Deep-Fried Chicken (Part 2)
The chicken sunk into the oil, making a sizzling sound.
Although it wasn’t too loud, when he heard that sound resound in the shop, Berthold unconsciously swallowed his saliva.
Using so much oil to deep-fry food was luxurious indeed. Generally, the frying pan was raised to bring the oil to the edges while frying the food, and it was finished by grilling it.
That was not the case for this shop.
The chicken meat was swimming comfortably in the oil while getting deep-fried.
「But, how will it taste?」
When Berthold muttered that, Taisho smiled with just his eyes, as if saying that he had absolute confidence in this dish.
However, the ingredient was still chicken.
Whether it was breast or thigh meat, the chicken in the markets of the Old Capital was tough. Even if it was deep-fried, how much could the flavour change? That was Berthold’s reasoning.
Even then, the sizzling sound, the delicious aroma, and even the sound of popping oil stimulated his stomach. Was it not ready yet?
Had his prayers come true? Taisho began to take the chicken out of the oil.
However, he didn’t serve it on a plate.
As Berhold thought about what would happen, Taisho put the chicken in the oil again.
「What’s wrong? Was it not fried properly?」
「No, customer-san. The recipe called for frying twice. The temperature of the oil was higher earlier, after all.」
Certainly, the sound was different from before.
He wondered about the meaning in doing this. However, the enthusiasm placed into the cooking was transmitted properly.
It was not supposed to simply be eaten.
It was done with the intention of turning it into a delicious dish.
「Yes, I’m looking forward to it. This deep-fried chicken.」
「It’s called chicken karaage, na.」
Besides the chicken, there were some fruits added as garnish. Was it a dessert? This kind of attention to detail was nice. Surely it was Taisho’s way of showing consideration for the fact that his customer was eating oily food. Berthold received it favourably.
Now then, proper food.
「Since it’s hot, please be careful.」
A single, large piece was pierced with a fork.
Meat juices overflowed from inside. Berthold slowly brought it to his mouth.
The moment Berhold took a bite, he admitted defeat.
The exterior was crispy, but the interior was soft.
The thick meat juices poured out without overpowering the flavour of the chicken.
Just like that, Berhold brought another piece to his mouth.
Even if you burned your tongue a little, it didn’t matter.
There was absolutely no toughness, unlike a discarded hen. It was soft, yet the taste was so strong.
Recalling what he said, Berthold reached for the “Toriaezu Nama”.
Since he had requested Taisho to cook a chicken dish that was fit to be paired well with this ale, this should match well.
He took a bite of the karaage and washed it down with the ale.
They matched perfectly.
This pairing was like the tale of the hero knight and the princess who were attracted to each other. This “karaage” and “Toriaezu Nama” were destined to meet each other.
Besides him, Hans was shrewdly eating something fried, but without coating.
He wanted to eat some of Hans’s food, but he was not childish enough to do it publicly.
However, it looked good.
No wonder the soldiers were talking about it.
As he ate the karaage piece by piece, Berthold was puzzled.
There were only two pieces left. Once those were eaten, this miracle encounter with the karaage would end.
You could say that he felt regret.
He ate the last one and enjoyed its lingering aftereffect thoroughly.
Berthold had not felt this sense of satisfaction in all his time in the military.
This, this very dish.
He then decided to eat the dessert prepared by Taisho. He reached for the yellow citrus that had been cut into wedges. However, due to Berthold’s experience on the battlefield, his instincts warned him.
What? Why couldn’t he continue?
Incidentally, he tried verifying this with Hans. Right, Hans had eaten half of the karaage, and then squeezed the citrus over the remaining half.
「Yes, what is it, commander? I mean, Berthold-san.」
「It’s a lemon. Did Berthold-san not use it?」
「Lemon, you say?」
Hans squeezed the lemon in front of the confused Berthold and showed him.
「When you squeeze the lemon over the karaage like this, it will become lighter and easier to eat.」
「What did you say…」
Finally understanding, he looked at his plate.
Naturally, there was no karaage there.
「Berthold-san, even if you cry from the bottom of your heart, I won’t share. This is mine.」
「Berthold-san, didn’t you eat one whole plate as well?」
While Berthold groaned with a ‘Muuu’, Shinobu returned.
「There were scallions.」
「Is that so? That’s good. This way, I can prepare for future dishes.」
After peeking in a little, Taisho weirdly soaked the crispy karaage into something mushy.
With that, the sense of crispiness was lost.
「Taisho, what is that?!」
「Oh, this is Chicken Nanban. It’s Shinobu-chan’s and my portion.」
Even though he didn’t understand what Taisho said, he understood that it wasn’t a dish meant to be served to the customer.
The karaage was dipped into a sweet-and-sour smelling mixture with a slap. A thick white sauce was then poured on top of it.
It was just like magic.
It was applied to the already delicious karaage. With just that, it was like watching an ultimate dish being completed.
By adding something, it seemed to become even more delicious.
「Taisho…is that all?」
「Dear guest, even if you cry from the bottom of your heart, I won’t share. This is mine.」
「No way. Chicken Nanban is my favourite dish.」
Shinobu said, then she grabbed the Chicken Nanban with her fingers and bit into it.
The bit of sauce on the edge of her lips added onto her charm.
「Huff huff. Yummy! Chicken Nanban is the best!」
「Right? The scallions also taste good.」
After seeing the well-mannered Shinobu lick the sauce left on her mouth, despite it being bad manners, Berthold silently decided to be a regular at this shop.