If the Western Union had to choose the most popular dish in Asia, most of the people would pick Japanese food after a short while of thinking. Although the neat flavor was a bit weak to be the favorite dish, it was the most suitable as food that everyone liked more than everywhere.
Jo Minjoon basically liked noodles, so obviously liked ramen. Honestly, just looking at the elasticity, udon was more charming. But there weren’t many udon stores where they properly melted the flavor of the stock to the noodles.
Actually, it was an unavoidable part. The noodles of udon were much thicker compared to ramen, and it was difficult to make the stock sip in the noodles if you weren’t skilled. Of course, if you cooked it for long it was unavoidable for the stock to sip in it, but the elasticity would suffer. Although the story would change a little based on the ratio of the ingredients with the dough and fermentation time, but even if that was the case it could only be weaker than ramen.
That’s why he liked ramen more than udon. It was important to be simple, but what he liked the most was that several flavors of ingredients fitted in like a puzzle, and the result was the simplicity of it. He thought that when ingredients, such as stock and fragrant grasses, char siu and green bean sprouts, green onions, etc. met together with noodles, there was nothing that could follow that.
But even while liking ramen that much, what was in Jo Minjoon’s head right now was sushi. Precisely speaking, dishes related to fish. The reason was simple.
‘3.11 Great Earthquake.’
This earthquake, which was called the 3.11 Great East Japan Earthquake, hadn’t passed for more than half a year. After that, several ingredients that came from Japan that was exposed to radioactivity could only make you doubt about the ingredients. After some years, the Japanese government said that it didn’t affect your body at all, but honestly speaking it was difficult to believe those words.
The last opportunity to eat the founding sushi in the freshest state. After a bit of time passed, even if you had money and power, you wouldn’t be able to have this meal if not for now.
‘I would have to eat a lot of fish.’
Saliva gathered in his mouth. Grilled Atka mackerel, hard-boiled codfish in soy sauce, sushi, etc. It also comforted him that he would be able to eat food with proper white rice in a while. After Grand Chef ended, he stayed in Korea for a while, but after that, he hadn’t been able to eat a proper meal that had white rice and side dishes.
“It feels like you are really expecting it. You seem to be in a better mood than when we went to Olive Island?”
Morning. Anderson looked at him while leaving Tokyo Airport as if it was amazing. Jo Minjoon smiled and said.
While leaving Tokyo Airport, Anderson looked at him as if it was amazing.
“You will probably remember this trip for quite a long while.”
“Why. Because we came for the broadcast?”
“Wait. You will realize it when time comes.”
Jo Minjoon answered with a bitter voice. He felt regret that there was nothing he could do even while knowing that the great earthquake was going to happen. But even so, if he said ‘In March of next year, a great earthquake is going to occur, so evacuate.’ how many crazy people would take his words for granted?
He didn’t return to the past to become a hero or an oracle. Although it hurt his heart, it was now time to focus on cooking and the broadcast. Jo Minjoon turned to look at Martin and asked.
“So how are we going to proceed today?”
“It’s simple. You are going to pair up and go to wherever you want. You don’t have to worry about the meal fees.”
“You are rather generous today.”
“Japan is a leisurely country.”
At Martin’s words, Jo Minjoon glanced at his surroundings. Looking at the road filled with cars, perhaps because it was working time, he couldn’t agree to Martin’s words. Martin continued saying with a calm face.
“Consult among yourselves and make pairs. I won’t butt in.”
Right after Martin finished speaking, Jo Minjoon’s head and Anderson’s head turned. It was Rachel. Next, to her, Jeremy grumbled with a depressed face.
“Even when I get old, it seems like I’m not the type to be popular.”
“Ey, why are you like this. Jeremy. Come with me.”
“Hoho, Will this old man be enough?”
“The experience of an epicurean doesn’t go along with age. I want to feel mine and Jeremy’s experience today.”
Emily smiled brightly and crossed arms with Jeremy. Sera looked at that Emily and smirked.
“To cross arms with another man. Alan would hate it if he saw this.”
“Alan isn’t that small…….. In the first place, what does Alan have to do with this?”
Alan was about to reply instinctively but then glared at her. Sera shrugged her shoulders and turned to look at Jo Minjoon and Anderson. She extended her arms and said with a playful voice.
