Chapter 62: Little Foodie
Holdmydonuts: I’m glad you like the recipe, sounds delicious!
“In reply to Your Royal Highness the ninth prince, we have reached Sir Song Tao’s estate.” Sheng Yao Shan leapt down from his horse and walked towards the carriage.
Wen Rou could not help herself as she took two steps forward.
“Miss, stand down, you’re not to advance!” A soldier yelled, withdrew his sword stopping Wen Rou.
“So fragrant, ah!” A young and immature voice cried out.
“Miss Wen!” Sheng Yao Shan had also noticed the smell of something being grilled, the moment he turned around, he was overjoyed to see Wen Rou standing by the road.
He still remembered that beguiling smell of Rou Jia Mo, as well as that simple and rustic goat soup and bread made by this very same Miss Wen!
The moment he saw Wen Rou, Sheng Yao Shan could not resist the urge to swallow.
“Greetings to General Sheng!” Wen Rou dipped her body in a quick bob.
“Elder Brother Yao Shan, who are you talking to?” The words were followed by a very round and plump little boy of about 5 or 6. He was clutching as the door of the carriage, half crouched to jump off.
“Ninth Prince, please be careful.” Sheng Yao Shan rushed forward quickly, shock registered on his face.
Suddenly, the fat little boy beamed and leaped off the carriage, arms spread out like a bird, jumping into Sheng Yao Shan’s embrace, and then slide down his body.
“Elder Brother Yao Shan. When can I grow as tall as you, ah!” The little boy leaned back to look up at him, a pair of large brown eyes pressed deep into his dumpling like face. His shining expression made him look adorable.
“Your royal highness is still young, as long as your royal highness practice martial arts and eat well, you will stand tall in the future,” Sheng Yao Shan said with a laugh.
That little fatty was Liu Xian, in her past life he was expelled from Great Zhou for helping her escape.
Looking at this little dumpling, Wen Rou’s heart became extremely tender.
In her past life, Wen Rou first became acquainted with this Liu Xian at the Qi Capital.
At that time, Wen Shouzheng’s whole family were on vacation at the city when they encountered the ninth prince who had sneaked out of the palace to play. Under Wen Rou’s skilful hands, a table full of sweet and sour meat dishes had captured Liu Xian’s heart and stomach.
Only, that Liu Xian was 12 years old, almost the same age as Wen Rou right now.
It was thanks to these delicious food that the ninth prince became fondly attached to this beautiful, honest, kind and wonderful Wen Rou.
This little fat dumpling could not see the dark schemes and plans within the imperial family, and did not have the slightest degree of suspicion or distrust.
Liu Xian has absolute trust that people who could create delicious food would never deliberately harm another creature.
Moreover, it was his beloved Elder Sister Wen Rou who was as lovely as an immortal!
Therefore, when the Incident happened to the Wen family, he was the first to plead with his emperor father.
He had actually knelt in front of the imperial study for half a day, crying snot and tears. In the end, he only managed to get his good, honest, kind-hearted, beautiful Elder Sister Wen Rou escape from being sold to the brothel. Only to be granted a length of white silk, to die a complete corpse!
Thanks to this pleading, the ninth prince was banished from the city, prevented from inheriting from the royal line and could never return to the capital forever!
When she thought of this, Wen Rou’s eyes filled with tears.
Right now, looking at Liu Xian’s 6 year old self, so round and fat like a sweet little dumpling! Wen Rou immediately fell in love with this little ninth prince.
Still so cute, so innocent, still only know how to eat, to think that he’s always been like this from an early age!
“Elder Brother Yao Shan, what’s that nice smell?” Liu Xian’s plump little nose twitched as he sniffed the air.”
“This… reporting to your highness the ninth prince, it’s better to greet Sir Song Tao first then have a meal, ba!” Sheng Yao Shan looked like he was going through some difficult negotiations.
In his heart, he was lamenting, “Aih! Miss Wen, ah, Miss Wen, I know your culinary skills are good, but why have you set up a stall here, ah! Moreover cooking such rich smelling food! Even if someone tried to set up a blockade, they could never block the smell of food from wafting over, ah!
