The next morning, Tao Mu was awakened by brother Feng slamming on the door.
“It’s been soaking for a whole night. What should we do next?” With wide bloodshot eyes, brother Feng looked at Tao Mu with extreme excitement. That appearance was of a man who hadn’t slept all night.
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“Next, don’t do anything.” After finally falling asleep only to be woken up, Tao Mu said with a stern face: “Let it be marinated in the pot. When it’s noon, I’ll roast the chicken feet. I’ll need cumin, white sesame and chili flour. Do you have them in the store?”
Brother Feng nodded fiercely: “We have all the condiments. Only, there is no oven. I’ll go to the skewers shop next door to borrow one later. Their shop will not open until four o’clock in the evening.”
Tao Mu left these small details to the other.
Approaching noon, Tao Mu, Da Mao and Xiao Pang went downstairs after sleeping well. The small restaurant was noisy and almost all the tables were full.
Tao Mu directly went into the back kitchen and opened the big iron pot simmering chicken feet, and found that the marinated chicken feet in it were reduced by more than half.
Tao Mu turned to look at brother Feng. Brother Feng scratched his face embarrassedly, and grinned stupidly: “Aha, it was so fragrant, I couldn’t hold myself back, so I gnawed on a few.”
After speaking, he even suggested to Tao Mu: “Eating rice mixed with that marinade sauce is very delicious. You should try it too.”
Tao Mu: “……”
With the help of brother Feng, Tao Mu moved the remaining half of his chicken feet to the entrance of the restaurant. Sister Ping specially borrowed the skewers stove next door and set it up outside the restaurant. Brother Feng rolled up his sleeves and burned charcoal to make a fire, fanning the rising smoke away with a big fan.
Tao Mu returned to the back kitchen to prepare barbecue ingredients. Sister Ping and brother Feng helped to string the remaining chicken feet on bamboo sticks.
The chicken feet had soaked in the secret marinade sauce for a whole night and by itself it exuded a strong fragrance. When it was put over the fire and the meaty braised chicken feet were gradually licked by the flames, an even more attractive barbecue fragrance bursted out instantly. Then sprinkle it with cumin, sesame and chili flour. When the dripping hot oil fell down the bamboo skewers, the fire in the stove leaped up, and the white smoke filled the whole street with a strong aroma. The entire street was permeated with the aroma of grilled chicken feet.
Luo Yang, who insisted on pulling his childhood friend to visit the film set, sniffed his nose and turned the steering wheel, following the smell to find the entrance of the small restaurant. At a glance, he saw Tao Mu, who was standing in front of the skewers stove as a chef.
“Hey, I didn’t expect you to have this craft.” Luo Yang opened the door and got out of the car. Looking at Tao Mu’s skillful movements, and smelling the rich smell of meat from the skewers stove, it made him more and more curious. He approached Tao Mu and asked with a smiling face, “How much is one stick, give me a hundred yuan worth for now.”
“We eat it ourselves, it’s not for sale.” Tao Mu said concisely, staring at the chicken feet on the grill attentively. He grabbed a handful of spices to sprinkle on it occassionally while also maintaining control of the heat.
Unwilling to give up, Luo Yang continued to dawdle: “Then give me two sticks. Everyone is a friend here and talking about money does hurt feelings.”
“I say, why are you so thick-skinned!” Da Mao couldn’t bear it anymore, and he opened his mouth, “And you even dare to mention the word ‘friends’. Have you forgotten that time you used the fire hose against our brother Mu.”
“Don’t mention it anymore, I also regret this thing very much. Aren’t I here to make amends? You have to give me a chance to show my apologies at least.”
As Luo Yang spoke, his eyes fell on the grilled golden chicken feet and he frantically hinted: “How about we forget our grudges with two chicken feet?” (TN: play on expression to forget our grudges with a smile)
“Pei!” Da Mao almost laughed in anger: “You have average looks but you dream beautiful dreams. Even saying to forget grudges with two chicken feet. Have you forgotten that you were the one who wronged our brother Mu? Now you want to cheat us of two chicken feet. You must take us as fools!”
“You want to eat chicken feet, right? Okay then. If you bark twice like a dog, we’ll give you two chicken feet.”
This was a bit too much. Sister Ping and brother Feng, who had been standing by to help with the chicken feet, frowned. They looked at Luo Yang dressed in brand name clothes from head to toe, with just a look one could guess he was from an extraordinary background. They then looked at the luxury car parked at the door with a value of at least tens of millions and their faces changed. Just as they were about to mediate, they saw Luo Yang touching his chin and asking thoughtfully: “Two dog barks are two chicken feet. Does this mean that a dozen dog barks would be a dozen chicken feet?”
“Of course.” Da Mao crossed his arms and sneered. He had long wanted to make up for Tao Mu’s face. It was Tao Mu who stopped him and said it was unnecessary. But now it was not him who went to find trouble but Luo Yang himself who came looking for trouble himself. Even if he couldn’t pull a sackcloth over his head, he could at least humiliate Luo Yang a bit.
