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Tang Jinyu and Guo Xiaohu together delivered the express delivery all afternoon. They were crowded and delivered quickly, but they didn’t have much money in hand, saving a few cents for one hundred and ten yuan.
Tang Jinyu counted and put the money in his pocket, “I’ll take it first, and give it to stars tonight for her to keep it together.”
The people around agreed. Tang Jinyu told his old classmates who lived far away to go back home first. He called home and said that he would ate outside and would be back later.
After Guo Xiaohu heard this, he didn’t rush to go, and stood aside and asked, “Xiaoyu, where are you going?”
Tang Jinyu said, “Yesterday my mother said that it’s good to eat at a healthy restaurant.”
Guo Xiaohu squatted and said: “I’ll go with you, I also like to eat healthy, I will ask you to eat…”
Tang Jinyu laughed and nodded, “I will treat you for the steam buns, but you may have to do some work before you can eat them, okay?”
Guo Xiaohu said yes immediately, very excited.
Tang Jinyu took him to a Su Zhai restaurant on Ronghua Road. The decoration was high-end and elegant. The waiters wore uniform cheongsams and they served dishes in a flowing manner. Just looking at the service attitude was enough to please the eyes. However, the price was really expensive. There were only five golden silk scrolls in a small cage, and the asking price was more than 20 yuan. The steamed buns that Guo Xiaohu bought yesterday were only 20 cents apiece, and based on the price range here, this was definitely high consumption here.
The decoration of the lobby was also good. There were several private rooms upstairs, and there were less than ten tables downstairs. About half of the guests were now seated, and some people were coming over, and business here seemed okay.
Guo Xiaohu has money in his family, but he was poor now. He has eaten a few yuan’s boxed lunch in a hotel of thousands of dollars. But he usually buys sneakers for brand-name sportswear and spends more money. He has come to such a restaurant before, but that was back then, and right now he doesn’t have much money in his pocket, so he was a little embarrassed.
Tang Jinyu didn’t stay in the hall, and led him through the small door directly to the back kitchen.
The master chef at the back kitchen was setting the plate. After he was done, he saw him and smiled and said, “Is that you Xiao Tang? You came at the right time, I just finished.”
Tang Jinyu smiled and waited, and even talked to the master. He could say a word or two about everything, which made the master feel better.
The master wiped his hand and came over and asked: “Can you make soup dumplings?”
Tang Jinyu said: “Yes, I have practiced since I was a child, and I have improved my skills. This is what I am good at.”
The master said: “Okay, come with me and try to pack a few. Let’s sell some buns here at night. Let’s pack a few big ones first, and let me see your craftsmanship.”
Guo Xiaohu’s mind was in the clouds, he leaned closer and asked in a low voice: “Didn’t you practice piano since childhood?”
Tang Jinyu raised his hand and shook it in front of his eyes, and then lowered his voice: “Appropriate packaging, anyway, it’s all handwork. Don’t worry, I really know how to.”
Guo Xiaohu was full of doubts, he had never heard that Tang Jinyu can cook.
Tang Jinyu followed the master, changed his apron and washed his hands, and sat in a row of buns.
He moves too fast, the stuffing of the big buns was soft. In fact, the difficulty was not small, but the pleats of the pinch were clearer. The master deliberately wants to see how good his craftsmanship is. After a few packages were finished, the master was happy. , “Oh, you really practiced since you were young. You are quite skilled. The pleats are also good and the mouth is neat. Let’s start today… Is this one of your classmates?”
Guo Xiaohu stood and didn’t know what to say, Tang Jinyu said for him: “No, he’s here to help, don’t worry, master, I will take care of him, and he will tag along for a few days.”
The master patted Guo Xiaohu’s arm, and squeezed it twice, “I saw that his body is so strong, not like a work-study student, haha!”
Guo Xiaohu had a big red face. He was usually nourished and he was indeed strong.
Tang Jinyu was sitting on the buns, he moved fast and steady. After a while, the master let him pinch the steamed buns. They were put into a snack category, and they had to be treated more delicately. But they also paid him more. So once the cash was settled, he took care of their meal.
Tang Jinyu went to Chen Suling’s secretary and asked the secretary to introduce him. He didn’t say what his identity was, and only said that he was a hardworking student. He wanted to explore the way just like Xiaoji did. The job here was relatively easier, and he also sometimes gets a free meal. After more than three hours of work, he would still be able to take care of his family and study by himself in the evening.
He thought very carefully, and calculated the route. After crossing this street, he would have to walk a little further to school, and would have to hurry up in order to not be late to class.
(T/N: I am pretty sure that Xiaoyu is referring to Xiaoji here, and not himself)
Guo Xiaohu struggled to pinch the buns but failed. He tried one and didn’t dare to try again. He turned around and helped the chef at the back to carry the vegetables several times, and also carried two bags of rice.
When he came back, Tang Jinyu had already gotten acquainted with the people around him.
”Xiao Tang, you pinch the other way around, yes yes, the most famous one that we have is this tofu bun, which, in turn, is steamed and served in a basket, but the flavor is different from the others.”
”Master, like this?”
”Yes, it’s done in one go, nothing is wrong!”
”It’s the master who made the noodles so well. It’s white and soft at first glance. The dough can be filled with as much stuffing as possible. I will definitely learn more from you when I come back. This unique craft can’t be lost.”
The master was very comfortable, and within half an hour the two of them had begun to talk intimately.
