ICRAB – Chapter 188 (2)
Warning for readers with Ophidiophobia. There is discussion (and photos) about the reptile in this chapter.
The braised mutton, Jiang Zhen could feel its softness almost as soon as she picked it up. A unique aroma of watercress, mixed with the slightly spicy mutton smell, floated directly into her nose. She couldn't help but opened her mouth and took a bite.
"Oops, wait a minute, don't eat yet! I haven't finished my close-up shots..."
The photographer's roar was a step too late, and Jiang Zhen's chopsticks were already empty. But soon his roar stopped abruptly. Through the camera, he saw the female reporter Jiang Zhen's bulging face after eating the mutton. She looked like a hamster with a whole peanut in its mouth. Her expression seemed to be in slow motion. Gradually it became sparkling and colorful. It was as if she had entered a blissful world. Her whole face was surrounded by the steam from the pot of braised mutton, exuding a great sense of happiness.
The photographer immediately focused and aimed his camera at Jiang Zhen's face. He only smelled the tangy aroma of the braised mutton and saw the mutton meat with bright colors. He didn't taste it yet but he already knew that the dish was delicious, so good that it would relieve his brows. Why? Because Jiang Zhen's whole body exuded such a feeling, simple, warm and joyful feeling.
"Huh..." Jiang Zhen finally came back to her senses. She covered her small mouth that had become rosy because of the mutton sauce, her entire cheeks were chewing quickly, and she finally opened her eyes and swallowed the mouthful of tender mutton into her throat. She then folded her hands together to apologize and beg for mercy. "Sorry, sorry, Brother Orange, it's so delicious, wuwuwuwu, I forgot to wait for you to take a picture. I'll do it again."
"Well, the fat and thin strips will look better when they are photographed."
However, after a minute, Jiang Zhen stared at the mutton on her chopsticks, almost drooling to the point of wanting to swallow it immediately! Watching the photographer kept taking pictures from different angles while also paying attention to the lighting, the brother also asked her to adjust her gestures and chopsticks positions. She really wanted to cry!
"Brother Orange, how can you stand the temptation so well?"
Jiang Zhen saliva didn't stop. She swallowed desperately, and tried her best not to let her drool flow out again. As a result, before she could respond, the photographer eldest brother threw his camera aside, picked up his chopsticks, and directly slammed two large pieces of mutton into his mouth from the pot.
The photographer's face was calm and he quickly chewed a few times as if nothing had happened, but some braised sauce from the mutton overflowed from the corner of his mouth.
"What!" Jiang Zhen was stunned for a moment, and her heart immediately collapsed while she cried out. Those were the two largest pieces of mutton! Brother Orange was too cruel!
Jiang Zhen and Brother Orange immediately put her chopsticks into the pot. Just like running a competition, no one wanted to lose at the starting line, nor did they want to lose at the finish.
The chopsticks didn't stop, and the mouth also didn't stop. Fortunately, the mutton was stewed with enough heat and time. Although it didn't melt in the mouth, the meat was already so tender that even eating five or six pieces would not tire the jaw at all.
When Jiang Zhen waited for the last chopstick to fall into an empty pot, she regained her senses and almost cried. "Brother Orange, I initially wanted to eat some with white rice. I read the guide said that it is to be served with rice. The mutton cubes should be rolled over rice with some of the sauce, it's a classic and perfect match."
The photographer's brother was stunned for a moment, "Then... how about ordering another copy?"
"No," Jiang Zhen puffed out her cheeks, "I will write in the report that because Brother Orange ate too much, there is no way for me to try the mutton meat and rice combination so I can only scoop a spoonful of sauce to eat the rice!"
Jiang Zhen carefully picked up her spoon and poured the bright red but somewhat mellow braised sauce over her rice. "Brother Orange, take a quick shot, I'm going to start after the shot~"
"Wait, help me get a bowl too!"
When the waiter came over to serve the second dish, he saw the two of them chomping down and eating, interviewing and filming, as if he didn't exist.
The waiter quickly returned to the kitchen and immediately apologized to Liu Weiwei. "Manager, those two reporters didn't seem to be here to interview us. Maybe they were reporting the war outside and then came in to eat when they were hungry."
"It is like this?" Liu Weiwei was stunned for a moment while wearing a mask.
"Well, the braised mutton that was just served five minutes ago was already empty. Now they are eating rice with the leftover sauce. It is estimated that they will ask to add rice later. I will go out and continue to watch."
Liu Weiwei couldn't help grinning, "The snake soup is ready. You can bring it out by the way."
The waiter immediately came over to serve the dishes. When he went out, he proudly glanced at the reporter who was eating almost nothing like a lady. "Is the food in our restaurant delicious? This is the snake soup made by the manager himself today, please enjoy it slowly."
The word snake soup could easily make people shudder. However, as a news reporter, Jiang Zhen also had some knowledge about food. There was dishes made with snakes in Chinese food recipes since a long time ago, and there were even some comments that snake meat was more delicious than chicken.
Jiang Zhen had never eaten it. She had never had the guts to eat it before. But today, she just read the menu and said that the cute bear cub who was still drinking milk liked it, so she mustered up the courage. If it was too scary, she was going to give it to the cub for its meal.
