“That was the creepiest thing I heard in this trip. I imagined it. Please, don’t say those things anymore.”
“If you are a woman, it’s unavoidable to get thoughts like this.”
Sera smirked and answered. Jeremy groaned but he didn’t talk back. It was certainly a good picture. Because the two of them had good looks. He thought that it wasn’t impossible for girls to think like that.
‘……….It’s not the time to be thinking about these things.’
Jeremy cleared his throat and said.
“Actually there aren’t many places nowadays that only focus making food on a single country. Even if they got accustomed to junk food, it’s a clear truth that there are more epicureans than before. And most of them want fun things.”
“Ah, are you saying that normal foods aren’t fun because they have already eaten it and are accustomed to it?”
“You got half right. People have improved a lot nowadays, and try a lot of new things……but honestly speaking, while trying those new things you end up mixing up things of other countries. On top of that, you have the infinite potential of a culture of another country…..So is there a reason to try to find something new in only one country?”
At Jeremy’s words, Sera nodded as if she agreed. Sera looked at Jo Minjoon and said.
“But anyways, aren’t you putting in too much devotion on expression the flavor even when you are a chef?”
“It’s precisely because I am a chef.”
“That you can do both things. Cooking, and tasting. On top of that, you are good on both things.”
“It has it’s strong and weak points. From now on, your life will continue being like this. You are going to be able roam the world, feel the care of the people of that town and the restaurant, and also be able to try new and charming food like today’s. It’s a life I can’t have.”
“Are you consoling me?”
“It clearly is not meant to tease you.”
Jo Minjoon talked like that and smiled brightly.
The next thing they ordered was sushi. Samuel said with a voice with strength.
“I tried my best to make sushi more delicious than that of a sushi restaurant.”
“…….Is that possible? I recently got this thought while going to some sushi stores, but the flavor clearly got different depending on how you gripped the rice, the shape, how precise you were on slicing the fish, etc. Do you perhaps have a sushi master here?”
“No, there are none. And that’s because I pondered all the more. How will I be able to make an excellent sushi without an experienced veteran. I also thought about giving up sushi on my menu, but I didn’t want to give up on…….. sushi when I handled fusion food in Japan.”
“Then how……Ah, is it……”
The doubt in Jo Minjoon’s eyes washed off in an instant. He opened his mouth as if he got the answer.
“You decided to win with your recipe.”
“……How did you know?”
“I also thought the same. If I were to make sushi, how will I bring out the best quality. The reason was only one. Good ingredients, and a perfect recipe. It wasn’t only for sushi, but also on other things. To complement my lacking hand skills, I will have to at least roll my head harder.”
His voice was weird. It was kind of bitter, but there was some refreshing tone at the end. Samuel smiled brightly and asked.
“So did you complement it?”
“I have to keep trying. But complementing was also kind of fun.”
There was a sincere smile on Jo Minjoon’s mouth. He liked cooking. And saying that he loved him wouldn’t be an exaggeration either. That was the reason he decided to walk in this path. Now the wall and the mountain in front of his eyes….He was able to take that in happily even when it made him feel stuffed and regret.
[……I’m jealous. There’s nothing better than living off doing what you like.]
[It would be fun when he even has talent on what he likes to do. His life itself would be fun.]
[But the more I see, there’s something I find weird. I think that Minjoon thinks of himself as lacking a lot. Do I have to see it as something good because he is humble or that he’s stupid? Looking at how he speaks it seems like he is full of confidence.]
[He would say those words because his objective is so high that he’s not satisfied with his current self. I rather like that greedy side of Jo Minjoon.]
Words about him poured on the chat, but Jo Minjoon didn’t react. It was embarrassing to answer something to those words, and he didn’t want to show that he was glad nor sad at the words of others.
The dish came out. There were three kinds of sushi. One was a chicken norimaki covered in a kale leaf, the other was a square shaped sushi box that was a mixture of several kinds of fishes, and the last one was a sea eel with a crispy skin.
And that wasn’t even one. The sea eel sushi was 8 points, so excluding that one the remaining two were 9 points. On top of that, the composition score wasn’t normal. 10 points. It meant that the combination of the three was perfect.
‘Just how good is it…..’
Jo Minjoon fell in his thoughts for a moment. He was thinking about eating the eel sushi first or the other two first. But fortunately, Jo Minjoon’s pondering wasn’t long. Samuel opened his mouth.
“There’s an order on eating this sushi. First, eat this norimaki.”
At Samuel’s words, Jo Minjoon carefully lifted the norimaki. The rice grains that were covered in kale were holding each other just like glutinous rice. Although there was chicken meat and a side of okra showing off, at first glance it seemed just like an unripe red pepper.
[Ah, I want to eat it.]
[Why am I watching this when my fridge is empty.]
When he brought it close to his nose and smelled it, he could sense the smell of sweet soy sauce that was emanated from the okra, the chicken and the kale leaf. It seemed just like teriyaki sauce. It was when Jo Minjoon put the norimaki in his mouth with expectation.
A reflexive moan came out. ALthough some in the chat said that it was a hollywood action, but that wasn’t it. It was the power of it being a 9 points dish that controlled people. THe texture of the okra that was felt beyond the kale was remarkable. The skin that seemed to be between the peas and the bell pepper ripped, and the corn seeds that were inside of it made him feel like he was drinking a carbonated drink.
Taking into account that the rice grains were sticked together like glutinous rice, it’s exterior was just too soft. And in the middle of that, the soft and round texture of the chicken leg meat was added so…..It was to the point that you wouldn’t have anything else to ask for.
And the teriyaki sauce also wasn’t a normal one either. Because it had a faint aroma in it. Jo Minjoon got amazed and said.