Da Mao judged others from his own perspective, thinking that Luo Yang would definitely not be able to swallow this down. When the time came, whether it turned into a group fight or a one-on-one, then that was another matter.
Luo Yang ignored Da Mao and looked at Tao Mu, who had not spoken the whole time: “You think so too?”
Tao Mu glanced at Luo Yang but his hands kept moving: “There are so many restaurants on this street, and there is also a five-star hotel five kilometers east of this street. You can eat wherever. So don’t make a scene here.” Tao Mu expected that with the background of Luo Yang and his childhood friend, they would not eat this kind of street stall snack.
“That won’t work. I said that I want to eat chicken feet, and I must eat them today.” Luo Yang looked at Tao Mu, then squinted at the chicken feet. After being silent for a while, suddenly: “Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!
Tao Mu’s hand shook slightly and he looked at Luo Yang in surprise.
Luo Yang ‘woof’-ed on his own for a while and then said: “So? How many barks were there? Are your chicken feet enough for me to eat?”
Tao Mu: “……”
Li Xiaoheng, who was sitting in the car the whole time, wiped his face speechlessly. Did he have to go this far just for a bite!
Tao Mu glanced at Da Mao. Wang Ye didn’t expect Luo Yang to be so shameless, and his whole body stiffened.
Xiao Pang collapsed with a wail: “We can’t give him all! What would we eat if we give him all of it!! Both brother Feng and sister Ping did not eat either!!!”
No, they had already eaten half the pot. Tao Mu thought dryly and wondered how to solve this ‘debt problem’ for Da Mao. He then heard a swiping sound. Li Xiaohang, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, had lowered the window of the car and persuaded with exasperation, “Stop making trouble. Who makes amends this way.”
“The matter has progressed to this point, and it has nothing to do with making amends anymore.” Luo Yang said with a serious expression: “It is me using my skills (dog barking) to earn the chicken feet, now they shamelessly don’t want to hand over the chicken feet!”
On the dignity of a foodie, Luo Yang did not plan to fool around, “I want my chicken feet.”
In order to express his dissatisfaction, Luo Yang specially added emphasis on ‘my’.
Tao Mu separated two chicken feet in his hand and handed it to Luo Yang. Then he glanced expressionlessly at classmate Da Mao who tried to steal a chicken only to end up losing the rice used to lure it——although Da Mao caused the trouble, but obviously Tao Mu had to solve it himself. (TN: to try to gain an advantage only to end up worse off)
Tao Mu’s solution was also very simple——
“Just now Da Mao promised you that, not me.” Tao Mu said, “If you still want to eat, then let Da Mao make the chicken feet for you.”
“Brother Mu——” A miserable cry echoed across the sky. Da Mao looked at Tao Mu miserably: “I don’t know how to grill chicken feet!”
Tao Mu didn’t say a word.
Luo Yang, who finally got his two chicken feet, held the fruits of his labor and knocked on the window frame with a smile: “Don’t be so uptight. I have something delicious, this brother will share one with you.”
Li Xiaoheng, who was sitting in the passenger seat, sighed helplessly. Throwing the laptop into the rear seat, he opened the door and got out of the car.
Luo Yang handed the chicken feet over, muttering under his breath: “What is that expression on your face. If you were anyone else, I wouldn’t share it with you at all.” This was the chicken feet he had used his dignity to exchange for.
Li Xiaoheng sighed again. He was not a foodie, and naturally he couldn’t understand the logic of his childhood friend, making such a fuss for chicken feet. Perhaps, with a cold look over at Tao Mu, Li Xiaoheng speculated in his heart that Luo Yang, this kid, might being trying to ingratiate himself with the beauty in a roundabout way.
Tao Mu also noticed the inexplicable man wearing a three-piece suit on such a hot summer day but he didn’t care much. Because in the previous life, Li Xiaoheng was not a plot character. Tao Mu only knew that this person was the eldest son of the Li family. He founded his own financial investment company while studying abroad and rarely returned to China.
Li Xiaoheng keenly detected Tao Mu’s glance. For some reason, Li Xiaohang, who almost never ate at roadside stalls, took the chicken foot and under Tao Mu’s gaze he took a bite——suddenly, the only thing he could feel was a strong aroma of meat permeating his mouth. The skin was soft and sticky but also had a crispy texture. The chicken tendons and meat was tender and chewy. And even the chicken bones were soft and edible. With just a bite, the marinade sauce that had soaked down to the bone marrow bursted in his mouth. The aroma of grilled chicken, the aroma of marinated meat over an entire night, and the aroma of cumin, sesame, and chili flour all perfectly combined. Among all the flavors, the rich and mellow taste of the Shaoxing yellow wine perfectly harmonized all of the flavors. It caused the chicken foot to exude a faint fragrance of wine from the bone marrow so when one ate it there was no greasy feeling at all.
It was delicious, it was so delicious.
