Kiss Day (Part 2)
Kiss. Hearing Shinobu say that, all the customers in the store turned their heads with a startled expression.
At Izakaya Nobu, the food and drinks were delicious, but there were customers who came just for Shinobu. You could say that most of the bachelors who were regulars at this store came to be served by Shinobu.
Meanwhile, it was natural that the inside of the store would become noisy when an improper word like ‘kiss’ was uttered.
「So, Kiss Day, huh?」
「Yes, Kiss Day! It’s my favourite day, you know!」
When she said that with an expression like she was going to dance, Hans was allured and made an amused smile.
What was this Kiss Day? Was it a celebration where partners exchanged kisses?
Come to think of it, this shop was full of peculiarities. Hans thought it might be a strange custom from a land with a different culture.
An unpleasant sweat spread on Hans’s back.
There was a small church beside the guard barracks, and a new deacon was posted there. At a glance, he looked like a stubborn old man and had a hard-to-approach atmosphere.
When such a person came, it was preferable not to get involved in anything related to the church.
「Kisu is actually the name of a fish, Hans-san.」
Taisho appeared, unable to watch any longer. Although his expression couldn’t be read, like usual, his mouth seemed to tremble a bit. He was most likely suppressing a smile.
Taisho continued to talk while covering a white fish with a cloth.
「In our country, Kisu was given the name “Fish of Happiness”. It is a joyous fish, like the name implies. It is delicious if I make sashimi out of it. Frying it as tempura is also good.」
(TL: It’s a play of words on キス, which meant ‘kiss’ and ‘Japanese whiting’)
The atmosphere relaxed when Taisho spoke up.
While everyone was thankful for not getting involved in a strange foreign culture, they also seemed expectant of today’s dishes.
「That is really an auspicious sounding name.」
「Right! It’s also very delicious!」
Even though he didn’t know the dish that Shinobu was speaking of, he inadvertently felt like trying it. The heavens had really given this young girl the talent to be a poster girl.
「Taisho, one kisu tempura here!」
After Hans ordered it, everyone raised their hands to follow him. It seemed everyone was interested in trying out something new.
Without panicking when the orders piled up, Taisho handled ‘kisu’ skillfully. He coated it with batter and then fried it, such style of cooking wasn’t found in the Old Capital.
However, compared to deep-frying, he didn’t seem to use a lot of oil. Asking Commander Berthold of his favourite dish in “Nobu”, it would be deep-fried chicken, right?
While swimming in the hot oil, the ‘kisu’ made a tasty sizzling sound. While wondering whether the sound would change or not, Shinobu brought something strange in front of Hans.
「Shinobu-chan, what is this thing used for?」
It was made of wood, and Shinobu spread something thin on it.
「Eh, this is paper.」
「Paper? Even though I can read a little, I can’t write anything besides my name.」
「Ah, it is not meant for writing.」
「Isn’t paper a thing to write on? I heard it’s more expensive than parchment.」
Compared to parchment made from sheepskin, the paper was light, since it was made out of wood. In addition, Hans heard stories of it being used among people of the church and scholars recently, since it was easy to carry around.
「It’s used to be spread on this container.」
「Shinobu-chan, such a thing…isn’t it wasteful?」
「No problem. You can eat delicious tempura this way.」
As he watched Shinobu lay paper in containers for the other customers, Hans tilted his head. Did this store stock a large amount of it?
「One kisu tempura, complete!」
Taisho’s voice resounded, as if it was sweeping away Hans’s doubts.
The oil on the ‘kisu’ was skillfully drained, and Shinobu piled it onto the plate. The coating on the tempura still made a low, appetizing, sizzling sound that was quite appetizing.
「Shinobu-chan, how should I eat this?」
「You can eat it with Tentsuyu sauce, but it is delicious if eaten with salt as well.」
Doing as he was told, Hans sprinkled salt on it.
As he raised the fried ‘kisu’, he had some expectations for its taste. Since it was Shinobu’s favourite food, it might be unexpectedly delicious.
When he took a bite, Hans was surprised by its texture.
The crispy coating wrapping the soft white fish meat inside was fried perfectly.
As he tasted an unknown sensation that spread in his mouth, his chopsticks trembled.
He finally understood the purpose of Shinobu laying the paper on the container.
For this refined taste, having too much excess oil would not be good. The paper absorbed the oil, maintaining its exquisite condition. It was calculated to this extent.
After that, the “Toriaezu Nama”.
The exquisite flavour and mild greasiness paired perfectly with the ale.
After enjoying the refined taste with salt, he dipped it into the Tentsuyu sauce and brought it to his mouth.
It was tasty this way too.
Although the salt was better at drawing out the delicate flavour of the white fish, the taste of the Tentsuyu sauce also went well with the kisu tempura. Like this, he could eat as many as he liked.
「Taisho, another helping!」
「Wa-wait Hans-san! If you eat so much, my portion will decrease too!」
Shinobu made a face like she was about to cry, but it couldn’t be helped when it was this delicious.
At the same time, other customers were steadily ordering second helpings too.
「One more kisu tempura!」
「Here as well! One large serving!」
「Wait a minute, everyone! What about my share? What will happen to my Kiss Day?」
In the corner, there was a customer with a child, which was unusual. Although it was good when paired with ale, the child seemed to like the dish too.
The amount of kisu Taisho had stocked up was unknown, but Shinobu’s portion had probably decreased by a lot.