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Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Speaking of which, the old dough was actually a small piece of dough first taken from the kneaded dough and then kept well to be reused in the future. Next time, when another dough was fermented with the preserved dough, people would take another piece down from it and continued keeping it.
The process would repeat again and again. After that, the yeast in this dough would become more and more mature. Furthermore, they were all quite natural. The dough that was fermented with them would naturally be light and fluffy, tasting extraordinary.
And the Thousand Thread Mantou was a dish that needed that kind of mouthfeel. That was the reason why Yuan Zhou would choose the old dough. Meanwhile, the system had given him a surprise. It was, surprisingly, a piece of old dough left over by the several former hosts.
That surprised Yuan Zhou more. Perhaps, he realized something about the several former hosts from this old dough.
There is an old saying, “You get what you pay for”. Compared with the other foods in Yuan Zhou’s restaurant, the ingredients used for Thousand Layer Mantou were much simpler. Of course, the wheat flour used was still top-grade. As for the old dough, it was naturally not a common thing since it was left over by the several former hosts.
More importantly, Thousand Thread Mantou mainly depended on the skills of kneading dough. It was all in the control of the chef’s hands whether it tasted chewy or nice. By ordering this complicated dish, Liu Zhang wanted to witness Yuan Zhou’s craftsmanship to its largest extent.
“Boss Yuan is really a capable man.” Liu Zhang had been watching Yuan Zhou’s actions all along. Actually, it was very difficult to recognize the taste of the dish from his actions, but there was one thing he could tell. Yuan Zhou’s actions were neater and tidier than his.
“Boss Yuan is always so awesome. Little Hai is wild and intractable and would never submit to anybody. But he once said that only Yuan Zhou alone could make him submit.” Zheng Jiawei immediately answered Liu Zhang.
Liu Zhang knew little about drawing and thus he didn’t know who was Wu Hai, but he could perceive Wu Hai wasn’t a simple person.
Zheng Jiawei and Liu Zhang were seated together now. Wu Hai suddenly had an inspiration and went back to draw his painting. Before he left, he especially instructed Zheng Jiawei to entertain Liu Zhang well. And more importantly, he paid for the meal.
With regard to anything entrusted by Wu Hai, Zheng Jiawei always tried to finish it perfectly. Therefore, Zheng Jiawei and Liu Zhang were seated together now.
Based on his actions, Liu Zhang gave Yuan Zhou a full score. Now, he was only waiting for the taste.
It was quite boisterous in the restaurant. Outside, a 17 or 18-year-old young man walked to the money box at the door and looked around carefully. Sometimes, he sat by the long bench and seemed to observe the surroundings.
It was 8 p.m., but there were still many people waiting in line outside Yuan Zhou’s restaurant. The young man stood beside the money box for ten minutes until no one looked toward him. With lightning speed, he took out 4RMB from the money box and immediately left quickly without any hesitation.
“Here’s your Thousand Thread Mantou. Please take your time and enjoy the meal.” Zhou Jia carried a steamer of Mantou to them.
The steamer was naturally weaved with the emerald green bamboo splits. As soon as it was uncovered, the hot gas curled upwards from the inside and a hint of fragrance leaked out.
“Oh, the fragrance is good.” Liu Zhang immediately became interested when he smelled the fragrance. Then, he took up his chopsticks and prepared to eat.
The Thousand Thread Mantou on the bamboo steamer wasn’t big and was only as large as half of a girl’s palm. It was rectangular with a little curve at the top, which seemed to have some luminous luster.
If examined carefully, one could realize the Mantou was not very smooth as if it were connected bit by bit.
“There really are thousands of threads.” Liu Zhang looked at the mantou in front of him and gasped in admiration.
Then, Liu Zhang bit it. The mantou directly collapsed but regain its shape slowly. With the bitten surface exposed to him, he could clearly see the mantou was really connected by thread-like wheat.
Having bitten off a piece of Mantou, Liu Zhang couldn’t help closing his eyes and enjoying the taste in his mouth.
