Chapter 035: Day of the Birth Festival and Stall Menu
It was finally the day of the Birth Festival. It was a big festival that lasted for 3 days from the day of the Wood.
Shiu headed to the place he was assigned early in the morning. He was using a cart, but that was only because he was hiding the existence of his magic bag. He was hiding it with this camouflage because it was something too extravagant for a child to have.
The guild had built the framework in a simple way, so it was assembled exactly like it was taught in the short courses. The stalls were loaned out, so 5 silver coins were needed to pay for them. Shiu thought it was a great deal since they showed him the stall location and even helped him set it up. It was a system recommended for woman and novice stall owners like Shiu.
Shiu had finished assembling his stall and when he was just about to finish his food preparations, the stall next to him began setting up. He immediately went to greet them.
“Good morning. I’m Shiu, the owner of the food stall next door. If you don’t mind, please have this.”
He took this opportunity to advertise his food and gave his neighbour colourful cookies which were kneaded with vegetables.
“Oh, thanks! Nice to meet you. I’m Darrell.”
“Did you come with your dad? You’re getting used to it! Oh, is this a cookie? How unusual.”
“It’s delicious. I’ll buy some more later. My wife will also come later. Thanks.”
Shiu began to greet the surrounding stall owners one after the other. Everyone was in high spirits. At any rate, it was a big festival. The shops at the Royal Capital closed for the day because of the festival. In short, it was a 3 day competition for those stall owners who worked away from home. Their fighting spirits were also lit.
Shiu returned to his stall after greeting everyone.
As a precaution, he made sure that Feles wouldn’t get close to the food. He made a stand a few paces behind his stall and put Feles in a homemade cage. Even if it was said to be a cage, it was large and he had put a lot of toys in there, so Feles shouldn’t be dissatisfied with it. He had secretly casted spatial wall around the cage and it was connected to Shiu, so he didn’t have to be worried about it being stolen.
Darrel, who was to the right of Shiu, was extremely worried when he found out that Feles was a beast mount. Shiu had told him that he was using a personal magic tool to make sure that the cage didn’t get stolen, but Darrell said just to be thorough, “Let’s just say he’s just a pet cat, okay?” Afterwards he whispered, “Hey, could I pet it afterwards?” It seemed that Darrell also like beast mounts.
It took a while for the place to get crowded on the first day of the Birth Festival; ーーー around 10am in the morning.
Originally, the correct way to start the festival was by praying for good harvest at the temple. After that, the priests put the sacred relics onto portable shrines and parade it around the city. The people pray to the portable shrines. These shrines couldn’t be seen if one got off the main street. The commotion could only be heard from a distance at the food stalls.
The place where Shiu was assigned was in the central district, somewhat close to the merchant block. There was a large park near here, so people could sit down and eat. That was why most of the food stalls were located in this section. Of course, walking while eating might also be fun, but the guild was being considerate.
Shiu’s menu mainly consisted of 『meat on rice』until the afternoon.
At first, no one looked towards his direction but people started crowding around him after he started to fry the cutlets and tempura.
“It smells good. What is this?”
“Fried stone boar cutlets. This here is called 『Tempura』and is fried with batter. It’s fried shrimp from Schiral Lake and vegetables.”
“Tempura? Hmm, it sounds tasty, doesn’t it?”
“Yes, you put it on cooked rice and eat it with a salty-sweet sauce. The rice is from Shayṭān Kingdom; it’s this wheat here. It’s a staple food used in place of bread. It’s a little lumpy, so you might be bothered by the texture at first. But, the more you chew, the more the sweetness comes out and it’s delicious. It’s also good for keeping you feeling full.”
The rice wasn’t completely polished and an eighth of it still had its skin, so it was somewhat nutritious. Thanks to his trial and error with cooking rice, he was able to cook it with a glossy finish.
“Oh ~. How rare…… It does smell tasty, should I try it out?”
“Thank you very much.”
He made tempura-don on the spot. He had prepared wooden containers that were bestowed with a heat function to put the rice in, so that it would be steamy hot. He only put a small amount into the container and then secretly extracted the rest from his spatial storage. The containers were made from lumber that was similar to Japanese cedar collected from Agatha village where he’d grew up.
The man ate at the spot and at first he was timid about it; he took his time to eat while tilting his head in thought and swallowing. Half-way through the meal, it seemed that he’d noticed that it would be tastier if he ate the rice with tempura and then he gobbled down his food near the end.
