Lihao Chinese Cuisine
NOSA: Lagos would make a really fascinating study when it's analyzed as a multicultural city. Unlike a New York or a Paris, it's not really a melting pot.
FOLLY: It's sometimes called a "mosaic phenomenom" or "salad bowl concept" cause all the parts come together to form a whole but don't really mesh. I'm happy at times like this when my liberal arts degree appears useful.
NOSA: The different groups don't particularly mix and yet still find a way to coexist in such a small space. Now, when I talk about the groups, I don't mean the indigenous Nigerian tribes. I'm referring to the Nigerians and the "Nigerians" - the Persians, the Asians, and the "expats". Each group exists in their own version of Lagos and these iterations of Lagos never seem to intersect.
I had a conversation with the owner of RSVP leading up to The Lunch Club and he talked about how he had lived in Lagos since he was 3 years old! He went to college and everything, then moved back "home". It really blew my mind because I always viewed these "foreigners" as transient. Crazy, uno?
Anyway, enough of my cool story.
FOLLY: Yeah, food blog not Sociology thesis.
NOSA: Despite it being built like a Luby's, I really liked the amount of internal real estate at Lihao. There's just so much space.
Anyway, ordering food is like taking a math test. The prices aren't listed on the main menu, but on a separate card with menu codes. To figure out the price, you have to match the code on the menu with the code on the price list. Almost like using a 4-figure table. Yes, I got an A on WAEC Math, hence the reference.
FOLLY: Interesting story, I started in Science class with Physics, Chemistry, and Further Math, and by second term I had moved through Social Science class and finally found my home in Arts with World History, Sociology and Government on my schedule. I promise I'm not dumb, the Sciences were just not a good fit for my skill set.
FOLLY: There was also a warning/disclaimer that the pictures were only guidelines and the actual food may vary. It's kind of like when you're buying a weave and they tell you there are natural variations in the colour.
NOSA: To start, we got pork shumai, panfried dumplings, and shredded chicken spring rolls. The spring rolls tasted super authentic. Not that small chops pack spring rolls. A shame we ate it before actually taking a picture
I really liked the panfried dumplings as well. Not as much as I liked the spring rolls, but the dumplings were pretty decent regardless.
FOLLY: I was expecting these (panfried dumplings) to be a little more fried with some browned edges lowks - reminiscent of the $3/5 dumplings I developed an unhealthy addiction to in College.
NOSA: The shumai was a bit of a let down. The pork tasted a bit off, can't quite place my finger on it.
FOLLY: I didn't like these at all, and wasn't a fan of the rubbery texture of the casing.
NOSA: For our main, we got the Sweet & Spicy Deep Fried Shredded Beef with Carrot and the Chicken with Black Bean Sauce with a side of their shrimp fried rice.
FOLLY: The menu was a bit overwhelming with all the pictures so I made an executive decision and assigned Nosa to picking a beef/lamb main, while I picked a chicken one.
The rice was pretty much standard for Chinese restaurants, neither blew me away nor did it overly disappoint (it was a bit bland).
NOSA: Very meh, tbh. I don't think chefs at Chinese spots can be bothered with rice. It always tastes so rushed.
NOSA: The shredded beef main was AMAZING. It was like a weird sweet bastard baby of suya and kilishi. It sounds a little funky, but trust me, It's delicious.
FOLLY: I have no idea how the chef got something that's usually just oily and bland (fried meat) to be so flavorful. It was really good.
FOLLY: However, it might not be everyone's cup of tea, for example our waiter was so surprised that it was my favourite when he asked as he doesn't like that dish at all. That said, if you do go to Lihao consider putting your prejudices for fried meat aside and you might be well surprised.
FOLLY: Sadly, besides the hot pot (it sizzled for longer than usual) the chicken in black bean sauce was forgettable. It wasn't bad nor was it amazing. Basically, if I go back I'd try something else.
Panfried Dumplings - N1400
Shao Mai - N1400
Shredded Chicken Spring Roll - N600
Shrimp Fried Rice (Medium) - N2000
Sweet & Spicy Deep Fried Shredded Beef with Carrot (Medium) - N2900
Fried Chicken with Black Bean Sauce (Medium) - N3000