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69 Aquarama Ornamental Fish and Aquarium Equipment Exhibition

    For the next few days, Chu Xian stayed home and learned how to make his uncle's dried fish.

    Although Chu Xian learned the general gist of the process before, he hadn't taken it seriously; the dried fish he made was only average, and his cooking skills couldn't match up at all to his uncle's.

    Dried fish needed two main components: the special recipe and the step-by-step treatment procedure.

    The special recipe was homemade, and only Chu Ming knew how to make it. He had been improving his recipe every year over the last twenty years. The unique thing about his recipe was its taste.

    Under normal circumstances, the flavor of dried fish encompassed three major tastes - saltiness, spiciness, and numbness, but Chu Ming added a twist to his fish and included four new flavors: a peppery numbness, a spicy numbness, a cool sourness, and a tomato flavor. Each of the flavors prepared the fish in a unique and delicious way.

    When Chu Xian expressed a desire to learn how to make dried fish, Chu Ming didn't hold back. He passed on his secret four-flavor recipe and taught Chu Xian the whole process.

    After a few days of learning, even though Chu Xian hadn't learned much about cooking normal fish, he had gained a certain grasp on the techniques of making dried fish.

    Huhu!

    Around eight in the evening, Chu Xian returned to the riverbank and found an empty spot with no one around. He brought out some cooking equipment from his car and lit some firewood. He controlled a carp, crucian, and chub and gathered them together with the two abalone and several squids he bought the previous day.

    The abalone and squid were already prepared; Chu Xian compressed 0.1kg of abalones into the size of a bird egg and stuffed them with seasoning.

    Chu Ming's dried fish could be cooked in several ways--they could be steamed, stir-fried, or boiled, but each method was increasingly complicated. If you wanted to boil the dried fish, you needed to add all kinds of other fish to the water to make it tastier.

    His options were limited and he could only steam the fish for now. He had to wrap the entire fish to preserve its taste and allow the seasoning to spread throughout the meat.

    Steaming wasn't as good as the other options in terms of producing flavor, but even with the worst option, Chu Ming's dried fish was still delicious.

    When the water was boiled, Chu Xian placed the abalone and squid in the pot. He started preparing the carp and other fish he caught, compressing them and removing all the bones with his remolding ability.

    He sliced up the fish into thin pieces and poured in the other ingredients before sealing it all up in a Ziploc bag.

    Technically speaking, this wasn't the proper method to make dried fish, but it was fine since at the very least, he compressed the meat and most importantly, shortened the curing time.

    After fifteen minutes, he took out the steamed dried fish and unwrapped it; all the seasoning had melted into the meat. He took out one of the small abalones and took a bite.

    Si si! With that one bite, intense flavor filled his mouth and nose.

    Actually, abalone didn't really have any flavor or special qualities aside from its particular freshness, and its taste mostly depended on the seasoning. Chu Xian prepared one with the peppery numbness and the other with the tomato seasoning.

    The fresh and numbing taste filled his mouth and made his tongue dance; the numbing feeling was amazing.

    "Incredible! Everything I've eaten before was garbage!" Chu Xian thought, reaching for the other abalone ball.

    "En. The tomato flavor isn't too good. It doesn't suit the abalone; the peppery numbness, spicy numbness, and refreshing sourness should suit abalone better," Chu Xian thought, reaching for the squid.

    It was usually better to stir-fry squid, but for the sake of convenience, Chu Xian steamed it as well. He also used two different types of seasoning for the squid - the spicy numbness and the refreshing sourness.

    "Holy sh**! Refreshing! So refreshing!" Chu Xian clicked his tongue, stuffing his mouth full with slice after slice. The soul-stirring spicy numbness and the stimulating sour freshness filled his mouth. The slices were a beautiful chewy texture, filled with an indescribable and unique fragrance. No exotic delicacies could be better than this.

    "I just wonder how carp and other fish taste," Chu Xian thought after he finished the squid, glancing at the time.

    The salting and curing process took at least 24 hours, and the more time you let it sit, the tastier the meat would be, but since he sliced the fish, the process was much faster. To pass the time, Chu Xian called Xiao Ying and the two talked for a very long time.

    Two hours later, Chu Xian took out the fish slices and put them into the steaming pot.

    "En. Not bad, very chewy. The taste is refreshing but not as good as the abalone or squid. In the end, carps and chubs are just ordinary fish, and some countries don't even consider them edible. It'll taste better if I use better seafood!"

    Chu Xian thought to himself as he ate the fish slices. Of course, this "not so tasty" flavor was in comparison to the abalone, squid, and grenadier anchovies. His carps and chubs still tasted much better than his uncle's dried fish.

    At around 11 pm, Chu Xian collected his things and led a carp into his net before hopping into his car and driving home.

    In the following days, Chu Xian wandered around the village during the day and was greeted enthusiastically by many of the villagers. At night, he went to the riverbank and visited the sunken boat several times. The huge Chinese sturgeon was already gone without a trace, and even after digging around the sunken boat a couple more times, Chu Xian turned up empty-handed.

    His days were spent in a happy, leisurely freedom, catching fish and cooking delicious food.

    On the fourth day after coming home, Chu Xian picked up an unexpected call.

    "Xiao Xian, your shop has become really famous these days. Your method of advertising is very impressive!" A cheerful voice came out of the phone, putting a smile on Chu Xian's face.

    "Big Brother Jin, I'm a victim. They tried to attack my name first!"

    "Heh, you sly fox. Haha, you really seized a great opportunity here!" Big Brother Jin praised him sincerely.

    "Haha. Is Big Brother Jin just calling to congratulate me?" Chu Xian laughed.

    "There's something else, and it's good news for you," Jin Hua said. "The 18th Aquarama Ornamental Fish and Aquarium Equipment Exhibition is going to be held in our Jing Hai city. Are you interested?"

    "Aquarama?" Chu Xian said with a slight pause. He heard of this "Aquarama" before; he heard it was an organization founded by the Singaporean government in 1989 and it was a gathering of the top professionals in the aquarium business. It was considered the world's best and most prestigious ornamental fish competition.

    Every Aquaram exhibition attracted many ornamental fish enthusiasts and many big fish farm owners. The occasion brought together countless precious ornamental fish in one place, and many rich people came with the intention of bringing some home.

    The price of any champion fish was never lower than a million, and famous fish like the Arowana or certain types of Koi and Flowerhorn fish could even reach four or five million RMB.
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