“One of you two, quickly go away and court me. Rachel. Reject anyone quickly.”
Rachel looked at Anderson and Jo Minjoon with a careful face. But she didn’t think for long. She looked at Anderson with a sorry look.
“Anderson. I want to experience Minjoon’s tasting this time. How about spending this day with a younger and more beautiful lady than me?”
“Yes. I understand.”
Anderson looked a bit sad, but he didn’t say unnecessary remarks and nodded immediately. Rebelling against Rachel’s words was something unimaginable for him. Sera crossed her arms and raised the corner of her mouth.
“It would have been good if you came to me in the first place, right?”
As Anderson’s and Emily’s team disappeared, naturally only Jo Minjoon and Rachel and the cameramen in charge of them along with some staff remained. Jo Minjoon looked at Rachel and asked.
“Teacher. Is there somewhere you recommend?”
“Hm, I wonder. Actually, the restaurants that are in Japan are mostly European restaurants…..At times like this, you have to believe in your feet and nose. How about walking and going somewhere that smells delicious?”
“But in the case of sushi stores, it only smells fishy.”
“You want to eat sushi huh?”
“…….Actually, yes, I’m curious. How does sushi made in Japan taste? There were some people in Korea called sushi masters, but those places were so expensive I couldn’t even think of going.”
“There may also be that, but isn’t it also because you thought that sushi is all the same?”
At Rachel’s smile that was like she knew everything, Jo Minjoon put on an embarrassed smile and nodded.
“Actually it is also like that. In the end, sushi is only about the flavor of the ingredients and rice……I also wonder if there’s a clear difference on how the master grips. How do you think teacher?”
“Minjoon. Do you remember what I said last time? That for the food to become delicious, you have to put your heart in it.”
“If you believe that things you can’t see with your eyes, just like your heart, can change the flavor. Slicing and gripping….. Doesn’t this make things more believable that the long experience can change the flavor?”
Listening to it like that, it seemed acceptable. But he couldn’t think that the method of grasping the rice and slicing the fish is an amazing variable to change the cooking score.
It seemed like those thoughts showed up on his face. Rachel looked at Jo Minjoon with soft eyes and then slightly pinched his cheeks. Jo Minjoon didn’t evade her hand. Rachel seemed like her real grandmother but also aside of that, he felt flustered by whatever Rachel did. Just like his role model and friend Kaya became his comrade, Rachel was a person that was enough for his admiration that lost direction to go to head towards to.
“Let’s go eat something for now. However much I say it with words, it’s not comparable to eating once.”
“You said that you didn’t know anywhere in particular.”
“That’s why we have to find somewhere.”
The place they headed to was a residential street a bit away from the main streets. There were some restaurants that entered your eyes among the streets, and Martin opened his mouth quite some times and told them about old restaurants. There were places that were standing for 50 years and some that boasted its history of 100 years.
While looking that, Jo Minjoon couldn’t hide his envy. Because it was difficult to find a 100-year-old restaurant in Korea. After the war of 6.25, several restaurants cut off their history, but there were also many cases of restaurants that closed their doors because there was no one to follow its legacy. Jo Minjoon opened his mouth.
“Looking that restaurants with long history close its door makes me feel really regrettable.”
“Nowadays there are many cases that they passed on their restaurants to their disciples rather than their kids.”
Rachel spoke like that and looked at Jo Minjoon with a very meaningful face. As the weight in that eyes was too heavy, Jo Minjoon unconsciously ended up turning his eyes away. Rachel laughed softly and asked.
“If I plan to make you my successor, are you confident on being able to carry it on?”
“No. I’m not.”
It was a really blunt answer. Rachel looked at Jo Minjoon with harsh eyes as if reproving him for his lack of confidence. Jo Minjoon spoke carefully.
“I’m like that now. I’m still lacking. But if Teacher Rachel teaches me all that I lack…..even if I have to stay awake all nights, I will make all of that mine. So teach me a lot.”
“…..You are unexpectedly shrewd. In the end, your skills lie in my doings? Ahaha. Good. Challenges are always good even if you get old.”
Rachel laughed freshly and said. And Jo Minjoon stopped his steps. Even while speaking, he was looking at the small signs placed in the restaurants. Even if he didn’t go in, he could see the cooking score of the dishes.
