Chapter 238: That Bowl of Egg-Fried Charcoal
Translator: E.3.3. Editor: Vermillion
A weird odor drifted out of the kitchen, smelling like something half-burnt and faintly bitter. It was a scent that put a frown on everyone's face.
"Ah, my lassie, why are you in such a sorry state?" Grandpa Ouyang felt his heart ache when he saw Ouyang Xiaoyi charging out of the kitchen covered in ashes.
But Ouyang Xiaoyi's eyes were sparkling. They shone brightly as excitement flickered across her eyes.
She wiped off the ashen marks from her face, chuckled, and then raised the porcelain plate in her hands up to Grandpa Ouyang's nose. "Grandpa, come here and have a taste. This is my first time cooking Egg-Fried Rice!" She said excitedly.
"Ah, sure thing, let your grandpa give it a try." Grandpa Ouyang patted Ouyang Xiaoyi's head fondly with loving eyes. He took over the porcelain spoon handed to him by a nearby maid and glanced at the porcelain plate that Ouyang Xiaoyi shoved before his eyes with hesitation.
On the porcelain plate sat a lump of steaming... um, oddly colored... rice. The grains of rice gave off a blackish hue, and somewhere amidst that were also traces of red. A huge slab of over-cooked egg was mixed within the rice, coming off as rather eye-catching.
What was this? Grandpa Ouyang was baffled. The hand holding his porcelain spoon quivered slightly.
"A typical Egg-Fried Rice demands that every grain of rice comes with a certain amount of egg. You have chosen a convenient path here, an entire slab of egg with a huge lump of rice. More importantly...why was the color of this rice so peculiar?"
Grandpa's long beard shook a little as he swallowed a mouthful of saliva.
"Grandpa... have a taste! Go on!" Ouyang Xiaoyi was somehow very much confident in herself as she egged him on.
"Of course. Since this is the first time my little lassie has cooked a dish, then... grandpa shall have a bite. Just one though." Grandpa Ouyang's heart even trembled as he dug up a spoonful of rice. With a stealthy shake of the hand, nearly a third of the content fell out of the spoon. That move, alas, went unnoticed.
He brought the spoon before his nose and gave it a sniff. In that very instant, a burnt, pungent smell gushed forward. Grandpa Ouyang's lips trembled, he felt a dreadful sensation inside. "Lassie...Grandpa is really going to eat it now." Grandpa Ouyang flared his nostril and announced.
"Grandpa! I'm waiting to win Owner Bu over with this Egg-Fried Rice!" Ouyang Xiaoyi wiped her face again and declared with the utmost confidence.
Grandpa Ouyang could only force a smile. Win him over? Murdering Owner Bu was more like it...
How satirical would it be if Owner Bu, having survived an eighth grade War-God, ended up poisoned to death by her bowl of Egg-Fried Rice.
"Eat!" Ouyang Xiaoyi glared.
Grandpa Ouyang immediately poured the entire spoon of Egg-Fried Rice into his mouth.
All of a sudden, the colors from Grandpa Ouyang's face drained. His complexion changed three times in a single breath, turning from white to red, and then from red to purple, and finally from purple to black.
Grandpa Ouyang, with watered eyes, summoned up great courage and chewed the food ferociously. Loud crispy sounds echoed from his mouth, much like the noise of hard rocks colliding into each other.
In this very moment, Grandpa Ouyang's heart was filled with all sorts of mixed feelings. It was much like an assortment of sauces getting knocked over and spilling everywhere. He could taste astringency, bitterness, numbness, and even a reeking stink...
The only one missing was savoriness!
There was simply nobody else who could cook up an Egg-Fried Rice like this! You are the one and only... my lassie!
Grandpa Ouyang's entire body trembled. He took several steps back, took a deep breath, and finally forced himself to swallow the Egg-Fried Rice in his mouth.
"How is it? How is the taste?" Ouyang Xiaoyi asked curiously.
"Oh, a simply electrifying experience. It is like burning flames once down your stomach. After swallowing, I felt as if I have risen from the ashes. You have fully inherited this gift of cooking from your father." Grandpa Ouyang gave his critique with a blank face.
Ouyang Zongheng was dumbstruck, very much puzzled at what his father just said.
"My lassie, grandpa is tired. I'm afraid I'll have to go get some rest. Let your father and brothers have a taste and ask for their feedback." Grandpa Ouyang wrinkled his face and suggested with an almost weeping tone.
Ouyang Xiaoyi felt more excited than ever. It seemed like her Egg-Fried Rice turned out pretty great. Grandpa's review was uplifting! Who would have thought he could feel completely revived after eating her food.
Grandpa Ouyang was already nowhere to be seen when she looked up again. Xiaoyi was baffled, but instantly turned her attention towards Ouyang Zongheng and the three Ouyang barbarians.