Luo Yang felt that he had barely tasted it thoroughly when the chicken foot was eaten up, from the meat down to the bones, leaving only a mouthful of lingering fragrance. His mouth was so sticky that he almost couldn’t open it, and the aroma was so strong that it could practically raise his skullcap.
“This is too delicious. How did you make it?” Luo Yang felt that he had never eaten such delicious grilled chicken feet even in a five-star restaurant before. Not only did this little body double look good, he even cooked so deliciously. This was talent!
Li Xiaoheng, who followed after his childhood friend in mooching on food and drink, couldn’t help but look at Tao Mu as well. He just felt that the boy in front of him gave him too many delightful surprises.
Tao Mu was too lazy to pay any heed to these two freeloaders, and handed the roasted chicken feet to brother Feng, who was waiting for a long time, and then went to the back to wash his hands. Da Mao and Xiao Pang rushed to brother Feng to divide up the culinary delicacies. All the tormented diners also looked anxiously at the plate of chicken feet that still exuded a strong fragrance, the situation that of many monks and not much gruel (TN: not enough to go around).
“I say Xiao Tao Mu~” With an extremely thick face, Luo Yang tagged behind: “You have such good craftsmanship, why do you want to enter the entertainment circle? Just open a barbecue shop to sell chicken feet, and then partner with someone to open a snack processing factory. Just like selling spicy gluten, your company can be floated on the stock market in minutes. How about we three cooperate?”
Tao Mu picked up a clean white towel and wiped his hands seriously, turning a deaf ear to Luo Yang’s words.
A person like Luo Yang, towards beautiful people, always had a strong tolerance and patience regardless of gender. Seeing Tao Mu being cold and indifferent, he didn’t feel bothered at all, finding a topic and blabbering away by himself. Seeing the noon news being broadcasted on TV, he striked up a new conversation with a smile: “Hey, this international oil has broken through 148m a barrel. This brother will give you a suggestion, you can just buy some oil. This thing is rising very well, and if you buy in now, in just two years, don’t even mention being an actor, you can have the riches to even be an investor.”
Tao Mu felt a headache coming on from Luo Yang’s incessant pestering and he couldn’t help but say: “If you aren’t afraid of going bankrupt and then forced to jump off a building, go right ahead. The price of oil now is obviously a result of people behind the scenes acting together to push it up and find a scraps-picking hero to……what kind of look is that.” No wonder in the last life he was driven out of the house by the eldest miss of the Luo family and bullied to the extent he couldn’t even stay in the country. It would seem he didn’t know anything except picking up girls. (TN: scraps-picking hero is a person who buy stocks at high prices, or literally means the large stocks accepter and later came to represent the person who is cheated and takes over some awful/horrible mess or some troublesome things unwittingly)
No, that’s not completely accurate. Tao Mu thought of Luo Yang’s affairs with both women and men in his previous life, as well as the foolishness of coming out of the closet for Shen Yu and angering father Luo to death……Basically, it could be concluded that this guy not only knew how to pick up girls, but also pick up men!
“Excuse me——” Li Xiaoheng, who hadn’t said anything the whole time, suddenly spoke up. Looking at Tao Mu with scorching eyes he said: “How did you see that there are international capitalists manipulating the market, and how did you conclude that international oil futures prices will fall in the short term?”
Tao Mu casually refrenced some financial news. Although everyone was still in the stage of being unable to see clearly due to being closely involved, but ten years later international experts and scholars have thoroughly studied the global financial crisis of now. Many information that was absolutely confidential at the time of the incident were also repeatedly disclosed by the news media.
Therefore, for Tao Mu, answering this kind of question was like already knowing the answer to a riddle. Using the known results to deduce the course of events, naturally he could point out the shortcomings of the contemporary problems and provide an analysis with substance.
With just a few words, Tao Mu thoroughly expressed his thoughts. In order to keep his secrets, all the evidence he cited was already reported by the financial media at this time.
But in the eyes of Li Xiaoheng, it was as if a high school student who had not yet gone to college was able deduce the clues from news reports and was able to skillfully analyze the game being played among the international capital markets. Moreover, from his words he could even speculate on the direction of the world economic situation, though deemphasized but still containing much substance and not at all shallow talk. What was even more frightening was that Li Xiaoheng actually agreed with Tao Mu’s words from the bottom of his heart.
As a professional in finance, Li Xiaoheng trusted his judgment very much. His firm belief stemmed from his solid knowledge and keen financial insight. But the question was, where did Tao Mu’s confidence come from?
“Hello!” Li Xiaoheng’s heart jumped slightly, and he became curious about Tao Mu. He took out a personal business card and handed it to Tao Mu: “I am Li Xiaoheng, the founder and CEO of Xiaoheng Capital. I am very interested in the analysis of the international oil futures market that you just said. If you are also interested, I think we can find a quiet place to have a good chat.”
Ai? Ai ai? Ai ai ai!!!
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With a bewildered expression, Luo Yang looked at his childhood friend and then looked at Tao Mu. Right now, 10,000 grass mud horses seemed to be whizzing past in his heart! What the——just where was this direction being taken in?!
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