In the cases of sushi stores, even if they were good most of them were at a limit of 6. It wasn’t because they lacked the ability, but because the sushi was basically a simple dish. Then, the guide whispered something in Martin’s ear. Martin soon pointed at the store and said.
“For your information, they say that that store is a 170-year-old store.”
At those words, Jo Minjoon turned his head and then put on a strange expression. Looking at the walls built with windowpanes, and the overall composition it was hard to see that it was 170 years old.
“But the building is rather new.”
“They say that the original building was too old so they had to rebuild it.”
Jo Minjoon let out a moan. It didn’t matter how the building was. But the system window he saw beyond the windows was incomprehensible. There were many dishes that stopped at a cooking score of 5 and he barely saw 7-point dishes, but just like it said, it was bare. Even if sushi was simple, it was a really low score for it to come from a 170-year-old store. Most of all.
‘…..The quality is not good?’
Intermediate. He couldn’t see high. All of the qualities of the sushis were intermediate. Jo Minjoon looked at the expressions of the people and opened his mouth.
“But this store, does it have a good reputation? Compared to its history I think that the quality isn’t good.”
“……Can you know that just by looking at its appearance?”
“Yes. In my eyes, they seem to use intermediate quality fish.”
Martin put a surprised face and then started to talk with the guide. The guide put on a confused face and tilted his head and then grabbed his cell phone and started to search. And then opened his mouth with a surprised expression.
“Ah, certainly the reputation became quite bad in the recent few weeks. The son of the last boss started to run the kitchen, but it seems like he has a lot of lacking points. I’m sorry. It’s been awhile since I didn’t go over there, so I haven’t realized the situation.”
At those words, Martin, the staff, and the cameramen all looked at Jo Minjoon with surprised faces. Rachel nodded with a proud face.
“You certainly have a good understanding towards food. It’s not easy to grasp the state of fish just with your eyes. It seems like you studied a lot.”
“Rather than study….I think I have good senses.”
“There’s no need to act that humble. Efforts end up showing up.”
Rachel looked at Jo Minjoon and put on a smile that wasn’t enough being commendable but also lovely. Jo Minjoon saw that face and ended up laughing unconsciously. Although there was a bit of a misunderstanding in the situation, there was no way he couldn’t feel good when she showed that much of goodwill. Rachel opened her mouth.
“As you are this well-versed, I will be able to entrust choosing the restaurant to Minjoon. Then, pre-teacher, will you escort me?”
“I will do my best.”
Jo Minjoon smiled faintly and slightly lifted his elbow. Rachel placed her hand on that arm and slowly moved. If only they weren’t from different races, they would have been seen as mother and son with quite a good relationship. They were friendly to that point.
He checked the insides of the kitchen through the window one by one. Of course, there were cases that he couldn’t see the score over the dishes because there were no customers, but in the first place, there was no way a restaurant with no customers would be a delicious one.
It was then. Jo Minjoon, that walked for a bit, stopped in front of a store. There were quite a lot of customers, but there were many like this among the ones they passed over. However, Jo Minjoon’s sight was precisely fixed over the dishes. Most were 7 points. On top of that, there was also one sushi with a score of 8. Jo Minjoon unconsciously burst out of laughter.
‘Egg sushi huh.’
“Let’s enter here.”
“Does it seem different to the other places?”
“Yes. The quality is good, and most of all the shape of the rice and the texture of the fish certainly seems alive.”
Honestly speaking, the last words were just to moderately praise. Because he couldn’t say ‘the cooking score is high. Let’s enter.’. But at that moment, the guide whispered something to Martin with a surprised face.
“That store is a comparatively new sushi store. Only people that know about it come. I know that someone who was in charge of Japanese cuisine in a hotel of Shanghai ws running it. The reputation is so good it’s a candidate to enter the Michelin. No, but who is that person? Even if he was someone strongly familiar with Japanese sushi, I couldn’t see anyone that could grasp the quality with their eyes like that……..”
The guide looked at Jo Minjoon as if scrutinizing him. Martin and the guide looked at Jo Minjoon, and Martin mumbled enjoyingly.
“He’s the cooking fairy that god Gave me.”
< The hands of a master (1) >
(PR Note: I’m excited for this arc. Japanese food~!)
TL: Sponsored by cool guy Cody B. Thanks cody!
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa