Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
“It looks good and the original flavor is already so good. I wonder how’s the spicy flavor,” Wang Xiang said with his chopsticks stuffed into his mouth in satisfaction.
That’s right. As spoken by Wang Xiang, there were two flavors to this dish of Yuan Zhou. The part soaked in the red gravy was spicy while the upper part contained the original flavor that was of authentic pure crab with no additional flavorings added to it.
More importantly, the two flavors did not interfere with each other, both coexisting in harmony.
The moment the spicy crab entered his mouth, the spiciness was immediately wrapped around his tongue as the outer layer of the crab slowly melted to reveal the tender flesh within. At this time, a sweet and refreshing flavor slowly filled his mouth.
Wang Xiang started chewing.
When he started chewing, the meat and the flavors blended together once again. Amid the spiciness was a fragrance one could not ignore while the crab meat emitted a fresh and sweet flavor. The richness of the flavor caused Wang Xiang to be unable to stop his mouth.
In a way, this spicy crab meat was extremely tyrannical, monopolizing all his taste buds, not allowing one to focus on anything else.
“Hiss, fantastic, delicious,” Wang Xiang lamented.
“I didn’t even know Dungeness Crabs could be so delicious,” said Bai Xiaoxiao.
Bai Xiaoxiao was a seafood tycoon, one who had tasted a myriad of seafood. Yet when he ate Yuan Zhou’s Dungeness Crab, he felt like all the seafood he had eaten in the past were frauds.
“It’s as fresh and tender as lake crabs, also as springy and chewy as seawater crabs. The meat is smooth, tender, and carries with it a trace of the roe’s flavor. It is truly amazing,” said Zhang Yan. “I wonder how he prepared this dish.”
“Too bad the portion is not bigger,” said Zhang Yan.
“You can’t blame me for this. You are all aware of the size of the crabs I supplied,” Bai Xiaoxiao clarified.
When they heard that, they looked at the shell on the plate. The shell was even larger than an adult male’s fist. It was quite large for a crab.
The meat of a crab this size would probably be about a catty in weight.
In the blink of an eye, only the shell was left.
“Wait, have we even eaten that much meat?” They started feeling doubtful.
But the next moment, they all answered their own question: “Head Chef Yuan must have reduced the portion. How is this portion enough for four adult males? We are all healthy adult males. It is expected that we can eat more.”
That’s right. They had completely forgotten that they had eaten six courses of dishes earlier.
“Cough, next dish. Rolling Crab Dumpling,” said Zhou Shijie with a cough.
“Yes, time to try the final dish,” said Zhang Yan with a nod. He stopped thinking about the portion of Yuan Zhou’s dish as there was still work to be done.
“Um,” Wang Xiang was busy thinking of visiting Yuan Zhou’s restaurant after the match.
“Luckily, Head Chef Yuan is going back to open his restaurant after the match. How dedicated,” Wang Xiang rejoiced.
He had completely forgotten how earlier, he was the one who thought Yuan Zhou to be disrespectful of the match for opening his restaurant after the match. After all, cooking wasn’t a simple task, let alone a cooking match that required one’s full attention.
“I wonder when will I be able to get some king crabs. A single king crab will probably be enough for me,” thought Bai Xiaoxiao as he recalled the yearly king crab auction.
As a seafood tycoon, Bai Xiaoxiao was aware that each year when the Dungeness Crab’s season arrived, some king crabs would be put up for auction as well. Last year, a king crab weighing about five catties was auctioned.
“Your turn, Head Chef Zuo,” Chef Li reminded.
“Um,” Head Chef Zuo focused on the judges.
“Everything will be fine. Don’t forget, we used chicken stock to harmonize the fishy smell and the roughness of this crab,” said Ao Pi.
For this dish, the crab was dismantled, with the meat being turned into pearl-like tiny dumplings that surrounded the reddish-gold shell. Red gravy was sprinkled on the crab, while duck tongues were arranged in the shape of a peach blossom, serving as the decoration for this dish.
There was also a crab sculpted of carrot facing the actual crab. The entire dish looked like a painting of peach blossom petals falling on pearls, with two crabs facing each other to the side.
From the looks, this seemed to be an excellent dish. Yuan Zhou’s decoration was simple and artistic while this dish was splendid and magnificent. In terms of decorations alone, neither dish was better than the other.
This dish was after all jointly prepared by two veteran chefs. It was to be expected that the dish would look good.
“One each,” Zhou Shijie said.
The moment he said that, they reached out towards the dish.
The crab dumplings were simmered in chicken stock before a spicy gravy was poured on top of the dumplings. Thus, the dish had a unique taste.
The chicken stock had successfully suppressed the overly strong flavor of the crab, while the spiciness acting as an agent to enrich the flavor of the crab.
When one ate the duck tongue together with the crab dumplings, the chewiness increased. That was, in fact, quite an interesting experience.
But of course, to enjoy this dish, one had to forget about Yuan Zhou’s Big Crabs.
An example of what would happen when one compared the two as follows:
“Um, not bad,” Wang Xiang said sincerely.
“Decent,” Bai Xiaoxiao muttered blankly, evidently still thinking about king crab.
By the time they were all done, Zhou Shijie spoke, “Since everyone is done, let’s proceed to the grading segment.”
“Ok,” Zhang Yan nodded as he followed Zhou Shijie back to where their seats were.
“The judges have all returned to their seats. Looks like they are ready to grade,” narrated the host.
“Let us take a five-minute break. After five minutes, we will announce the result,” said the host before retreating to get a drink.
After all, acting as a nonexistent yet talkative host was very tiring.
“Hu, finally we get to rest,” the people from the seafood alliance breathed out in relief.
“Yeah. I was quite nervous,” said another person. These people were the sous-chefs brought here by the chefs of the seafood alliance.
“In five minutes, there will probably be a new exemplary restaurant,” said Chef Li confidently as he looked at Bai Xiaoxiao and Wang Xiang who were resting silently with their eyes shut.
“Looks like everything is fine,” Ao Pi got excited as he started imagining Yuan Zhou apologizing to him.
He felt as excited as the first time he held a girl’s hand.
“What do you think?” Head Chef Zuo asked Liu Jie when he saw that Chef Li and Ao Pi were both too busy daydreaming.
“No idea, but I’m curious how many points my squid will get,” Liu Jie was still unhappy about the fact that his squid wasn’t finished by the judges.
Head Chef Zuo did not continue asking. He raised his head and looked at Yuan Zhou.
“Can we win?” Head Chef Zuo asked himself.
Both the red and blue sides were waiting for the result. Zhou Shijie and the others would whisper with each other occasionally. Towards the end of the five minutes break, their discussion seemed to be getting more intense.
When Chef Li saw this, he thought that Yuan Zhou was quite capable after all. Since the judges were spending that much time in discussion, it was proof that the gap between them wasn’t that large. If the gap was actually large, the judges would have reached a decision instantly. There would be no need for such intense discussion.
If Yuan Zhou could make such excellent seafood when he wasn’t that good in seafood, his other dishes would definitely be very good as well.
“Luckily, I selected seafood as the theme. If it was a different theme, victory might not be so certain,” Chef Li was still thinking very highly of himself.
While Chef Li was feeling proud of himself, the break was over and the judges ended their discussion.
“Ok, the break is over. The judges must have reached a result as well. Let us announce the result,” said the host who had appeared just in time.
“Can we know the result now?” the host asked Zhou Shijie and Zhang Yan.
“Yes,” Zhou Shijie replied.
“Good. Let us start with the first course dishes. Please grade the seafood alliance’s dish,” said the host, starting from the seafood alliance.