Tang Jinyu mentioned Xiaoji’s affairs to him, and it caused the master to sign with emotion: “I wonder why someone like you would come out to work at such a young age. It turned out to be like this. In the early years, it was not easy for people of our generation to run around and eat. My skills were all slowly honed. Before I never had the chance to study, I came out on my own during the 14th Five-Year Plan period. I heard that your classmate is also an honest child. In this way, you let him come.”
The master thought for a while, and added, “For two hours of work in the morning and evening, this also goes for you. I will pay for his two meals, and the salary is as I told you. I will pay him 1,500 yuan a month, and if you are late, I will deduct a few yuan. But if you work hard enough, I’ll give him more money, and it should be enough for tuition. Let’s try for a few months, and see if your classmate can go to school!”
Tang Jinyu was very happy and nodded, “Yes, I will bring him over tomorrow, thank you!”
The master smiled, they were not busy right now. He instructed Tang Jinyu how to mix the fillings. The old and the young talked very happily. The master’s unique secret recipe was revealed a little bit, and he mentioned the tip of it. He coughed a few times, and walked away with his hands behind his back.
Tang Jinyu sat there and continued to pinch the steamed dumplings. His movements were very fast. Although the master was not here, there were others still there. His smile was clean and refreshing. He was half their age, but he was quick and diligent, and soon became acquainted with the chef in the kitchen.
Guo Xiaohu was stunned when he moved back to see him, thinking that his old classmate was a bit amazing.
This was a lot of work to do, not only has things been done, but also a lot of little gossip about the back chef.
Tang Jinyu worked for two hours and received his payment. He smiled and said, “I was only here to train here in advance, you already saw if we were capable, and we agreed that if we weren’t paid for the first day, you can just take care of our meal.”
The master thought the child was too honest, and he liked him a little bit more in his heart. He had two boxes of buns for them to carry, both of which were signature tofu buns. The two boxes were equivalent to a weight of several small cages.
After Tang Jinyu came out of Su Zhai Restaurant, he divided Guo Xiaohu a box of steamed buns and said, “You must be tired, here eat some.”
Guo Xiaohu took one and put it in his mouth. The tofu bun was a bit hot. It was not the thin-skinned buns in the south, but the kind with the soft skin in the north. The wheat fragrant was very strong, and the bite tasted sweet. He never thought that this was a vegetarian snack. Tofu, fresh mushrooms and winter bamboo shoots were mixed together, and the fragrance was tangy, and the oily stain was only the corners of the lips after taking a bite. Guo Xiaohu swallowed it, and couldn’t help but take another bite. While eating, he sucked his nose vigorously. The rich scent of steamed buns filled the air, and the scent flowed through the nasal cavity all the way to his stomach, making people greedy.
He ate five of them in one breath, and grabbed one more them. “Xiaoyu, you made this so delicious.”
”Yeah, the stuffing made by the master is good. I have learned almost the same thing. I will come back twice tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.” Tang Jinyu also ate three or four and licked his fingers, thinking that his brother would like to eat this, and maybe he can make some for his brother to eat when he goes back.
Guo Xiaohu choked suddenly, turned his head and coughed for a while, Tang Jinyu was startled: “Are you okay?”
Guo Xiaohu waved his hand and didn’t dare to look back at him. After a long time, he turned his head and his ears were red, avoiding his fingers, and said vaguely: “It’s okay, it’s okay, I just ate too fast…choking.”
Tang Jinyu went to buy him a bottle of water. Guo Xiaohu now knows that they were poor, and he was not willing to drink first. He pushed it back and said, “You drink two mouthfuls first, and I drink the rest.”
Tang Jinyu was happy: “No need, you drink it, I’ll go home in a while.”
Guo Xiaohu still refused, and pushed him to take the first sip. When the two of them weren’t letting go, they heard the sound of a car honk on the side of the road, sounding quite hurried, it seemed like the owner was not in a good mood right now.
Guo Xiaohu gave in. He was already standing on the sidewalk. The car stopped closer to them, but before he could push the water to Tang Jinyu, there were two more honking sounds in the car, and this time the car window rolled down. The person sitting in the driver seat, face was dark, and he turned his head to look at them and said coldly, “Xiaoyu, why didn’t you answer my call just now?”
Tang Jinyu blinked and was immediately pleasantly surprised, ignoring Guo Xiaohu and immediately ran over and bent over and said, “Brother, why are you here?”
Xia Ye looked at him, then looked at the tall boy next to him, and said to him, “You didn’t call me at noon.” He received it at noon, and the plane arrived in the afternoon.
”Yes, but aren’t you busy these days…”
”Not busy.” Xia Ye said briefly, “Get in the car and I will take you home.”
Tang Jinyu agreed and asked, “Brother, my classmate lives in the community near our home, so can you send him back on the way?”
Xia Ye nodded.
Tang Jinyu called Guo Xiaohu to get in the car together. Guo Xiaohu yelled “Brother Xia Ye”, and sat in the back row, and didn’t dare to say anything when he was sitting there.
Tang Jinyu relaxed a lot. He has been in his brother’s car since he was a child, and he has been more comfortable than his own car from his old bicycle to car. He was still holding a box of steamed buns, and Xia Ye asked when he saw it, “Where did this come from?”
“Oh, I made it myself at Su Zhai Restaurant in the afternoon. Brother, you try it? It’s still hot!” He took a bun and handed it to Xia Ye’s mouth, and fed him during a red traffic light. Xia Ye took a bite, seeming to think of something, and then said: “There is a water bottle in the car.”
Tang Jinyu immediately opened the bottle, and delivered it to his brother’s mouth.
Xia Ye: “…”
Xia Ye: “You drink it yourself, remember to bring a water bottle when you go out next time, you know.”