Little Cooking Saint – 0222 – Sweet & Sour Pork with Pineapple (n)
Cropped image of woman cutting fresh ripe pineapple and making tasty dish for dinner when cooking during lockdown

Little Cooking Saint – 0222 – Sweet & Sour Pork with Pineapple (n)

Chapter 222 Sweet & Sour Pork with Pineapple (n)

Translated by Gumihou

Edited by Gumihou

 

It took Gumi nearly four days to translate this because #pain. Go ahead and read all the way to the end and #ComeLaughAtGumisPain.

 

After making this discovery, Shiyu decided not to jump straight into another cooking spree.

[1] Instead, she got hold of Feng Luo and persuaded him to give her a list of some of the best restaurants he had been to. With this list, she went off to explore the delicacies offered in the city.

There were many restaurants and speciality shops with signature delicacies all over the Imperial Capital. Shiyu had only sampled a fraction of them during her time here.

When the other students finally understood Shiyu’s role in the team, they would look at her with tearful eyes and express their hope to be blessed with her cooking in the future. [1] Just a bit of leftover will do, please!

Thus, while the others continued with their grim training, Shiyu made it her business to visit every eatery she could. The only time she met up with the other Champions was at the Central Square for the tournament.

Eventually, she made her way back to the First Rate Pavilion again. Shiyu still could not forget the taste of the Crystal Pork Shoulder. This time, when the server placed the plates of petal-like meat before her, the bit of lingering doubt she had about her previous conclusion disappeared.

Focusing her Cultivation on her sense of taste and smell, Shiyu carefully picked up a piece of beautiful looking meat and took a little sniff before tasting it carefully. Even her enhanced senses could not pick up a trace of blood or scum left in the meat. In fact, with her enhanced senses, the experience was even more amazing.

She concluded that the chef who made this dish must be a Cultivator, though his Cultivation stage was probably not too high.

Shiyu was just pondering over this when a waiter came up and placed a steaming plate on her table.

She stared at the lustrously red-gold dish and said, “I did not order anything else, ah…”

“It’s a new dish from our humble restaurant. It is a free sample for our honourable guests,” he nodded at the other tables, all of whom were given the same portion of this dish. “If this customer is satisfied, it may be included in our future menu.”

Happy noises came from all around. After all, who would disdain free food?

Shiyu swept her eyes around and saw a middle-aged person standing by the kitchen entrance. He must be the chef, [1] he certainly exuded a chef’s aura. She could also tell that he’s a Cultivator, probably at Condensation Stage 5.

Shiyu studied the dish before her. It looked very cute with its golden yellow meatballs the size of a man’s thumb [4] and [2] covered with a layer of orange sauce. Steam was still rising from the plate, making Shiyu feel as though she was looking at a brilliant golden flower through a layer of mist.

“Is this Sweet & Sour Pork?” asked Shiyu.

“Dear guest is correct,” said the sharp waiter with a quick smile [3]. “We usually serve it with cubed pork belly, today’s version is made into meatballs.”

Shiyu nodded and picked up one of the golden meatballs covered in red-orange sauce with her chopsticks. When she placed it in her mouth, she closed her eyes to better experience the flavour. The sauce was sweet & sour and sticky in her mouth, the batter around the meatball gave it a sharp crispness. It was almost like eating Sweet & Sour Pork Rib [5], except there was no need to go through the trouble of chewing the bones.

After several bites, Shiyu licked her lips. Her mouth felt a little greasy [6]. After some thought, she took out a whole pineapple from her space ring, peeled off the skin with her knife [7] and cut it to pieces. Then, with every bite of the Sweet & Sour Pork, she took a bite of the pineapple. This way, she was able to get rid of the greasiness in her mouth, making it taste just right.

Hm, hm, so this is why Sweet & Sour Pork is usually cooked with pineapples.

While she ate in her corner, the waiter bustled off to take care of the other customers. Shiyu did not mind, she liked having her privacy and entertained herself by listening to the gossip around her.

“…did you hear about that family at Hai’er Alley? They are still raising money for their daughter’s illness.” [7a] [7a] “I wonder how much they’ve raised by now?”

[7a] “Who knows, but I doubt it’s enough to get the medicine needed for the girl.”

[7a] “Oh?”

