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931 Understanding Life

 "That's right. Judge after eating," Ma Cheng also stopped holding back and picked up his chopsticks.

This was the final dish. If he was still holding back, there would be nothing else for him to eat.

Action spoke louder than words. While they were still talking, Zhou Shijie had already reached for the tofu with his chopsticks.

"The tofu is in perfect shape. The shape is maintained despite the tofu's softness," Zhou Shijie nodded while studying the tofu he had picked up.

"The plate is quite interesting as well," Lee Yanyi remarked as well after picking up a piece of tofu.

Normally, as the Mapo Tofu was a dish with a lot of sauce, people would serve it in a bowl to avoid the overflow of sauce.

As for Yuan Zhou, he used a plate with a flat bottom. With this, his remarkable work on this dish was showcased as the sauce was wrapped around the tofu. Apart from the portion of the tofu he had intentionally left white, the other part of the tofu were wrapped by the glossy red sauce.

The sauce was red, the tofu was white, the garlic shoots were green, the minced beef was reddish-gold, and the plate was completely white. The entire dish looked refreshing and delicious, looking extremely appetizing.

While Zhou Shijie and Lee Yanyi were busy studying the tofu they had picked up, Zhang Yan had directly stuffed the tofu into his mouth.

Zhang Yan could not be bothered with anything else and directly stuffed the tofu into his mouth.

"Hot," Zhang Yan couldn't help himself but to blurt this word out.

That's right. The first sensation they felt when the tofu entered their mouths was hot. The tofu looked tender and refreshing, not appearing hot at all. But the moment Zhang Yan ate it, his tongue quivered at how hot it was.

While his tongue was still feeling the scalding heat, the sauce around the tofu spread in his mouth. The sauce was made from Pixian Soy Bean Sauce, chili oil, and black bean. The fragrance of beef could also be tasted from it.

At the same time, the flavor of the Sichuan pepper also exploded. It was as if there was a party going on in his mouth as the myriad flavors intermingled.

Numbness, spicy, hot, fragrance, tenderness, salty, everything erupted and flooded Zhang Yan's taste buds, causing him to be engrossed in the world of myriad flavors.

"Delicious," Zhang Yan blurted again before he started chewing.

When he picked the tofu up with his chopsticks, the tofu felt quite springy but the moment he chomped down on it, the tofu was crushed, giving him a feeling the tofu was so tender he did not know how he should start eating it.

But since the tofu was immediately crushed, it blended perfectly with the myriad flavors currently within his mouth, giving off a feeling of completion.

"This is how a Mapo Tofu should be. I feel like my taste buds have been brought alive," Zhang Yan remarked.

"Indeed. But I feel like adding the minced beef meat will be more appropriate," commented Hu Yue.

"Let me give it a try," Zhang Yan could no longer be bothered about talent. The only thing he had in his mind was to fully explore the delicacy before him.

This time, Zhang Yan had also intentionally picked up some minced beef meat as well and ate it together with a piece of tofu.

"Indeed," Zhang Yan immediately understood Hu Yue's meaning the moment the tofu entered his mouth.

Hu Yue was right. The tofu was tender and salty, and the sauce gave it a hot and numbing aroma, and when the minced beef meat was added into the mix, it was like a finishing touch had been added to the tofu to bring all the flavors to life.

It was like the flavors had gone alive with a commander leading them, giving his taste buds the pinnacle of enjoyment.

And just like that, they finished the tofu before they knew it. Even as the tofu was finished, they felt like they still wanted more.

"A Mapo Tofu with all eight flavors. Truly splendid," Lee Yanyi remarked.

"Boss Yuan is indeed worthy of his reputation. A normal everyday dish like this has been turned into some sort of grand feast by him," Ma Cheng remarked honestly.

"Hot, numbing, and scalding. Indeed, it is delicious," compared to others, Zhao Xin's description was much shorter.

It was not that Zhao Xin did not want to praise it. But the taste was too good to the point he couldn't find the words to describe it.

"How is it? Am I right?" Zhou Shijie asked.

"Indeed, the taste is far better than what we commonly get," Hu Yue said with a nod while staring at the empty plate.

"Young," Zhang Yan said something which meaning was unclear. Even after eating, he was still unwilling to praise Yuan Zhou.

"Why? Are you still not satisfied? Although that lad, Yuan Zhou, is not perfect, but he was able to make a Mapo Tofu that is alive," Lee Yanyi said.

"Back then, life was given by the garlic shoots. When the dish was served, all the garlic shoots needed to stand erect, looking like they were raw and freshly plucked, only realizing they were cooked after you picked it up," Zhang Yan was evidently knowledgeable about Sichuan Cuisine as he was able to easily pinpoint the difference of Yuan Zhou's dish.

"Chairman Zhang is correct. But in this version of Mapo Tofu, the entirety of the dish has been given life. I feel like neither is better than the other," Zhou Shijie nodded as he agreed with what Zhang Yan said before voicing his opinion.

"I'm not going to touch on the definition of life, but there is something I am not satisfied with," Hu Yue said.

"Oh?" Lee Yanyi looked over with a strict expression.

From the looks of it, Lee Yanyi seemed like he was going to pounce on Hu Yue if the reasoning he gave was a bad one. After all, for him, Yuan Zhou's restaurant was a protected area.

Simply put, Lee Yanyi could criticize the restaurant himself but if others wanted to do so, they had to be qualified. Evidently, he did not think that Hu Yue was qualified to criticize the restaurant.

"We have been here for a while but not even a cup of tea has been served. And after three dishes, no rice have been served. I still haven't had my fill yet," Hu Yue grumbled pitifully.

Live hadn't been easy on him. At his age, he had to come this far and wasn't even served a glass of water. And then, no rice was served as well.

Hu Yue had seen with his own eyes how other customers had ordered rice. The grains of rice were sparkling and translucent, and with one look, it was obvious the rice was very good as well. They would be a perfect match with the dishes they ate earlier.

But now, no rice was served. And looking at Yuan Zhou, he did not seem to have any intention of serving them rice as well.

The moment Hu Yue said those words, Lee Yanyi fell into silence, and even Zhou Shijie was looking at Yuan Zhou.

Coincidentally, Yuan Zhou had just finished preparing a dish and was waiting for Zhou Jia to come take the dish.

While the multiple pairs of eyes filled with resentment were focused on him, he turned and walked over.

"Everyone from the appraisal team, I am terribly sorry. Based on the rules listed during the registration, it was only mentioned that three dishes have to be prepared. There was no mention of tea and rice. Therefore, none of those have been prepared," Yuan Zhou explained seriously.

That immediately caused them to choke on their resentment. That... seemed to be the case?

But whichever restaurant they went to would be hoping the appraisal team could eat more. Therefore, let alone tea and rice, even snacks were served. Nobody was as straight as Yuan Zhou who only served the listed three dishes.

"Which bastard set the rules? Couldn't he be more specific when writing it?" they started yelling inwardly.

Zhang Yan was already preparing to change the rules after this. He would make it clear that tea and rice must be served.