Chapter 44a: Looking for Bones in an Egg (Nitpicking)
This was a popular Chinese perch dish steamed in half red and half green broth. The soup emanated a dense fragrance. The garnish included red peppers and delicate green scallions. The appearance warmed the heart and delighted the eyes, with faint wisps of steam still rising from it. Luo Qing Luan used chopsticks to lightly pick up a piece of fish near its air bladder and sent it to her mouth for a taste. As expected, she frowned again.
As if she had to force herself to swallow it down, she glanced at the already somewhat embarrassed Nangong Qing and said, “Your Highness, I’m afraid that this fish isn’t fresh. It’s a little……forget it. It’s better not to eat, the smell is not so good.”
Seeing this expression of hers, having only eaten a bite, yet no longer willing to even have another taste, how could the food only be ‘smell not so good’? He’s afraid the food must be unpalatable! Hearing this, Manager Qiao started sweating bullets.
Expression darkening, Nangong Qing was angry now. “Manager Qiao, so be it if one dish wasn’t good. Now, even the second dish is unpalatable. Are you wanting me to tear your sign board to pieces?”
This was the first time that he invited a young lady he admired for a meal, yet it was handled like this. How’s he going to show off his stately crown prince face? In the past, he even thought that Moon Encounter Pavilion’s food was pretty good. Looking at things now……if they ruin his important date, he’ll have to tear down this place, no less!
“Your Highness, please quell your anger. Even if this commoner has the courage to reach heaven, I still won’t dare to mess around. These are truly all ingredients which we received early this morning, then prepared with meticulous cooking methods by the grand chefs……how can they be……how can they be……” Manager Qiao just about wanted to cry. He was so terrified that he trembled from head to toes.
“Forget it, Your Highness, there are still so many dishes here, they can’t be all bad.” Luo Qing Luan smiled with difficulty, pretending to put on an appearance of not minding. She then straightforwardly had Manager Qiao leave, to avoid Nangong Qing getting angry at him again once she started speaking again.
“Hurry and get lost!” Nangong Qing shouted.
“Yes, yes.” As if he’d received amnesty, Manager Qiao withdrew, scared witless.
When only two people were left in the private room, Nangong Qing’s expression finally changed and he smiled. “Miss Luo, don’t force yourself, if it doesn’t taste good. Try something else. I’ve visited this Moon Encounter Pavilion before and felt that it’s acceptable, yet why today……”
In order to avoid further problems, he straightforwardly tasted the dishes first. After looking at some tens of dishes around them, Nangong Qing tasted Fragrant Tea Chicken and felt that it tasted pretty good, before suggesting to Luo Qing Luan, “Miss Luo, this dish is also quite famous at Moon Encounter Pavilion. I tried it and there’s no problem. Once in the mouth, it transforms, aromatic, tender, delicious. Will you give it a try?”
Having just finished talking, he added, “I’ve already tasted it and guarantee that there’s no problem. You’ll like it for sure.”
Actually, he was feeling nervous. Nangong Qing had not felt like this in a long time.
When did he ever felt like this before? Even when he was together with those young girls who admired him, no matter what they did, he’d always remaine
If the first time eating with him left her dissatisfied, how could their future be mentioned?
“Since Your Highness say that it’s good, then it must be good.” Luo Qing Luan casually agreed. She was nitpicking deliberately. How could she not find an excuse? With only a taste, even though she didn’t say that it tasted bad, she nevertheless shook her head and sighed in solemnly.
Nangong Qing’s heartbeat nearly stopped. What’s up again? He already tasted it himself and there was no problem!
“Luo, Miss Luo, actually……but what problem is there?” If something’s truly amiss again, he simply wanted to have people smash this Moon Encounter Pavilion to ruins! Abominable. Didn’t he merely want to properly invite a young woman who he admired for a meal? Unexpectedly……rage couldn’t help but rose again, but Manager Qiao wasn’t there, so there’s no way for him to blow up. Nangong Qing could only endure while he even had to put up a smile.
Luo Qing Luan creased her eyebrows. She hesitated for a moment before speaking softly. “Your Highness invited me for a meal, so I should thank you. It’s just that……” She smiled apologetically, appearing as if she was very regretful. “Your Highness praised Moon Encounter Pavilion so much previously. Maybe that raised my expectations too much. Actually, these dishes can be considered not bad if they were served at other restaurants. It’s just a pity……”
“This is called the higher the expectations, the worse the disappointment.”
After a soft sigh, her fair and delicate appearance carried a trace of gloominess, as if a cloud had covered up the moonlight. Failing to see her smiling expression again immediately made Nangong Qing very embarrassed, as he blamed himself endlessly.
Picking up a piece of Fragrant Tea again, Luo Qing Lu stated unenthusiastically, “For genuinely delicious Fragrant Tea Chicken, no matter whether it’s the choice of tea, or the chicken, both are vitally important. If some common tea leaves are randomly picked, or if the chicken has been raised for two or three years, the flavor of the resultant dish will absolutely be different.”
“The tea leaves must be picked among newly sprouted ones during sunny spring days in March. Only the tips of the sprouts should be used. After stir-frying carefully, cure them over a fire, then boil them in the best spring water from a snow mountain to produce tea water. As for the chicken, it can’t be over one year old. The best ones should be about ten months old. Cook it well in this tea water, so that the fragrance of the tea permeates completely into it.”
As she spoke, Luo Qing Luan watched the already somewhat shocked Nangong Qing. Her expression didn’t change in the least, as if she was speaking about something extremely ordinary. Her red lips opened gently. Like a connoisseur who had tasted delicacies from all over the world, she continued docilely. “Cooking the chicken in this way is merely the first step. When the dish is presented, the meat still needed to be sliced from the bones. It slice can only be as big as about one point three inches. The thickness needs to be uniform. If it’s too thick, the flavor can’t be thoroughly absorbed. If it’s too thin, the texture won’t be good. Look, Your Highness, this Fragrant Tea Chicken is cut into cubes. Even the bones haven’t been removed. Eating it like this, not only is it annoying, it’s also unrefined. This dish has already fallen to the lowest level. As for this most critical dipping sauce, sigh…..if we’re really particular, then this Fragrant Tea Chicken really shouldn’t be eaten. Surprisingly, the Moon Encounter Pavilion is proclaiming this to be their signature dish.”