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930 Mapo Tofu

 The second dish served by Yuan Zhou was Boiled Meat Slices. But the Boiled Meat Slices here was different than what they got at other places. The meat slices here were tender and white and were not of the original reddish color of pork meat.

Since their appetite had been stimulated by the first dish, this second dish was finished very quickly.

The Boiled Meat Slices were placed in a blue bowl, and on top of the meat slices, pieces of scallion were scattered about. After adding some scalding oil on it, Yuan Zhou covered the bowl with a wooden lid to cover the smell and only lifted the lid after the dish was served.

A wide expanse of white meat slices were in the bowl with some chopped onions. And below the layer of glossy red spicy oil was some milky white broth. The moment this dish was served, everyone had the urge to give this dish that looked so different a try.

"I won't be holding back. I'll try it first," Zhou Shijie was somewhat more polite than Lee Yanyi and only started eating when nobody objected after his declaration.

After Zhou Shijie picked up the first piece of meat, the others started eating as well. Everyone moved quickly.

"I think watching others eating is very easy to make yourself feel hungry," remarked the crew-cut guy inwardly as his stomach rumbled while he watched them eat.

"This is definitely the same as instant noodles. Looks nice but nothing special once you tried it," commented the crew-cut guy inwardly. He was being a sour grape, but it was good behavior. After all, should he praise the grape he couldn't have so as to torture himself?

"Chairman, you were the first to eat. So this last piece should be mine," Hu Yue declared solemnly with his chopsticks resting on the final piece of meat.

"Chairman Zhou, this final piece should come to me, the chairman of Sichuan Cuisine Association so I can give this dish a proper tasting. You are frequently here anyway, so this opportunity should be mine," Zhang Yan said.

"Stop fighting. When it comes to tasting, I should naturally be the one to do it," Lee Yanyi said.

"You should respect the old and cherish the young. This final place should be mine," Chairman Zhou said with a wide smile.

To the side, the two advisors, Ma Cheng and Zhao Xin looked at each other before placing their chopsticks down reluctantly. Their eyes were still looking at the final piece of meat longingly.

After all, if even the four were fighting over it, there would be no hope for the two of them. Since the four were of completely different status than them, they did not dare to fight with the four.

"I need to come and eat here when I'm free," Ma Cheng decided inwardly.

"I'm doing this for the sake of gathering information, not because the food here is good," Zhao Xin convinced himself.

The members of the appraisal team had many thoughts in their minds, but that was the same for the crew-cut guy and his crew members.

"I didn't feel this hungry during filming yesterday. I must have eaten too little for breakfast. That is definitely the case," the crew-cut guy and the guy beside him reached the same conclusion.

While they were gloomily watching Zhou Shijie and the others fighting over food, Yuan Zhou was already preparing the third dish.

The fight over food ended when Zhou Shijie obtained the final piece of meat.

"Everyone. What do you think of the white meat?" Zhou Shijie started a topic in order to prove he had not eaten the last piece for nothing.

"I am unsure of how the dish was made, but I have once read about it," Lee Yanyi glared at Zhou Shijie before speaking.

"Are you referring to the records of the great painter, Zhang Daqian?" Hu Yue asked.

"Yes," Lee Yanyi nodded.

"Grinding Leaf Sauteed Beef, are you referring to this dish?" Zhang Yan said after thinking about it.

"That is a dish created by Zhang Daqian himself. The beef would be sauteed with edible tree fungus. After the dish was cooked, there would be a clear separation of white and black, looking very nice. But it is impossible to recreate this dish with the preparation method listed in the legends," narrated Lee Yanyi.

"That's right. But I think this dish was made using that preparation method," Zhou Shijie nodded before voicing his opinion.

"But just with thin slices and washing it with water will not have such a result," Zhang Yan said with a frown.

"But when eating it, the taste of the pork loin is very strong. It is rich in flavor and does not feel like it has been washed over with water," Hu Yue said with a nod.

In truth, there were records of Zhang Daqian's Grinding Leaf Sauteed Beef. In the records, it was mentioned that the beef only needed to be sliced into thin pieces and rinsed it with water for 20 minutes before mixing a little amount of cornstarch to it. Finally, after sautéing it with some scalding oil, it will be ready.

But that method was not easy to accomplish. Moreover, pork and beef were different. If one did the same with pork, the flavor would have been washed off and the meat would taste bland.

"It might be hard for others, but Little Yuan had just finished the Three Fragrance to the Ocean not long ago. Yes, it's the dish recorded in Song Za Zu, and he reached 100% completion on it," Zhou Shijie declared with a wide smile.

"Isn't that only a dish that exists in legends?" Zhang Yan cried out.

"Song Za Zu? Is that some ancient food menu?" Hu Yue asked as he had never heard of the name.

"No. It's a general knowledge book, and within, only the flavor, appearance, and name of the dish was recorded. It's quite a pity. But Little Yuan took only three days of research to recreate it," Zhou Shijie said expressionlessly.

"It is obvious you are being smug here..." Hu Yue remarked inwardly as Zhou Shijie's bragging had caused him to choke on his own words.

"Can you bully others just because you have talent?" Zhang Yan was looking at Yuan Zhou with an odd gaze.

That's right. That was too excessive. A dish that only its name was recorded had been recreated after only three days of research.

"It is his responsibility to research about cooking. There's nothing worth praising him about that. Don't make him grow smug after hearing the praises," Lee Yanyi said sternly.

"Hoho, can you stop showing off?" Hu Yue muttered inwardly.

"Recreating a dish from the name alone? That is a remarkable achievement. Is the humility shown only an act?" Hu Yue thought to himself, his gaze fixed on Yuan Zhou.

Of course, he had still decided to come give Yuan Zhou an interview after this.

Zhou Shijie had praised Yuan Zhou in a smart manner this time, causing everyone to fall into silence. Inwardly, Ma Cheng was already filled with admiration.

As for Zhao Xin, as usual, he repeated to himself inwardly, "I am not listening. Not listening to the bastard."

"Third dish, Mapo Tofu. Enjoy your meal," Yuan Zhou served the third dish and broke the silence that had fallen.

The Mapo Tofu was served on a flat square plate, the blocks of tofu were all arranged neatly.

The side of the tofu facing the eaters gave off a feeling that it was white and exquisite, looking like a piece of jade. As for the other side that was not facing the eaters, it was covered by a layer of red, giving the tofu a red and glossy look. On top of the tofu, garlic shoots were spread about.

And in between the blocks of tofu, reddish-gold mincemeat was scattered everywhere, perfectly blending in amid the tofu pieces.

And if one paid more attention, one would be able to see some brown dots on the tofu. Those were the Sichuan peppers sprinkled by Yuan Zhou.

It was precisely the Sichuan pepper that had brought life to this dish, giving it an intense aroma that waffled about in the air.

"It looks good," Lee Yanyi remarked.

"But we can only judge after eating it," Zhang Yan no longer held back and immediately picked up his chopsticks.

"That's right. We should judge after eating," Hu Yue nodded and prepared to eat as well.