[7a] “I visited the family earlier, that little girl is too pitiful, ah.”

[7b] “I heard it’s some kind of heart disease. I’m friends with the doctor and he told me that the child could only be saved through some of those special immortal medicines. You know how expensive those are.”

[7b] “Immortal medicine? That would be difficult, ah. I heard from the girl’s parents that they’ve essentially run out of money by now,”

“Aih, I guess the saying that one’s health is the most valuable thing in the world. Fortunate is the man who could live a life free of diseases and ill fortune.”

The talk eventually switched over to tonight’s tournament.

Shiyu continued to listen as she ate slowly. Once the food was gone, she paid and left First Rate Pavilion.

She looked up at the sky and saw that it was still quite early. It would not take her long to walk to the Central Square, so Shiyu decided to take her time and meander about, losing herself in the noisy crowd.

As she walked, she noticed that a knot of people had gathered at the mouth of an alley. After sharpening her hearing a little, she found that these people were here to donate money.

[8] “That child is so thin, poor thing has been bedridden for so long…”

[8] Someone sobbed, “So young too, aih…”

Only a heartless person could remain indifferent.

Humans are indeed a creature filled with contradictions. The kindest being in the world could be found amongst humans, the most heinous creatures are also humans. Their capacity for good or evil seemed boundless, constrained only by their heart.

Shiyu hesitated for a moment but continued on her way to the Central Square.

Tonight’s tournament was not easily won. Their opponents were not much weaker than them. The good news was, Feng Luo’s ability with the whip showed improvement.

However, Qi Chuyun’s performance was just as poor as before. She lost battles that could have been easily won.

During one of her individual fights, she was blasted off the stage in three moves and was booed by the audience. Some even took up a chant to change Qi Chuyun for someone better. Surely the Imperial College has better candidates than that woman?

The Dean said nothing when they met him after the tournament. Nobody pointed out Qi Chuyun’s poor performance either.

It was Qi Chuyun herself who felt the rough edges of shame keenly against her skin, “Perhaps I should switch back to my sword? I’m sorry for dragging everyone down.”

“It’s your own decision. There’s no need for you beg others’ opinions,” contempt flashed in Qing Chen’s eyes. “It’s not easy to master a different weapon. If you can’t bear a little hardship, you can back out. It’s not like I placed much expectation on you anyway.”

After that final throw down, he turned and left.

Qi Chuyun’s grip tightened around her bow. Tears glittered in her eyes, “I’m not afraid of hardship!” she screamed at Qing Chen’s back.

However, Qing Chen did not even bother to turn his head.

Qi Chuyun dashed a hand over her eyes and darted off the opposite way, towards the mountainside.

The remaining five were stunned.

What happened to that calm and steady Qing Chen? That guy never let a cruel word passed his lips. What happened to him today?

“I’ll go and check on Chuyun,” said Feng Luo. The two had gotten closer due to their shared hardship of trying to quickly master new weapons.

Shiyu nodded,” I’ll go check on Qing Chen.”

With that, the group separated.

Shiyu soon caught up with Qing Chen.

Even when he noticed her, Qing Chen did not slow his steps. In the end, Shiyu had to walk backwards in front of him for a face to face conversation. “Why were you so angry just now?”

“Was I?”

“Of course, this is the first time I see you scold someone like this. Tsk, tsk, that mean tone… I nearly thought you had been replaced by someone. If you have something to say, you usually say it nicely. Your words were a little hurtful just now, ah.”

“I have nothing to say, I just dislike her.”

Shiyu paused. “Dislike? But why?”

Though Qi Chuyun was a little serious, Shiyu felt that she was not bad.

“Because her surname is Qi,”

 

 

[Gumihou: Really? A Whole Pineapple? You peeled a Whole Pineapple at your table in a restaurant? Tch, go ahead and distract us with Drama, but Gumi will never forget that you peeled a whole pineapple in a restaurant dining room.]

 

Gumihou is keeping track so that you don’t have to ~

 

凝氣 Condensation Stage Stage 1
化丹 Core Transformation Stage 2
凝丹(46) Core Condensation Stage 3
化神(52) Divine Transformation Stage 4
成嬰 Nascent Formation Stage 5
合體 Unification Stage 6
返墟 Revert Decay Stage 7
歸真 Original Purity Stage 8
成仙 Become immortal Stage 9

 

[1] Adjusted Details for Transition Purpose: Splitting some sentences and embellishing bits of it to make the text smoother.