“You put nutmeg in the teriyaki sauce?”
“You really got it right.”
Samuel looked at him as if expected from an absolute taste. Jo Minjoon said with an uncomfortable face.
“ANyone can get this much right.”
“……I also got it right.”
Anderson slightly opened his mouth and then flushed at the gathering sights.
“What, can’t I get it right?”
“Well, it was unexpected. I thought that you weren’t the type to participate in these things.”
Anderson turned his head. Samuel looked at Jo Minjoon. There was expectation on his face as to what impression would come out. Absolute taste. He could only be curious as to how his food would be felt to someone that has the most sensitive tongue.
However he didn’t ask. At least for no, he wanted to be considerate to Jo Minjoon. Samuel pressed down his desires and said.
“When the flavor seems to disappear, eat the eel sushi. Ah, and you can’t eat ginger in between. Because this is no different than a single dish.”
Jo Minjoon raised the eel sushi as if he couldn’t understand well. Looking that the external skin was swelled up, it didn’t seem as if they had just fried the eel. Did the slightly smear flour or starch? The strange point was that the eel wasn’t the last, but the middle. Fried food, and on top of that when it was eel, it could only influence strongly without caring what dish came after that. He thought that it would be more suitable for the eel to come out last.
However, everything would have a reason. If not, it was impossible to have a composition score of 10. Jo Minjoon ate the eel sushi while in half in doubt.
There seemed to be some kind of sauce below the eel, although he couldn’t see it, but the moment he bit it he thought he could know what it was even without the help of the system. A texture that was as soft as cream, the aroma of ginger and garlic that catches the fishy smell, and a sweet flavor that makes you think of fruits. It was pure. One made by mixing fruit, ginger, and garlic.
Jo Minjoon started to guess without looking at the system. Was it because he had trained like this quite a few times? The precision in which his tongue felt the flavors was different.
That was particularity his environment gave him. Consciousness and hard work to have a tongue that meets the expectation of the world. Not even the many epicureans focused on guessing the ingredients right like this. And even if they did, they couldn’t be certain as to what was actually in it. Because considerable chefs didn’t tell you all of the ingredients that entered their dish.
However Jo Minjoon could know the ingredients even if the chef told him or not. When other epicureans solved the problem but weren’t sure as to it being right or wrong, Jo Minjoon had the perfect answer sheet called the ‘system’. The difference was clear.
And right now.
‘……..Sudachi, honey, pear……no. This is faintly different to the fresh flavor. What could there be that is similar. Ah, right. Watermelon. It is watermelon. And…….’
After Jo Minjoon thought of all the ingredients, he looked at the system. And then smiled. He got it all right. Anderson, that was looking him at the side, frowned and said.
“What are you mumbling? Ingredients?”
“……Ah, did I mumble?”
“You were really immersed huh.””
At Anderson’s words, Jo Minjoon smiled awkwardly. Was it because of the freshness of the pure. Not feeling any fishy smell of the eel and getting it all right. He was proud of himself. It was then. Jo Minjoon read a comment on the chat.
[Did you see just now. As Jo Minjoon smells, Anderson sees that and follows him, and also chews the same time Jo Minjoon chews. He was really aware of him.]
‘………Is he really that aware of me?’
He did understand that a bit, but also felt a bit of regret. Because there was quite a big gap on Jo Minjoon’s real skills and the talent that was exposed. Maybe he was working harder because of that Anderson. Just like Anderson wanted to become a suitable rival of Jo Minjoon, Jo Minjoon also didn’t want Anderson to take him as a mistake anymore.
Was it because he felt like that? Jo Minjoon’s expression that was about to eat the last sushi was more serious than ever. But there was also the point that his expectation was bigger because that past two dishes served like a preparation. Just how ideal would the finishing touch be……
There were three kinds of fishes piled up on the sushi box. When he smelled it, he smelled a complicated aroma. It did seem like soy sauce, but there was no way he could know what else was put in it.
The flavor was rare. Aside of being delicious or not, he could only get perplexed at the unfamiliar flavor. First, it was clear as to what the fishes were. Back of a salmon, tuna belly, and the external meat of a rockfish. The simple flavor of the salmon, the oily flavor of the tuna and the chewy flavor of the rockfish combined just like one fish. But what was special……
“The flavors are different……”
Jo Minjoon mumbled with an absent voice. It was just like he had said. Maybe they had fermented the fishes beforehand, that the flavor of the soy sauce in the fishes were faintly different. Some were salty, some sweet, and some were sour.
He couldn’t see the recipe. It was obvious because it was a 9 points dish. Originally, he would have just given up. But it was different today. Was it because of the complimenting words towards his sense of taste? Or because of the clean and simple rivalry he had with Anderson. And if none of the two were it, because of Rachel’s and Samuel’s, etc. warm eyes?
Jo Minjoon analyzed. Worked hard to do so. He focused on all the information reaching the tip of his tongue. He didn’t care what his eyes saw or his ears heard. And then, opened his mouth.
“The tuna………you rested it in wasabi soy sauce. Maybe it was because of the oil that you added some juices……..and also pear. The rockfish is the one that gets chewed the longest. Maybe it’s because of that that you rested it in vinegar soy sauce that has some pomegranate aroma and made it so the aroma lasted until the end. For the salmon, you rested it in a brewed soy sauce that’s a bit watery. Am I right?”
Samuel smiled brightly.
“Why are you like this so suddenly? You got it all right until now.”
Jo Minjoon just showed a trembling smile instead of replying. It wasn’t amazing. Normal and simple. However he got it right. He had read the field that the system didn’t allow him to. With his tongue.
One step. It was merely one step…
But he had certainly made it.
< Global & Local (3) > End
Translator : Subak
Proofreader : Saihikawa