Chapter 5 – Meatbuns, Part 3
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Re-translated & Edited by Gumihou
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A total of four radishes meant eight hands. Though their clothes were still ragged, at least their hands were clean, and they didn’t actually looked too bad either.
Right now, their family consisted of Grandpa, Shiyu, and five other radishes younger than her. There had been seven radishes before, but, two had died from sickness during the winter.
Perhaps it was the good food they had been eating lately. The little radishes had lost their thin and sickly appearance, and there was a healthy flush on their cheeks that weren’t there before. They should spend their next major income on clothes soon, thought Shiyu. Shiyu was the eldest at nearly 15. The rest were little kids, with the youngest being Xiao Qi at nearly 10. With good food available, their height would soon shoot up, it won’t do to dress like beggars all the time.
As she pondered over various matters, the water soon boiled.
Grandpa had declared that he will take charge of the dough, leaving Shiyu to direct her little helpers on other tasks. Everyone agreed to this arrangement. The little kids were sent to wash the leeks, while she cut up the pork.
If this world was anything like the ancient times of her world, the people here would surely prefer fatty meat over lean meat. Which was how Shiyu manage to get her hands of such a lot of lean meat. After trimming the fat off the pork head, she minced the fatty meat together with the lean and mixed them up with a good amount of table salt and minced onions before setting it aside.
Next, she minced the freshly washed mushrooms and wild vegetables, setting them apart in a different bowl after seasoning it generously.
Now that the two fillings had been prepared, the dough was also ready. Old and young got together and began to make the buns. Meatbuns were fairly easy to fold, the only problem of them being a little on the ugly side. Shiyu was an old hand at this, and Grandpa appeared to have some skill at it. Their buns they wrapped looked a lot better than the disasters produced by these little amateurs. Luckily, everyone got better with every bun they made. To Shiyu’s surprise, she found that Xiao Wu’s (Little 5) buns improved by leaps and bounds. After a little more consultation with her, his buns started to look closer to hers.
Once a certain numbers of buns were wrapped up, Shiyu placed them within the steamer basket and set Lao Er (Old 2) to watch the fire.
After a short while, a mouth-watering scent of meat began to waft through the kitchen. Shiyu also found herself swallowing several times. It’s been such a long time since she had a proper main meal. Just the thought of biting into a warm and fluffy meatbun and slurping up hot meat gravy made her mouth water.
She was not alone, others also had to swallow more than a few times. Luckily the buns were almost done. Meanwhile, they all tried to distract themselves by making more meatbuns.
Finally, Shiyu finally got up from her bun wrapping station and took off the steamer lid. Hot and fragrant steam rushed up to her face. She blinked and a row of shiny white buns sparkled up at her. She poked one with chopsticks. Ooh, how springy, it’s done. She took the basket off the hot water and quickly moved the meatbuns onto a prepared cooling rack. Once done, they can start steaming the second batch.
Immediately, the radishes surrounded her, looking up with pleading eyes. “Sister, sister, can we eat now?”
“Eat, eat. Careful, it’s hot!” saying, she grabbed one for herself.
The pure white bun was incredibly soft. Once bitten, transparent liquid could be seen. Ah, that’s the meat juice, ah. The soup slowly seeped into the bun, no matter how one bite into the bun, meat juice flows into your mouth. How irresistible.
“Wu, hot!” Shiyu hissed, but was unable to resist. Another bite later, half of the meatbun was gone.
Pork is so fragrant. Once the minced pork within the meatbuns were steamed, the best meat broth is created. This broth kept the meat moist and tender. Once you bite into it, the fat melts in your mouth without a trace of greasiness.
After gobbling down 5 buns, Shiyu finally stopped. Ah, she had been hungry for such a long time, ah. She wanted to eat everything that she sees, ah.
Xiao Qi suddenly exclaimed, “Oh, so satisfying! I’ve wanted to try meatbuns for a long time now. To think I could taste them today.”
At this, Shiyu felt like something had untangled within her body. However, she could not say what the sensation was, but, Xiao Qi’s words seemed to have triggered some memories of this world’s plot. Only, she can’t quite remember what it was.
Whatever, let’s leave it for now!
The whole family demolished half a steamer of buns, before continuing their wrapping work
After a bit of rest, Shiyu grabbed another bun and nibbled it absentmindedly as she spoke to Grandpa, “We should try and sell these tomorrow! Let’s make some money first and live a good life.” Once we have money, we can improve our lives.
“Your meatbuns are very good, and I am sure that people will buy it.” Grandpa agreed. “Only, how should we sell them? We can’t just set up a stall anywhere, what if someone smashes it up?”
Grandpa’s concern was not unreasonable, most of the stall keepers and vendors in the city all have their own territory. If they were to simply set up a stall without permission, it might just start an unnecessary feud.
“I’ve thought about it, let’s just sell it at the city gates! While the foot traffic isn’t great, it’s still pretty good. We can try selling our things there first. More importantly, we should think of a way to move our stuff.” In the modern world, people move stuff with vans, there’s nothing so convenient here.
“No problem, we have plenty of people. When the time comes, we can carry everything together. The most troublesome thing would be this stove.”
In the end, the stove was transported with a cart. There were no coals in this world, so Shiyu sent the radishes out to collect pine wood from around the temple. Not only would these wood keep them warm, it also emitted a nice smell.
The next day, they put the plan into action.
That morning, everyone got up very early, loaded their stuff onto the handcart and moved everything towards the city gates. Shiyu had already heated up yesterday’s meatbuns. She even have time to make up a new batch of buns. They trailed out in a row, in tattered but clean clothes.
A short while later, when the meatbuns were heated, a mouth-watering scent floated into the air.
The radishes immediately began to call for customers, “Meatbuns~ Tender meaty meatbuns~ 1 copper coins per bun~”
The early morning pedestrians, with their empty stomachs, were soon attracted by the wonderful smell. They rushed over to inquire, “What kind of meatbuns? How much for one?”
Without Shiyu to prompt them, the little radishes flew out to answer their questions. “Our meatbuns cost 2 copper coins each. Mushroom meatbuns are 1 copper each, and vegetarian buns are 1 copper coin for two. Which would you like?”
The customer’s nose twitched, “I’ll have two mushroom meatbuns, please!”
“Coming up~” Lao Er efficiently wrapped two buns in a broad leaf and handed it to him.
The man immediately took a bite and thought the flavour was not bad. The meatbuns he had before were not quite as tasty as these. He soon swallowed both and smacked his lips. “Your meatbuns are delicious. Give me another 10 meat and mushroom buns. I want my family to try it.”
“What wonderfully filial son.” Lao Er said, as he wrapped up 10 more buns.
In just a while, they have already earned 12 copper coins. Everyone was elated.
The wonderful smell continued to attract customers. After the first customer left, more appeared….
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