“But, Elder Brother Yao Shan, Xian’er is hungry! Xian’er is all travel worn ang hungry!” Liu Xian said as he tugged at Sheng Yao Shan’s sleeves.
Around them, the thousands of military men could not resist their smiles. Whenever this ninth prince started to act spoilt, anyone would be defeated by his cuteness, ah!
Sheng Yao Shan’s expression became awkward, however he could not do anything to against the ninth prince. He could only lightly tug back his sleeves, knelt down and said, “Since that’s the case, then we’ll prepare some breakfast for your highness. Someone come, prepare some snacks and milk!” Sheng Yao Shan waved his hand over at his men.
“I don’t want those, I’m sick of those, I want that!” After getting the scent of that grilled food, how could Liu Xian even bear to look at his sweet snacks and milk. Following his little finger, it pointed straight at Wen Rou’s grill stand.
Right now, upon the hot coals were golden biscuits and skewered meat, just the right moment to eat.[When I say biscuits, I meant the American kind, a bit like scones]
Course salt and cumin had just been dusted on, the smell of it just pierced through one’s appetite!
“This… your highness the ninth prince, please forgive this one! This kind of coarse food from the roadside could never match up to high highness’ noble body!” Sheng Yao Shan objected.
“Elder Brother Yao Shan, are you saying those things can’t be eaten?” Liu Xian asked innocently.
“In reply to your highness, that’s correct!” Sheng Yao Shan said.
“If it can’t be eaten, why are they selling it on the streets?” Liu Xian’s fat little face tilted to the side.
“This… in reply to the ninth prince, it’s not that it can’t be eaten. It’s that his highness can’t eat it! It’s meant for the ordinary people to eat!” Sheng Yao Shan’s face has paled.
“If the people can eat it, then why can’t Xian’er eat it? Father emperor always said that we must always love the people and share their joys! Today, Xian’er wish to try to eat the people’s food!” Though Liu Xian was only 6 years old, his way with logic was pretty good.
After saying his piece, Liu Xian walked over to Wen Rou’s stall with his hands clasped behind his back in a grand manner and said, “How much for this, ah?”
Wen Rou repressed her laughter and said, “The grilled bread is 1 coin each, and the grilled meat is 3 coins per skewer!”
“Oh, so cheap. I’ll have 5 bread and 5 meat skewers! Elder Brother Yao Shan, pay up!” Liu Xian said as he stared fixedly at Wen Rou’s stall, not moving.
“This… ninth prince, 10 portions is too much. This general is concern that your stomach can’t take it. Moreover, as a newcomer to this place, your body might not be used to the water of this place, eating this might…” Sheng Yao Shan tried to persuade.
“En, what Elder Brother Yao Shan says makes sense. However, since Xian’er has already order it, I can’t just take back my words, ba! Emperor father always said that a gentlemen must always keeps his words? How about, Xian’er will eat two portions, Elder Brother Yao Shan help me to eat the rest, ba?” Liu Xian said as he looked craftily at Wen Rou.
“Yo~, whose child is this, ah! Such a small child but so sharp, as sharp as an old man, ah!” Madam Zhen laughed out loud at his words!
“You dare! This is the Great Zhou’s ninth prince, kneel at once!” One of the guards waved a big sword at her.
“This woman ought to die, this woman ought to die!” Madam Zhen was frightened as she threw herself to the ground, begging for mercy.
“Retreat! No need for such politeness!” Liu Xian said grandly.
“Do get up, those who are ignorant of the rules are not guilty. As long as you provide good food for Xian’er, Xian’er will acquit you from all sins!” Liu Xian said, as he gently helped Madam Zhen to her feet.
The ninth prince was such an affectionate and righteous person even at a young age! To be so decent at so small an age, if properly cultivated, they would surely grow up to be a pillar of society in the future! Wen Rou also got up from the ground, her heart praising the 6 year old Liu Xian in her heart.
“Your royal highness, the grilled bread and meat skewers are done!” In a short time Wen Rou had finished grilling and was now presenting the food one by one.
“Wa, it smell so nice!” Liu Xian lowered his head and inhaled the fragrance of meat and bread. He opened his mouth, ready to take a bite
“Ninth prince, a moment please.” Sheng Yao Shan ran up.
“Oh? What is it? Since the bread is still warm, Xian’er will eat first, I’m sure yours will be done soon!” Liu Xian squinted his eyes, he was really afraid that Sheng Yao Shan would snatch his grilled bread away!
“Ahem… the emperor has instructed this general, your highness must use these silver spoon for every meal to test for poison.” Sheng Yao Shan has a lot of black lines on his face as he pressed the spoon against the freshly grilled food.
When the spoon did not change colour, he then allowed Liu Xian to have the bread and grilled meat.
“Aih… having to go through this every time I eat, it really takes away one’s appetite!” Liu Xian shook his head resignedly.
However, the smell of the grilled food were still quite seductive, Liu Xian may have said he’d lost his appetite, but he still could not resist the urge to take a big bite.
The fragrance of a strange spice, the crispy and tender bread crumbled in his mouth, the whole sensation just captures Liu Xian’s tongue.
A large bite of the skewered meat, the chewiness of lean meat, the bounciness of the tendons, the juicy fragrance of grilled fat… instantly sucked Liu Xian into a vortex of intense flavours and experience. A sheer happiness and satisfaction welled up inside of him.
“Delicious! Too delicious!” Liu Xian could not help himself as he cried out, he quickly chomped down the rest of his food.
“Your highness, please eat more slowly, and here’s some water!” Sheng Yao Shan could not bear to look any more, and made his people grab some water over.
“En en, Elder Brother Yao Shan, you eat too, this is too delicious! Better than anything in the palace! I didn’t realized that ordinary people’s food could be so delicious! Xian’er wish to share more of the people’s joys from now on!” Liu Xian declared as he continued to chomp.
“Your highness, to tell the truth, this really isn’t ordinary people’s food, the one who cooked for you today comes from Xian Yang’s number one restaurant, the Drunken Immortal!” Sheng Yao Shan cast a glance at Wen Rou.
He still could not understand why this Miss Wen was not busy at the Drunken Immortal but had set up a stall right in front of Sir Song Tao’s home! A stall!
“Oh, reward, reward, let’s give 500 liangs of silver!” Liu Xian waved his little fist in the air, he was in unusually good mood today.
“500…” A bitter smile grew on Sheng Yao Shan’s face, “Ninth prince, this is too much.”
“Too much?” Liu Xian was shocked, he scrunched up his face and then declared to Sheng Yao Shan, “The, how about 2200 liangs, is that good?”
2200 liang was lower than 500 liangs… in Liu Xian’s world, 5 is always bigger than two, no matter what follows behind.
Sheng Yao Shan did not know what to do.
“Your highness, the ninth prince, if you put the meat between the bread, it will be really delicious. Why don’t you try it?” Wen Ruo could not resist smiling as she stepped in to break the awkwardness. She picked up one of the grilled bread and meat on her stall, broke the bread open and used it like a mitt to grab a piece of grilled mutton, smeared in Wen Shouzheng’s special sauce, off the skewer, and handed it to Liu Xian.
Liu Xian’s eyes grew wide as his mouth grew wider and chomped.
“Delicious! Very, very delicious! Elder Brother Yao Shan, you come and try!” Liu Xian’s mouth were stuffed up with food and his words came out a little muffled, but his sentiments were quite clear!
Sheng Yao Shan was helpless, he could only accept the next meat and bread roll from Wen Rou and ate that.
It was truly delicious, delicious to the point that he could not stop himself!
As the two of them ate and ate until their eyes could not be seen, the door of the little plain house creaked opened…[Translator’s Note: I have a plot hole concern, where is Liu Xian’s personal eunuch? Sheng Yao Shan seems to have taken up the role himself, but, seriously, where’s the ninth prince’s eunuch?]  Body might not be used to the water – A delicate way of saying dirty food, could also mean literally not used to the water. For example the water in Japan is ‘soft water’ with very little minerals in it vs Australia’s ‘hard water’ with its dessert climate. Rice cooked with soft water has a more tender texture, while the same rice cooked with hard water will have a rough texture. This goes for things like miso soups and tofu making as well.  Black lines on his face