Ch8 – Shrimp Xiao Long Bao
Ruan Tang was unaware of what had happened last night. He slept for a long time and only woke up when his stomach started to make ‘gu gu’ rumbling sounds. He rubbed his tummy and couldn’t help but miss dearly the varied options for breakfast takeaway from his previous life. If he could order some takeaway now and go back to sleep that would be the pinnacle of happiness.
“–No, no! I’m going to get out of bed and do a broadcast.”
Ruan Tang muttered under his breath. He clutched his quilt and rolled around the bed a few times before slowly sitting up.
He skillfully opened the light brain and went to the shopping site to search through the ingredients. Ever since he found out that the Academy would release new safe ingredients at unknown times, he had developed this habit lest he miss something good.
It had already been several days since the Academy had introduced potatoes but based on his assumptions, the Academy probably wouldn’t be introducing something new yet. However, a quick search through the site revealed some writing in bright blue.
“!!!” Ruan Tang’s eyes suddenly opened wide. He scrolled back up on the interface and his face showed a pleasantly surprised smile.
It was shrimp!
Shrimp was one of Ruan Tang’s most favorite foods. No matter whether it was deep fried, steamed, baked, stir-fried, each one had its own special flavor. The taste of shrimp was very hard to cover up. No matter which method was used, it was difficult to cover up its deliciousness. It was a godly ingredient that tasted good no matter how you prepared it.
Seeing the very fresh and big live shrimp, Ruan Tang visualized the hundred different ways to cook shrimp — oil braised prawns, shrimp braised in soy sauce, hot and fragrant shrimp, spiced salt shrimp, Yuxiang prawns, drunken shrimp, golden pheonix tail prawns, cucumber brewed fresh shrimp, golden pineapple shrimp, cola braised shrimp, american style baked shrimp…
It’s just that thinking about it, made him unable to stop from drooling. But he quickly calmed down. With his body in its current condition, he couldn’t eat anything too greasy or heavy and it was only just breakfast. It was best to eat something light.
Ruan Tang only hesitated a bit before deciding that this morning, he would make Shrimp Xiao Long Bao.
Soup dumplings were actually Ruan Tang’s hometown’s traditional snack. Each one was small, and could be eaten in one bite. The plump dumplings would burst in your mouth filling it with delicious juices. Pairing it with a small plate of vinegar and chili and a small bowl of soup on the side — the flavor was simply heavenly.
However, if he wanted to make steamed dumplings, he would need a steamer. He was sure there was no such thing in this kitchen so he immediately went on the shopping site’s kitchen utensils section to look for one. If there was none available then he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to make dumplings today.
Fortunately, the shopping site’s utensil section was pretty comprehensive and had everything one needed for cooking. Most of them were reconstructed by the Academy based on the records found in an ancient book. However, they still weren’t able to research the concrete uses of each tool and so the price of these were very cheap. In the description box for these items was written, “Restored kitchen tool, specific use yet unknown.”
Ruan Tang scrolled through the listing of kitchen utensils, however since his balance was limited, he could only buy a steamer, rolling pin and mixer for now.
Aside from these, he also bought a piece of pork leg, pig skin, fresh prawns and some other ingredients. He also bought more preservation boxes like the ones used by the intergalactic express delivery.
While waiting for his orders to arrive, Ruan Tang reclined against the sofa in the living room while sipping some milk the smart butler had warmed for him. Watching the smart butler conscientiously sweeping the room, he thought that this kind of life was simply perfect.
It was true that he could cook very well. However cooking was the only thing he liked. He wasn’t all that good with other chores, like washing dishes, dusting tables or sweeping. Before, he would feel unwell whenever he looked at the piles of dishes that needed washing after he finished cooking. Requesting a kindly and long-term maid to do the cleaning was also awkward. Thankfully, now, there was Xiao Bai and he no longer needed to worry about this problem.
One moment he would be cooking and the next moment Xiao Bai would have already cleaned up the kitchen. Everything was arranged very neatly and tidily. He could simply be counted as the best partner.
In ten minutes, the delivery had already arrived. Xiao Bai brought in the new kitchen implements and set them up according to Ruan Tang’s arrangement. He also brought the ingredients to the kitchen, waiting for Ruan Tang to use them.
Once everything was in order, Ruan Tang was all smiles as he patted Xiao Bai’s shoulder, “You’re so hard working, Xiao Bai.” He then simply started the live broadcast.
Without waiting for his usual introduction, the screen was already flooded with all sort of flowers and fireworks. Notifications on the homepage came one after the other. Small crystals rained “pitter-patter” unto the floor. Ruan Tang almost thought he had mistakenly entered someone else’s broadcast room.
