I am a Chef in the Modern Era - Chapter 1
Chapter 1: Braised Beef Noodles
Translated by Rui of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
In the Winter of the 69th year of the Yan State, the Minister of Personnel was investigated. Rumors said that he conspired together with others for the purposes of personal gain, and was culpable of accepting bribes. Later, an entire chest full of treasures was found in the minister’s house, confirming that he was indeed guilty of corruption. The man who was once a ZhuangYuan in the past, had fallen into prison overnight.
Before the Spring of the following year, the emperor’s imperial edict arrived.
The edict stated that the scholar was a man with competence but of no virtue. His sinful crime was unforgivable and he was to be given a cup of poisoned wine to send him on his journey to the afterlife.
There was heavy snowfall on the day of the execution. The man was taken out of his prison cell, and after a lavish meal, the wine was presented. It was his favorite: Daughter Red.
The scholar lifted the wine cup and took a waft of its fragrance before he narrowed his eyes, “My teacher once said that my character wasn’t suited to being a government official. It seems as though his words were true. However, with a fatuous emperor and evil governors in power, it’s about time the era of the Great Yan State ended.”
The official in charge was just about to burst into anger when the scholar tilted his head back and downed the entire cup of poisonous wine. Blood then oozed out of his eyes, nose, mouth and ears and he died on the execution ground.
Just before he passed away, the scholar gazed at the petal-like snowflakes falling from sky and smiled. He softly mumbled something from his mouth, but his words were heard by none.
I’m done with being the number one scholar, I’ll just be a chef in my next life. I miss the roast chicken from the Lotus Tower.
That was Lin ShuYi’s last utterance.
Of course, the words he spoke once he awoke again did not count.
That’s right, Lin ShuYi woke up again in a completely foreign place. The people here called this land China.
He appeared to still be in his original body, but his appearance seemed to have changed. His long waist length hair had disappeared and was now replaced by short, thin hair that hung in front of his forehead. His body had also shrunk, making him look like a seventeen to eighteen year old youth.
Despite all this, he was still very happy to be alive.
There was no one else in the house he had awoken in. It was obvious that the house didn’t belong to a rich family for it was in tatters.
After digging around for a few days, he gradually learned quite a few things about this world.
For example, the rectangular object that would display pictures with the click of a button was called a television. The item that could even project light at night was called a lamp. The piece of furniture that was even more comfortable to sit on compared to a bed was known as a sofa and so on….. He gathered all this information from those thick and thin books. Luckily, he could still understand the books here. Even though some characters looked different, the majority of them hadn’t changed.
Since he was already here, he might as well take it easy. Nothing would be more frightening to people than the fact that he was still alive. He had clearly died. He never wanted to experience the feeling of complete helplessness as his body gradually became colder and stiffer again.
It had been many days since he arrived here. He still hadn’t seen anyone other than himself. When he went outside, he saw quite a few objects moving to and fro whilst carrying people. They were known as cars. They travelled at an insanely high speed which gave him quite a fright when he first saw them.
The house was empty except for the television and sofa.
Lin ShuYi would watch television whenever he had nothing to do so that he could have a better understanding of this place. When he had finally gotten a good grasp of the world around him, a month had already flown by.
The country he lived in was known as China. This city was called City S. This country had a multitude of people, with a population much bigger than Yan State. This was where he had to live.
That’s right, he had to continue living.
Within the last month, he ate the vegetables that grew in the garden, including greens, tomatoes, beans and cucumbers.
In his last life, his favorite thing to do was cook, so he recognised all these vegetables. There was also rice in the kitchen but there didn’t seem to be much left. He had also finally learned how to use the rice cooker after much difficulty. The gas burner was no exception either, he almost burned his hair off when he first used it.
However, after a month had passed by, he was finally getting a better hang of things. At least eating was no longer a problem.
The vegetables in the garden could still last him a while, but he had run out of rice. This was a huge problem. He still barely knew anything about this world, so even though he knew where to buy rice, he didn’t have any money.
Although Lin ShuYi still didn’t understand why a piece of paper could be termed as ‘money’, it seemed as though that paper had much greater value than silver. Thus, the big question was, how could he get his hands on some paper money?
Lin ShuYi then left the house.
In reality, this was his first time actually going out. The previous time had been too hasty, and he had only taken a few steps outside before he quickly returned after getting scared by the noisy cars. If he could return and recount his experience of this new world to Song Yan, the other would definitely think that a fever had killed all his brain cells.
But he had already died, how could he return?
His sentimental sorrow barely lasted for two minutes before Lin ShuYi quickly came across the first person he ever met after coming to this world in less than two minutes; it was an old grandpa.
The elderly had his back hunched and was walking with great difficulty as he carried a bucket of water.