[2] Gumi is not sure what the author is describing. The ‘the cute meatballs the size of her fingertips, golden yellow and lustrous. It was covered with a layer of brilliant orange sauce.

Presumably the above? See, here’s Gumi’s issue. You know it’s golden yellow, if there are bits that are uncovered with the sauce. Even so, the colour of the fried meatball should be brown. For fried things to be golden yellow, it usually involves batter. To have a ‘golden yellow’ effect, you must use batter or at least plenty of starch on the outside.

If the meat were the size of a fingertip, who’s fingertip? My fingertip is 1cm in diameter. If the meatball is 1cm in diameter WHILE coated in batter, it’s damned tiny. Which, again, is not impossible and for a chef who makes fiddly elegant food, it’s probably a nice challenge.

Gumi’s second issue: ‘It was covered with a layer of brilliant orange sauce’

… presentation effect. Tiny meatballs + a layer of orange sauce = Mini Volcano?

Except: ‘Steam was still rising and curling from the dish, making her feel like she was looking at a yellow flower through a mist’

So, the meatball is set in a circle with the orange sauce in the middle?

The meatballs were in a bowl and were covered in orange sauce and Shiyu’s X-Ray eyes could see through the sauce into the ‘lustrous golden yellow meatballs’?

Does the author ever eat Sweet & Sour Pork before? In her life?

What idiot dip meatballs into batter anyway?

This idiocy is unsalvageable and unfortunately, it could only get worse…

[3] Changed Details because Puns: 

咕嚕肉 vs 古老肉

Gu Lu Rou vs Gu Lao Rou

State Banquet Master uses 咕咾 (Gu Lao)

Gu Lao or Gu Lu basically refers to a type of Sweet & Sour sauce that has ketchup in it and is generally reddish-orange, the waiter’s ‘clever remark’ basically… means nothing.

Change the ‘clever remark’ to refer to the meatballs. Because normal Sweet & Sour Pork uses cubed pork belly. Since it’s an experiment, the tiny meatballs are… well… it’s an experiment.

Sweet & Sour Pork by State Banquet Chef

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4gBdGRfBGY

Here’s a Sweet & Sour Pork by a young State Banquet Chef. It’s different from ordinary Sweet & Sour Pork. It’s served with strawberries on ice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5wIDFqSDik

[4] Math issues – like why??!

Thank you LScore for reminding Gumi about author-san’s inability to properly measure or count things. Disability is no laughing matter.

So,

Original text, ‘the cute meatballs the size of her fingertip

There’s a reason why meatballs are made to a certain size. Juiciness vs Gravity. Larger meatballs = juicier meatballs, however, gravity forces things to go flat or splat.

The video below is a French guy’s quest to make the biggest, most spherical meatball just to give you an idea of the Juiciness vs Gravity thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzGvGhQsWOk&list=PLURsDaOr8hWWt59j2IJlPADnmU6SS-tEk

Tiny meatballs, especially fried tiny meatballs are an exercise in futility since they would be dry, especially if you batter and fry them. Batter is totally needed to make meatballs ‘golden yellow’ I kid you not, the description is totally 金黃.

By the way, a woman’s fingertip (Gumi’s middle fingertip anyway) is 1.2cm at the widest diameter, the thumb is 1.5cm at the widest diameter.

1cm meatball = _______

1.5 cm meatball = __________

Remember, this includes the batter. Naturally, Shiyu’s fingertips could be 2 or even 3 times larger than Gumi’s, eh, who knows?

Gumi was sucked into a black hole of research and was only rescued by LScore’s remark. Oh yeah, Shiyu (and author-san) failed basic maths. This makes better sense.

[5] Sweet & Sour Pork Rib or 糖醋排骨 is a completely different class of food compared to the 咕嚕/古老/咕咾 version. Though both are translated as ‘Sweet & Sour’, 糖醋 is literally ‘Sugar Vinegar’ this is important because 糖醋排骨 is a closer to something like a caramelized meat dish. The pork ribs are first blanched before it is simmered in a sauce made from rock sugar, high-quality black vinegar and other secret ingredients until the sauce caramelizes and coated the ribs. 