The live chat was also densely packed, you couldn’t make out any single message.
Ruan Tang instinctively looked at the viewer count and found that it had actually exceed 160,000.
Just what the hell has happened???
Ruan Tang was a little dazed and double checked the broadcast room name. That’s his name alright….so where did this sudden explosion in popularity come from? Did something happen last night that he wasn’t aware of?
Seeing that the number of viewers was still skyrocketing, almost swamping the broadcast room. Ruan Tang immediately set the speech interval to 20 seconds and increased the authority to speak to level 2. The situation in the broadcast room finally settled down a bit. Although there were still innumerable people who are able to speak, they sensed the anchor’s helplessness and controlled their sulking. They now refrained from swamping the live chat.
Ruan Tang finally relaxed a bit. After all, in his previous life, he was a food vlogger with millions of fans. After being dazed a bit, he promptly dusted off his professional skills. Although the audience couldn’t see his face, he still put on a smile and said, “Good morning, everyone. I’m your anchor, Ruan Tang. I’m thankful that there are so many companions here who like and support me. Today, I will be making Shrimp Xiao Long Bao. I hope everyone enjoys it.”
[Singing in happiness: Shrimp? What is this thing?]
[Honey Summer: Shrimp is the new safe ingredient that the Academy released. It hasn’t been out for two hours yet, how can the anchor already know how to use this?]
[Miao Miao loves to eat fish: I don’t know why but the anchor has just mentioned the name and I’m already salivating.]
[Can’t stop hugging trees: In any case, anything that the anchor makes will be delicious! Also requesting the anchor to open shop today!]
“First off, we will need to use pork skin to make pork skin jelly.” Ruan Tang already had a pot of boiling water. After repeatedly washing clean the pork skin, he put it into the pot and let it boil for a few minutes.
After fishing it out, he used the knife to scrape off the fat, the remaining hair on the surface and other impurities.
However, while nothing was happening yet, there was unexpectedly someone already cursing at him in the live chat.
[Old Jack: Newbie anchors are no good. All day they only think about pleasing the public with claptrap. This was just released by the Academy two hours ago and yet he already dares to make food with it? How can he already know how to use it? It can’t be that he’s just gonna boil it in a pot and then fish it out to let people eat it!]
[Mie Ba: That’s right! You don’t even know if eating this will cause problems! And there’s this pig skin too, isn’t it disgusting? Eating a mouthful of hair, I’m gonna vomit!]
This was the first time Ruan Tang had received such criticism since his first broadcast. Although his mood was depressed a bit, it could still be considered good overall. So much so that Ruan Tang even felt that this sort of wrathful appearance was kind of cute in a stupid way. “Shrimp and pig skin are safe ingredients that the Academy has released after many rounds of testing. Also, I seem to recall a star-rank chef using pig skin. There’s no need to worry that you’ll get sick once you eat it.”
[Xiao Qiu: If you don’t want to eat it, then go to someone else’s broadcast. I believe in the anchor’s ability to turn the foul and rotten into the rare and ethereal! I’m sure what he makes will be exceptionally delicious!]
“Xiao Qiu” was Qiu Lin’s star network identity. After having tasted the fish congee and the potato and beef belly noodles, she had completely turned into Ruan Tang’s brainless fangirl. She also converted to this strange fraction that believed that “Processing ingredients to produce the best tasting dishes is the highest form of love and only way to bring them justice”.
[Small transparent: That’s right! Don’t want to eat then leave! No one’s forcing you to eat! Do you have the ability to question the anchor? Do you have the ability to question the Academy?]
Quite a number of viewers stepped up to fight for justice on Ruan Tang’s behalf. These viewers for the most part, have already seen Ruan Tang’s recorded broadcasts. Watching him cook fish had already let them experience going from doubting their life to wanting to prostate themselves before him in worship. Their belief in Ruan Tang’s skill was indescribable. Moreover, the anchor hadn’t even begun yet the formal cooking process, yet these people already jumped out and dared to question the anchor, what exactly were they blaming him for?
Ruan Tang smiled faintly and returned to concentrating on what he was doing. Facts speak louder than words. Wait after he had finished the shrimp xiao long bao, then he would no longer need to explain anything.
His movements were very nimble as he cut up the pig skin into fine strips and then he put them all back into the pot mixed together with ginger and clear water. He first used high heat to boil it and then lowered it to stew for a while.
“Now, we are going to knead the dough.” The process of kneading the dough was no longer unfamiliar to those who’ve watching his previous video. After mixing the flour with warm water and after repeated kneading, it finally became a smooth and non-sticky dough.
Using the time to let the dough rest, Ruan Tang started making the stuffing.
He washed the pork leg meat until it was clean and then used the knife to cut it up into tiny pieces, repeating it over and over until he had minced meat. He them lumped it up into a plump disk. It looked like a piece of moss after the rain.
[Xiao Jiang Si: What do I do? It’s just a lump of minced meat but my mouth’s already watering!]
“Next, we’ll be making ginger and scallion juice to get rid of the meat’s fishy taste.” Ruan Tang chopped up the fresh ginger and fragrant scallion and threw them into the mixer. After filtering out the impurities he was left with a clear bowlful of green ginger and scallion juice.
Truthfully, to get rid of the meat’s fishy taste, using cooking wine was best. However, the Academy has yet to reproduce cooking wine so he had to make do with the ginger-scallion juice as a substitute.
The glittering green of the ginger and scallion juice against the white porcelain bowl looked particularly alluring. Someone couldn’t contain their curiosity and reached out to have a taste, and then…….
[Miao Miao loves to eat fish: Aaaaaahhhhh! It stings! My tongue is going to burn right off!]
[Can’t stop hugging trees: This green juice tastes just awful!!!!!! My poor tongue! Aaaaah!]
Seeing these two clowns, Ruan Tang couldn’t help but give a quiet laugh, “I told you that was a condiment we’re going to use to get rid of the fishy taste. Now why did you go and drink it?”
[Bronze: Because it looked really good. I thought it might be the legendary xiangcha (tea leaves]scented with flowers) I also wanted to taste it, thank goodness, I didn’t make it in time o(╯□╰)o]
Ruan Tang chuckled and gently shook his head. He then seasoned the meat with white sugar, soy sauce and salt. While mixing it together, he was also slowly adding in the ginger and scallion juice.
“Everyone, pay attention. When mixing the meat, you must mix it in one direction only. Mix it until the meat and the condiments have joined together completely.”
After the filling was done, the pork skin was already also boiled to just about right. Ruan Tang then took the broth rendered from the pork skin and placed it in a preservation box, letting it cool a bit before putting it into the freezer.
“After half an hour, the pork skin jelly should be done. We’ll use this time to make the Xiao Long Bao’s outer skin.” Ruan Tang skillfully used all of the idle time, unwilling to let the spectators sit around in vain in order to avoid letting them feel bored.
He took the dough which had already been resting for a while and pressed it against the chopping board. He then shaped it into a long strip. Some viewers were guessing that he was making noodles when he suddenly cut the strip into small plump sections.
[Working the night shift everyday: Ah, so it turns out that we’re not making noodles?]
Ruan Tang cast some dry flour on top of the small lumps of dough. He then used his palm to rub each lump of dough for a bit, letting the flour coat them evenly.
He pressed the lump of dough against the table top, using his palm to press down from above. Then he intentionally lowered his voice and said, “Next, I’m going to show you something wonderful.”
He reached out his right hand and grabbed a rolling pin. Holding the edge of the flattened lump between his fingers, he kept rotating the lump bit by bit, while simultaneously running the rolling pin over it. In a moment, there appeared before the viewers’ eyes a light, smooth and round piece of dough skin.
[Miao Miao loves to eat fish: My god! How did he do that?]
[Can’t stop hugging trees: I blinked for just a second and that lump of dough turned into that?]
[Seven treasures: Requesting the anchor to slow down a bit!]
“This process is called rolling out dumpling skins, the secret is to exert all your strength when you roll against the edge. It will make the dumpling skin turn. Everyone who’s interested can try it out themselves at home.” Ruan Tang’s movements were incessant, he turned all the lumps of dough into thin sheets of dumpling skin. Only exclamations of admiration were left on the live chat.
“Now, we can start processing the shrimps.”
Once he mentioned shrimp, Ruan Tang was full of motivation. He took out a basin full of live shrimp. The curled up blue green bodies of the shrimp lay inside, the long feelers lazily swaying. Ruan Tang placed the basin of shrimp underneath the tap and then began to wash them clean. He then chose a particularly vigorous shrimp and using kitchen shears quickly snipped off the shrimp head that still had its eyes wide open.
This sort of action which was worthy of being called as “cutting off someone’s head and displaying it as a deterrent” obviously caused a portion of the viewers to feel unwell. Those who’ve already watched his previous broadcasts knew that the anchor had his own way of thinking. Still, numerous confused questions came up.
Ruan Tang didn’t pay them any mind and just continued to cut off the shrimp heads. Afterwards, he started to poke out the shrimp’s digestive track. However, in this short span of time, the live chat suddenly became uncontrollable.
[ID3838438: What kind of broadcast is this? Making food can be this bloody? Isn’t the platform controlling this?]
[Gaining lasting repose by one supreme effort: That’s right! During the previous broadcast when he disemboweled that fish, it really made me want to vomit! I say, this kind of broadcast promoting such bloody violence should directly be banned! How can we let children watch this? Won’t they turn into perverts who like this kind of sadistic killing?]
[Old Jack: Hehe, look, he snipped off the shrimp head, peeled off its skin, cut open its back and even took out its intestines! This could serve as a model for torture. Let me ask you, did these shrimps dig out your grandfather’s grave? I think this anchor has violent tendencies. Asking the platform to shut down this “gourmet” broadcast!]
A lot of these types of comments were coming in, even managing to persuade those viewers who were looking on from the sidelines. One after the other, they asked Ruan Tang to stop being so ruthless and bloody, to adhere to moral standards, to not lead astray the youth…even though Ruan Tang’s temperament has always been gentle, he couldn’t help but feel a bit dejected.
This kind of unanimous criticism, was actually really abnormal, and Ruan Tang caught a hint of those water armies and professional sunspots from his previous life.
Ruan Tang could still be considered calm and cool-headed, capable of controlling his emotions. However, those viewers who have been with him since the start were being angered to the point of exploding.
[Can’t stop hugging trees: What is with you people! You’re all driving me mad! If you hate cruelty then don’t eat meat! You want to eat meat but think that processing it is cruel, how can you be such hypocrites!]
[Miao Miao loves to eat fish: Wasn’t the broadcast on fish scarier than this one? Everyone, please don’t be impulsive and believe in the anchor!]
[Nine Moons: Those who aren’t willing to eat should leave! No one’s asking you to stay!]
However, their explanations produced no effect at all, instead they were singled out and used as an example and were instantly flung with dozens of abuse.
[Smooth Sailing: Look, look, here’s a case of brainwashing already. You don’t think this kind of thing is cruel because, of course, you’ve already been turned into a pervert!]
[ID741492: Stop trying to defend the criminal. Why don’t you go back and kneel before you master, hm? You sadists!]
Whenever these old viewers who would try to explain on behalf of Ruan Tang would say anything, they would always be cursed out by these people as defending a wrongdoer, and they would also be labeled as “perverts”. After all, their numbers were small and they simply didn’t have enough power to fight against this many people. They were all angry to the point of tears.
Seeing all those viewers who have always been supporting him receive such abuse, even though Ruan Tang had a good temperament, at this moment even he couldn’t keep down his anger. He couldn’t help but slam down the knife against the chopping board and shout out.
He did his best to push down his anger and explain, “Inside the shrimp’s head are its internal organs, what we extracted from its back is its intestines. These two areas can easily breed germs and impurities, therefore they need to be dealt with immediately.”
“If you have something you don’t understand, you can ask me. You can curse at me but you mustn’t insult innocent viewers!”
However, it was evident that they didn’t believe his explanation. These IDs who from the very start took the lead in stirring up trouble once again flooded the live chat.
[Old Jack: Just because you say so makes it so? Has the chef association and the Academy approved this? You’re talking shit! If someone eats this and they met with a mishap, will you take responsibility? I think you’re deliberately out to harm people!]
[Smooth Sailing: What breed bacteria?! You’ve come up with so many excuses just because you want to sadistically kill animals!]
[Gaining lasting repose by one supreme effort: I think this anchor is just a sadistic madman! Murderer! Maybe afterwards he’s still going to do something! I don’t know where this illegal anchor came from. The food he makes are nothing special, his marketing though is something else. Now, he’s torturing shrimp, later, is he going to start dissecting people and say doing this could make it tasty? Trash anchor! Get lost! Go!]
[ID741492: Trash anchor! Leave! Leave! Leave!]
He didn’t understand what was going on. Suddenly the live chat was filled with the same thing, all of them were demanding Ruan Tang to leave. It could be said that this live chat was complete lacking any logic or rationality. It was entirely made of insults and abuse. However this kind of group would also incite the sentiment of many people and they too started to raise a cry, asking Ruan Tang to leave the broadcasting circle, for a sentence of 80 years!
Ruan Tang’s whole body trembled in anger, with this many people pointing at his nose and cursing him, even if he were to once again rely on his glib tongue, it would be difficult to refute this many voices.
He couldn’t help but to clench his teeth.
And then suddenly, at this moment, starlight streamed down from above the broadcasting room and then the entire surface of the broadcasting room transformed to look like a star filled sky. Extremely beautiful shooting stars shot through the horizon, resolutely covering up those hate-filled comments.
One of the shooting stars landed on Ruan Tang’s palm and changed into a small resplendent star.
A platform-wide announcement suddenly refreshed on top of the broadcast room.
“User ‘HE’ has gifted the anchor a meteor shower.”
[HE: Utter nonsense.]