Once the Mantou entered his mouth, it immediately melted into threads and dispersed in his mouth, just like its name “Thousand-thread” indicated. Meanwhile, there was also a rich fragrance of lard filling his mouth. Even if he didn’t chew it, the Mantou would still slowly melt.
“Authentic! Awesome!” After saying the several words, Liu Zhang ate up the remaining half between his chopsticks at once.
This time, he directly began to chew it carefully and the Mantou in his mouth also had a new mouthfeel of softness along with a little chewiness. Due to the “thousand threads”, it wasn’t sticky at all while being chewed, but instead, it was very fluffy. What’s more, the lard added inside also melted into the Mantou perfectly.
“The more it’s chewed, the more fragrant it becomes. It tastes both soft and chewy. Furthermore, you can chew it or let it melt by itself. Besides that, it won’t choke the throat and even has a little sweetness of wheat. How delicious it is!” Liu Zhang nodded his head contentedly.
“The only defect is that there are only four Mantous in each steamer. It’s too little.” Liu Zhang couldn’t help shaking his head. Meanwhile, he picked up another Mantou and stuffed it into his mouth with a satisfied expression.
Seeing Liu Zhang eat so blissfully, even Zheng Jiawei who had little interest in eating couldn’t help looking towards him, let alone the other foodies. They were all looking at him expectantly and waiting for his comments.
As soon as Liu Zhang raised his head, he saw the gaze of these people. Then, he smiled and opened his mouth.
“I also know many masters of cooked wheaten food and it’s not my first time eating the Thousand Thread Mantou, either…” Liu Zhang suddenly stopped when he talked halfway. No people knew if he did it on purpose, but he continued on another subject, “For the time being, I think I’ve taken advantage of Boss Yuan by exchanging the liver raw for this dinner.”
During the process, 7 or 8 customers had added a serving of Thousand Thread Mantou to their dinner. This group of foodies just wavered easily and didn’t have a firm resolution.
After he ate up all the Thousand Thread Mantou, Liu Zhang mentioned a matter, “Boss Yuan, I know a friend who’s quite good at cooked wheaten food. I have invited him to Chengdu for fun for quite a few times, but never succeeded. Can I tell him about this matter? I think he’ll definitely agree to come since he’s very interested in cooked wheaten food.”
He didn’t organize his words very well. Maybe he was too happy because he thought of this good idea and thus spoke disorderly. However, Yuan Zhou still roughly understood what he meant. As far as he understood, Liu Zhang intended to use the 100 Styles of Mantou in Yuan Zhou’s restaurant to tempt his old friend to come to Chengdu for fun.
To Yuan Zhou’s surprise, his delicacies could become the reason why people came to another city, of which, Yuan Zhou had always been proud of. Therefore, he didn’t say anything about Liu Zhang’s proposal and just agreed.
“Okay, but I’m only good at a few cooked wheaten foods,” Yuan Zhou thought for a while and then said directly.
“Haha. These are quite enough for us,” Liu Zhang burst into laughter first and then said gratefully.
“Thank you so much. Thanks to your culinary skills, I can get together again with my old friend.” There appeared a big smile on Liu Zhang’s face.
Actually, nice food was the best pretext to invite old friends for a reunion. Liu Zhang and that old friend also had stories. However, Yuan Zhou didn’t ask about anything because there were still several servings of Thousand Thread Mantou that needed to be cooked by him.
Yuan Zhou felt he was becoming a nocturnal creature slowly and gradually. He was more spirited at night than during the daytime. After dinnertime, he still wanted to be active though he was fairly tired.
“Boss Yuan, take the money back. Little Hai told me that he would treat Master Liu to the meal.”
Zheng Jiawei and Yuan Zhou were modestly declining the money. These kinds of scenarios were quite common. One wanted to stuff the money into the other’s pocket while the other didn’t want to accept it.
“I made an agreement with Wu Hai today. He would give me the money first and after the meal, I would return it back to him.” Yuan Zhou explained seriously. He tried to return the money to Zheng Jiawei many times, but all failed. He really had no idea why this seemingly “weak” man suddenly had so much physical strength.
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