This was meant to be a sleepless night. The Ouyang Quarter stayed brightly lit as people ran back and forth between the bedroom and bathroom all night long...
A couple more small explosions erupted in the kitchen. Smoke lingered about as weird scents drifted out.
The morning sun had finally shot across the horizon, exuding warm rays of light. It appeared to have resurrected the entire earth, as green grass sprouted from the fields right outside of the Imperial City. After a long winter's sleep, they had finally grown with great vitality, embracing the cool spring breeze.
The streets of the Imperial City were bustling with pedestrians as street vendors peddled their goods with loud hollers.
In the small alleyway, rested Fang Fang's Little Store.
Bu Fang pulled open his doors and enjoyed the cool, comforting morning air. He couldn't help but draw in a deep breath, and then stretched out his body.
"Blacky, time for breakfast." Bu Fang returned to the kitchen and then came out with a plate of Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs, placing it in front of Blacky.
He pulled over a chair for himself and sat by the door, gazing at the floating clouds in the sky with great leisure.
Time was seemingly frozen at this moment. Bu Fang could only hear the faint chewing sounds of that lazy Blacky wolfing down its Sweet 'n' Sour Ribs.
Leisure moments like these were always so short-lived. Once the first costumer stepped in, the store began its day of busy business.
An aromatic, steaming hot Golden Shumai was carried out. Sauce trickled down the pieces of shumai, causing one to salivate.
Lees Fish, drenched with the fragrance of brewed wine, was also carried out by Bu Fang and placed on the table. This was a dish that easily stirred everyone's appetite.
The fame of Fang Fang's Little Store had spread throughout the entire Imperial City. Many people knew of this mystical store. Not only did it have tasty gourmet delicacies and spectacular fine wine, it also had impressive strength.
Cheerful footsteps echoed in the alleyway, tap tap tap.
Today, Ouyang Xiaoyi was dressed in a pink silk dress that made her look like she floated in the air while running. Her delicate face was flushing as she blinked her beautiful eyes. One could tell she was brimming with excitement.
In her arms was a red wood food container. Ouyang Xiaoyi treated it like a precious treasure. Her gaze landed on the container from time to time in the most adorable manner.
"Smelly boss, I'm here!" Ouyang Xiaoyi shouted loudly the moment she stepped into the store.
The customers of the store were already familiar with Xiaoyi and all greeted her with friendly smiles. Ouyang Xiaoyi also beamed back at them. When someone asked about her food container out of curiosity, she merely tilted her nose and wagged her fingers mysteriously.
"This is a secret."
Bu Fang walked out of the kitchen and cast a puzzled look at Ouyang Xiaoyi. When he caught sight of the food container in her hands, his face instantly froze.
"Surely this lassie didn't actually go back and cook up an Egg-Fried Rice..." Bu Fang had on a poker face. However, reminded of the system's evaluation of Ouyang Xiaoyi's cooking talent, he suddenly had a very bad feeling.
"Smelly boss! You said if my Egg-Fried Rice could conquer your taste buds, you will take me as a chef's apprentice!" Ouyang Xiaoyi squinted her eyes and giggled delightfully.
This was something that needed much more deliberation... Bu Fang wanted to tell her this. However, he tilted his head, gave it another thought, and nodded.
"My Egg-Fried Rice is in this very food container! Smelly boss, don't you want to have a bite?" Ouyang Xiaoyi patted the red wood food container in her hands, then crooked her finger at Bu Fang with a smile.
The customers nearby became instantly intrigued. Was this Ouyang lassie trying to challenge Owner Bu's cooking?
"Owner Bu, our orders can wait. Let's have a taste of Xiaoyi's food first." Someone proposed.
Bu Fang, who was just looking for an excuse to turn her down, rolled his eyes at that customer.
Alas, Bu Fang had to comply with her request.
Ouyang Xiaoyi's eyes sparked and as she placed the food container on the table. She uncovered the lid under numerous pairs of curious eyes.
In that very moment, an awful pungent odor drifted out of the box.
The scent was extremely strong, so pervasive that even the fragrance of countless gourmet dishes in the store couldn't overpower this unparalleled smell. Now that was frightening.
The customers' eyes widened. What the hell was this? Why could there be such an awful smell in the world?
The faces of many customers darkened. They all stepped back and took deep breaths.
Bu Fang's face froze. There was definitely an ugly shade spread across his complexion.
However, Ouyang Xiaoyi didn't seem to notice the bewildered facial expressions of those around her. She carefully took out the plate of Egg-Fried Charcoal from the food container...
Bu Fang's eyes narrowed. His heart shuddered as he gulped down a mouthful of saliva.
Lassie... judging by the looks of this dish, you are already a rising star in the field of dark cuisine-or in other others, terrible food. Can we stop... with this nonsense?