had been greatly improved. For the short distance, he didn't get hurt anymore.

It took Yuan Zhou only forty minutes to walk from Yanfeng Village to the needle peak, but 1 hour to go back as the bloody blisters on his feet made him ache. Therefore, he walked not so quickly as before.

While hurting on the way back, Yuan Zhou turned on the mode of self-mockery, "It seems I have become delicate now. Such a short distance surprisingly gives my feet bloody blisters."

Yuan Zhou felt rather speechless when he saw the three bloody blisters on the sole of his feet. He put on the shoes and headed directly for the village without piercing the bloody blisters.

When he barely arrived at the house he rented, Yuan Zhou found a boy standing at the door.

"You are back, uncle." He appeared to be only 5 or 6 years old. Standing in the dim light, Yuan Zhou found there seemed to be some red spots on the boy's face.

However, Yuan Zhou cared more about how the boy called him.

"You should call me elder brother," said Yuan Zhou with an expressionless face.

"But you are much older than me. I should call you uncle," said the boy naturally. He wasn't shy of strangers at all.

"I'm not older than you that much. Just call me elder brother." Yuan Zhou insisted.

"Uncle, you are obviously much elder than me," the boy reached out his hand and measured his height with Yuan Zhou's and then said firmly.

"I'm just taller than you. Call me elder brother," said Yuan Zhou persistently.

"I'm here to ask if you want to eat?" Only by then did the boy recall his own purpose of coming here. He paid no attention to Yuan Zhou's request and still called him uncle.

"Yes, of course. Show me the way, please. Call me elder brother." Yuan Zhou continued talking to him.

"Well, you are so wordy, uncle." The boy took an impatient look at Yuan Zhou, meaning approximately, "You are so naive."

Then, Yuan Zhou became depressed...