In contrast, the 咕嚕/古老/咕咾 recipe requires the meat (be it prawn, chicken balls, fish, pork etc) to be battered (lightly or thickly) and fried until golden brown. Ah, meatballs are fried but not battered, that’s an exception. The sauce is made separately and a variety of colourful vegetables (bell peppers, cucumbers, chillies, pineapples etc) is included for presentation purposes. Also, tomato ketchup is a must, vinegar is optional. The colour is generally reddish orange. Once the sauce is made, it is then either poured over the fried meat, or you could throw the fried meats back into the sauce for a 30 second toss.

The thing they have in common is their ‘sweet & sour’ flavour.

Shiyu should have compared meatballs vs cubed meat, but then again, she’s not known for her basic knowledge of Chinese cuisine.

Never fear!

Gumi is here to fix the gap. Observe the differences as demonstrated by Chef Wang Gang! All hail Chef Wang!

Chef Wang Gang’s Sweet & Sour Pork (pineapple is optional, Chef Wang Gang says so)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFoiwGbUKRY

Chef Wang Gang’s Sweet & Sour Pork Rib

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPkN3tugpCQ

[7] Split the dialogue to make it more natural sounding. You’re talking, not giving a monologue. [7a] one block of dialogue, [7b] another block. Embellished it a little so it felt like 3 different people were chatting casually instead of an information vomit from a couple of NPC for a side quest.

[8] Adjusted for Dramatic Purpose: Changed passives to dialogues. To be honest, this bit is kind of boring and predictable since Gumi could already see the ending of this side quest. Might as well polish it up a little to make it less dull.

 

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Diggydawg

    Maybe it’s one of those runt pineapples the size of a fist? Either way i feel like it’s a very Chinese thing to do at a restaurant table… I could imagine my more (dgaf) relatives doing it.

    1. Gumihou

      Well, now that you mention it…

  2. Hamster

    The meatball meat was golden inside probably because the author also used golden meat during the preparation of the vermilion meet. In chapter 38.4, Shiyu was in the kitchen watching Chef Wang prepare the vermilion meat. Shiyu commented in a thought to herself that the blocks of pork meat/fat were like golden jade (mellow yellow) covered in the cooking broth inside the crockpot. These blocks are taken out and flash frozen (because Chef Wang implied he did it quickly). The author then treated the meat like the novelty ultra-frozen-hard ice cream or frozen banana by putting the frozen mellow yellow meat into a deep fryer. After the surface is fried (assuming residual heat warms up the inside) to develop the firm crust and the bright golden block of meat floats to the surface (really? I thought it would sink). Chef Wang then transferred the golden block to a pan for simmering along with thick red sauce on top to finally turn it red.
    .
    There’s so much golden meat that it’s weird. I’ve watched pork chops both fry in a pan or broil in my countertop oven (I don’t use that big energy wasting kitchen-heating oven). The pork is red at first and gradually changes color (the red fades away). It never turns yellow in a water-based broth (stew). The meat only turns yellow on the broiled surface just before it continues to being browned. Even if the salty broth water in the crockpot was able to get to 230 fahrenheit (because Shiyu poured a gallon of automobile radiator coolant), that wouldn’t turn the pork yellow from heat. The broth that Chef Wang used was cloudy white, not food coloring yellow. And it couldn’t be yellow from turmeric because that’s too much flavor as Shiyu had already criticized previous batches of Vermilion Meat for overuse of the red sauce.

    1. Gumihou

      I think the deep frying turns the fatty meat yellow. That’s the only explanation I could come up with.

  3. Weng

    size of a fingertip?! the heck! I’d complain if I was served a plate of teeny tiny meatballs no matter the quantity given. they might as well served me ground pork and call it a day.

    The bigger the meatball the better especially for Pho for me

    1. Gumihou

      Have you ever seen Indonesian meatballs? They’re HUGE. Google Bakso Beranak and be amazed (and maybe horrified…)

      1. Weng

        as long as they are cooked through and no hint of rawness in the middle, I’m good with that

        1. Gumihou

          Chances of overcooking mini meatballs higher than undercooking.

          =_=;;

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