“Oh, it was tasty!”
“Thank you very much.”
“Well, I can still eat. That’s right. This time, I’ll have the cutlet over there. I’ve also never seen that before. The stone boar is a good ingredient to use, isn’t it?”
“It’s the leftovers from the market, but it’s still delicious!”
Shiu said nonchalantly and cut a mouthful for the man to sample.
“Oh, can I eat this? Mmm, yummy! This is yummy. Then, should I buy 5 pieces? My friend’s waiting for me over there.”
Shiu quickly fried up the remaining cutlets, put sauce on top and passed it to the man.
“It’s hot, so please be careful.”
When he had that kind of exchange with the man, the other customers, who were watching, were also lured in by the smell.
The sauce for the cutlet was also handmade by Shiu. It was a rich salty and sweet sauce made from a lot of vegetables. The sauce sizzled when he poured it on top of the freshly fried cutlet and the aroma spread further.
“This, 3 of this as well. That, rice was it? Make sure to add the staple food!”
“I want 2 pieces and 2 bowls of tempura-don.”
“Oi, what’s this karaage?”
“That is chicken. It’s fried with seasoning. If you like your meat juicy, then I recommend the chicken thigh, but if you want to eat it with a refreshing lemon juice then I recommend chicken breast.”
Shiu explained as he dealt with the orders. In the meantime, those who heard his explanation and those who were drawn here by the smell started ordering food one after the other.
They were all lined up and even started buying things from the neighbouring stalls. It had generated a synergistic effect. While he was busy with the stall, the first customer came back with his friend.
“Oh, you came again?”
“Yeah, you remembered, did you?”
Of course, customers came one after another because he praised Shiu’s food loudly.
“Well, it was really tasty. So this guy said he wanted to bring some back home too.”
“Then, should I pack the sauce separately? Because the food would get soggy if it’s soaked in the sauce for too long.”
Shiu said and the friend the man brought with him also thanked him. He had also prepared containers for the sauce, so he quickly packed everything and gave it to them.
“Here, the money. I’m not taking the extra food.”
“It’s fine, it’s a bonus. You brought in customers after all.”
Shiu laughed and the men grinned. They waved a lot while leaving.
He was busy like that at lunchtime and didn’t have time to take a break.
His stall finally settled down in the latter half of lunch, so he shared the fried cutlets and vegetable sandwiches with those around him. Everyone told him it was delicious while eating and also shared some food with him. After that, him and Darrell took turns to have toilet breaks and returned for the afternoon rush.
Darrell sold meat skewers and the married Colin’s couple sold fruit syrup and squeezed juice. Both had the same menu throughout the whole day.
Shiu was the only one who separated his menu into 『lunch』and『refreshments』. That was probably why Colin’s wife was shocked when she came to bring him orange juice and said, “You, how surprising; you’ve increased your menu. Will you be okay?”
“Is your dad not coming after all? Good grief. Leaving his son to do all the work. What kind of a dad is he?”
Shiu smiled ambiguously and lied. It was strange for a child to manage a stall by themselves after all. Before he knew it, it’d became this setting, 『neglectful father and son』. It was also a bit too late to start explaining things now, so he didn’t deny it. Emina came while this was happening.
“Sup, Shiu-kun. Is the shop alright?”
“Yes. It finally calmed down.”
Emina came with her husband Dmitr and Shiu could see Aqela peeking out from behind them.
“Did you also come Aqela?”
Aqela shrugged at Shiu’s question and laughed.
“I did. All my friends are with their parents on the first day, so I can’t tag along.”
“Where’s Garcia and Ariella?”
He quickly made pancakes while he was talking and Emina’s eyes were glued on the pancakes.
“They’re running stalls today and tomorrow. They’re really hyped about it. That’s why……”
“It’s pitiful, isn’t it? Leaving Aqi to take care of the house by herself. That’s why I invited her out. If it’s us then we can also look after her, so they let us take her out.”
Apparently, Emina was the elder sister type. Shiu gave Emina the first pancake.
Emina and Aqela’s eyes sparkled when they saw that the pancake was topped with plenty of butter and whipped cream. Shiu gave Dmitr a mildly sweet cookie with nuts in it. Men could stuff their faces and eat this cookie even if they didn’t like sweets saying, “I can eat this salty cookie.”
Shiu firmly refused their money. Instead, they bought him dinner from different stalls.