Lin ShuYi thought about it and decided to go up and help him. After all, this was the first person he ever met in this place, so this encounter was of great significance to him. Plus, this person seemed like he really needed some help.
“I’ll help you carry it.” Lin ShuYi reached out and grabbed the water bucket from the old grandpa’s hands. He gave the old grandpa a huge smile, which made him appear extra amiable.
“Thank you, young lad. Do you live nearby? Why haven’t I seen you before?”
Lin ShuYi pointed to the house in the near distance, “I live there.”
The old grandpa squinted his eyes as if he couldn’t see the house clearly, “Oh, I’ve always thought that there was no one living in that house. Did you just come back after studying away from home then?”
Lin ShuYi didn’t know what to say so he just nodded his head.
“You look like a pretty handsome young lad. You have a good heart too. A very likeable character indeed.” The old grandpa mumbled to himself before he patted Lin ShuYi’s shoulder and halted in his steps, “Up to here is fine. I came to water the crops here. You’ve still got things to do right? If you’re still busy then you can head off first.”
Lin ShuYi shook his head. He didn’t actually have anything important to do. Plus, the main thing was that even if he headed off first, he didn’t know where to go. What business could he possibly have to attend to?
“You’re not busy? If you’re free then help this old grandpa water the vegetables. Grandpa will treat you to some noodles after we’re done.”
Lin ShuYi smiled as soon as he heard food. He then laughed joyfully, revealing a row of white teeth, “Okay.”
The garden wasn’t big, but there were quite a few different crops. Different sorts of vegetables were organised clearly into small sections. The red patch was tomatoes, the purple patch was eggplant and the yellow patch was sweet peppers. They all seemed to be growing extremely well.
The old grandpa grabbed a ladle and watered the sweet peppers scoop after scoop. Lin ShuYi copied his actions.
Although he could cook, he didn’t know how to grow crops. This was indeed a first for him.
A bucket of water wasn’t enough for the whole garden. Lin ShuYi had to help carry a number of more buckets before all the crops were properly watered. He was so hot from the exercise that there were beads of sweat on his forehead.
“You’re tired now, aren’t you? As expected, I don’t see any more kids who still work in the fields nowadays. Let’s go, grandpa will treat you to noodles.”
They left the bucket inside the garden and the old grandpa locked the door. He then took Lin ShuYi down another street before stopping at the front of a small restaurant.
These words were written at the top.
“This is grandpa’s restaurant. Grandpa doesn’t know how to make anything else, but my noodles are very delicious. Grandpa isn’t bragging, after all there isn’t anyone who hasn’t eaten my noodles in this neighborhood.” The old grandpa opened the door with a smile on his face and told Lin ShuYi to sit wherever he liked. He then went to the back to wash his hands before he started to make the noodles.
“Young lad, can you eat spicy food?”
Lin ShuYi shook his head.
“Then we’ll eat braised beef noodles. That one’s not spicy.”
Lin ShuYi secretly swallowed his saliva, before he suddenly remembered an advertisement that was constantly being broadcasted on television.
“Braised beef noodles with added meat and egg for no added price! That’s the taste ~ ”
In reality, he had always wanted to try it. Was this grandpa going to make this dish?
After approximately twenty something minutes, the noodles were ready. The large bowl full of noodles was still steaming hot.
However… why did it look different compared to the advertisement?
Lin ShuYi lowered his head and gazed at at the contents of the bowl.
“Eat up, I promise you it’s tasty.”
The broth was crystal clear and there were a few fresh and green bok choy along with thin, white noodles. A large spoonful of tender braised beef was placed inside the bowl and topped with a sprinkle of chopped spring onion. The garnish nicely contrasted against the dark reddish color of the beef, making the dish seem extremely appetising. Lin ShuYi looked at the dish for a long time before he swallowed his saliva as he finally grabbed a pair of chopsticks and ate a big mouthful.
Fresh, tender, aromatic beef and bouncy chewy noodles. Lin ShuYi’s eyes were crescent-shaped from the enjoyment of eating.
Not only did he finish the noodles, but he also drank all the broth. Even though the broth looked clear, it tasted delicious as if it had been boiled for a long time.
“You like it? If you do, then come back often and grandpa will make it for you.”
The old grandpa smiled. This caused all the wrinkles in his face to scrunch together, yet this made Lin ShuYi remember his teacher.
“Grandpa, I can cook. I’ll cook for you in the future.”
The old grandpa was taken back for a second before he burst out into jolly laughter, “Good, good. I’ll make you noodles, and you can cook other dishes for me.”
The grandpa only laughed it off as a joke because he didn’t believe the boy at all. How could this seventeen to eighteen year old young lad know how to cook? His grandson was already twenty something and still couldn’t make anything other than a cup of instant noodles.
Speaking of his grandson, it had been a long time since he last came to visit…