But the waiter's face was flat, as if he was serving a bowl of ordinary soup.
Jiang Zhen looked at the paste-like soup, slightly brown in color, with strips of thin meat like chicken shreds floating in it. The camera lens also moved over.
"There seems to be some mushrooms in it? Is this snake meat? It looks exactly like chicken." Jiang Zhen hesitated.
The waiter smiled. Many customers said the same. Therefore, he usually didn’t leave directly after serving. He often had to explain to the diners. "In this bowl of snake soup, there are three different types of snakes. Their skin, head, tail, bones, and internal organs are removed so only snake meat is left. Besides the snake meat, shredded chicken, shredded pork, shredded mushrooms, and shredded fish maw were also added. It can be said to be our current signature dish."
"Three kinds of snakes?"
"Well, our owner only cooks this dish one day a week. Last week, we used five kinds of snakes. This time, because winter is approaching, there are fewer snakes on the supplier's side, so the recipe has been modified. In a few days, you may not be able to eat this dish. You can only have it again next year."
Jiang Zhen's mouth couldn't close. What the waiter said sounded creepy. Three kinds of snakes were already too much, but there were five snakes last week.
"What are the five kinds of snakes?" The photographer brother was very tough, "I also shot a topic on snakes before. These snakes were raised by people as they are basically nowhere now. Artificial breeding has completely disappeared, so just relying on wild breeding, they are almost extinct."
The waiter puffed up his chest when he heard this, "Last week's five species were cobra, banded krait, many-banded krait, oriental ratsnake (Ptyas mucosa), and yellow snake. I heard when we ordered so many snakes for cooking, the supplier's face went green. But after he tasted it, he only stopped after eating three bowls. This week he came to deliver and drank five bowls before leaving, saying he was going back to farm."
Oriental Ratsnake (Ptyas mucosa)
Brother Orange directly gave a thumbs up, "Amazing!"
Jiang Zhen felt goosebumps coming out. Fortunately, the waiter stopped in time. He didn't say the snake varieties this week and just helped to get the black seasoning bottle on the table. "You guys have a taste first, if you like stronger taste, you can sprinkle some pepper yourself. "
"Okay, thank you." Brother Orange was very satisfied with the explanation. He directly faced the bowl of soup in front of him that didn't look like snake at all. He took a big shot, obviously thinking that this dish was very gimmicky. "This was also a big boost in the past, tsk tsk. Xiao Jiang, eat it while it's hot, I'm done shooting." After that, he closed the camera and picked up the spoon with the arrogance of being a man. He put a spoonful into his mouth without hesitation. But immediately, his face showed a fluttering expression, and he was so intoxicated that he even made a rough sucking sound. "Exquisite, this is really great... so fresh that I have nothing to say!"
"Brother Orange, is it that exaggerated?" Jiang Zhen frowned, "Isn’t the mutton just now more delicious?" She felt that Brother Orange’s movements and even his expressions were a bit exaggerated. But the enjoyment of eating and the pleasant mood were contagious.
Jiang Zhen quickly followed and slowly pushed away the shredded snake meat with a spoon. She filled the spoon with a little soup and put it in her mouth. She then took a sip.
However, in just a moment, Jiang Zhen felt the cells on the tip of her tongue suddenly, and almost all her taste perceptions were mobilized at this moment! "It's so fresh! Really..." The snake smell was not as terrible as imagined, there was no fishy smell, and there was no bitter or unpalatable taste. It was delicious enough to make her eyebrows want to dance. She even wanted to stand up and shout for this bowl of snake soup. Delicious, this was how delicious it was that it even made her want to express happiness with her body!
"It turns out that snake meat tastes similar to shredded chicken and fish. There's nothing scary about it." Jiang Zhen's eyes lit up and the speed in her hands was faster than as if she didn’t just eat mutton meat and rice before. Even if each person had a bowl of snake soup so no one would snatch it from her, but her hand speed was getting faster and faster. "All the ingredients that are cut into shreds so there is no need to chew hard at all and the soup can be swallowed in the throat almost immediately. The warm soup flowing into the stomach makes my whole person feel warm. Ah... It felt like I have just finished an all day spa, so comfortable, so relaxing, so luxurious~"
Brother Cheng also nodded, "Just now you said how much is this snake soup? It should be the most expensive dish in this store, right?"
Jiang Zhen was taken aback and flipped through the menu, "It's only 5,000? I can't believe my eyes. But, this is really the most expensive here. Other dishes are only 500 to 1,000."
"Xiao Jiang, did you use the company money just now? Then I'll spend my own money to eat another bowl."
"Ah, I want too!"
Jiang Zhen was holding the second snake soup bowl. She was so happy that she couldn't believe that she was still working. The life of a reporter was high-intensity, tiring, and busy. There was also some danger in her coming to the battlefield this time, but she didn't expect that she had found a paradise. Now she didn't even want to leave. "I want to meet the owner, Brother Orange!"
"Oh, you finally thought of doing business and interviewing the owner?"
"Er, no. I want to ask her if she plans to open another branch. Brother Orange, you know, this place a little far from our TV station, it's impossible to eat every day~"