Food Shop Fun: Spooky Food
Welcome to Food Shop Fun. What is Food Shop Fun, you ask? It is a series of articles in the Neopian Times where I, Josh, review food shops outside of Neopia Central. For this article, I'll be walking away from the cheery streets of Neopia Central to travel into the gloomy foliage of the Haunted Woods. True to its name, these woods are indeed haunted. The forest is literally overflowing with ghouls, zombies, evil imps, possessed pumpkins, tribes of meepits, dark sorcerers, and many more otherworldly aberrations such as the Esophagor and the Brain Tree. This truly is a monstrous land.
There are many places to go in the Haunted Woods, but I am only interested in the food shop Spooky Food. This roadside stand is located on the outskirts of the Haunted Woods in an abandoned carnival called the Deserted Fairground. Because it is so small, you may have a bit of trouble locating Spooky Food. To find it, simply look among the Cork Gun Gallery, Bagatelle, and the Deserted Fairground Scratchcard Kiosk.
The owner Vlad van Ulmar III has owned Spooky Food for as long as anyone (besides the Brain Tree) can remember. After doing hours upon hours of research and looking through the records in Eliv Thade's and Hubrid Nox's libraries, I found out that Vlad was one of the first workers at The Carnival. From what I've read, it sounds like he was the man in charge of the concession stand. No one knows how it happened, but one day, Vlad just vanished. He was nowhere to be found. The next night, Sloth's army of robotic Chia Clowns destroyed The Carnival and almost everyone in it. A few weeks later, Vlad reappeared with his old concession stand and started doing business as if nothing had happened. This may just be a coincidence, or perhaps Vlad had something to do with the premature destruction of Neopia's largest carnival.
The scenery around Spooky Food was ragged and - quite frankly - spooky. The grass was wilted, the dead trees were covered in strangling vines, and the bushes concealed the many horrors lurking around in these woods. The shop itself was nothing to write home about. I don't think you could even call it a shop. It was just a food cart on wheels. The canvas over the top was faded and torn, the cart was rusty, and the rancid smell of rotting meat emanated from the store. What kind of monsters would eat this food, and how did I ever get myself into this?
The only time I had ever been to Spooky Food was to purchase spiders and rats for April Fool's Day and to get some green punch for a Halloween party. I never thought I'd actually have to eat the food! As I peeked inside the cart, the first things that I saw were eyeballs, brains, and worms. The real challenge here was to keep my lunch down.
To start off my meal, I had a bowl of Scary Soup. It did look scary, but tasted quite good. It was very thick and spicy with lots of mysterious chunks floating around. Next, I ate a whole plate of Tongue with Veggies. The tongue was slimy and chewy, but not too bad. The vegetables were actually really good. After I finished the tongue, I saw Vlad bringing out a fresh batch of Pumpkin Cookies. I took a cookie and immediately shoved it into my mouth. I sputtered and gagged as the frog stuffing oozed into my mouth. These cookies are only good for practical jokes! To wash the frog taste out of my mouth, I guzzled down a Skeith Juice Cocktail. Besides the fact that I was drinking out of a Skeith's skull, it was very good. When Vlad suggested that I try the Deviled Steak, I couldn't resist. After checking for frogs in the middle, I readily consumed this spooky treat. Though the taste resembled that of steak sauce, the wings, horns, and tail were very bitter.
To finish it all off, I drank a Spooky Shake. It was surprisingly pleasant. It just tasted like pumpkin, dark chocolate, and whipped cream. Somehow, I made it through my meal without having to eat a single eyeball!
The prices were absolutely amazing! While I was there, I only saw two items that were priced above 1,000 NP, and all the other items were under 500 NP. Although the food was not gourmet, the prices couldn't be beat. Even the poorest ghost could eat well here.
The business at Spooky Food seemed to be very slow, so I took a few minutes to interview Vlad.
Me: So, Mr. Vlad, what kind of people eat the food you sell here?
Vlad: The rich counts and countesses come from all around the Haunted Woods to eat my famous delicacies. My more common clientele includes zombies, ghosts, gypsies, dark faeries, and those who are on the Esophagor's quest.
Me: So, where does all this food come from?
Vlad: Reapers and zombies bring me most of my eyes, claws, brains, and steaks. I, however, collect my own spiders, worms, rats, slime, and petpets. I have a secret garden in the bushes where I grow my own vegetables, pumpkins, and Clawmatoes.
Me: Do you have any trouble with the Meepits around here?
Vlad: I used to be raided by Meepit clans regularly, but now the noise from the Cork Gun Gallery keeps them at bay.
Me: What can you tell me about the old Carnival?
Vlad: NOTHING! Nothing at all! Next question, please.
Me: Er… okay. Where do you sleep at night? Do you have your own neohome?
Vlad: I don't need sleep; I must attend the cart at all times.
Me: I guess you don't have much off time. Have you ever thought about taking a trip?
Vlad: The only time I can take a trip is when I journey to the Bogshot Village to collect the most gourmet slime.
Me: Well, that's all my questions. Thanks for your time, Vlad.
The Spooky Food stand was smelly, rundown, and unsanitary. The location was okay considering that it was in the Haunted Woods. Although the prices were amazing, most of the food was inedible, and some of it was still alive! Besides his sketchy background, Vlad was very helpful and even a bit friendly. Overall, I'll have to give Spooky Food a 4/10. Unless you are a monster of the Haunted Woods, I would suggest that you keep away from this shop. This food is for goons only!