Sphinx Fast Food
NOSA: Like many people, my first encounter with shawarma was at Mega Plaza. The old Mega Plaza too, not this new one that looks like the final level of an RPG.
FOLLY: My dad took me to Mega Plaza all the time for the shawarma and pizza from La Pizza. Remember when La Pizza was still on the right side where they sell those safes? Now it's a random corner now and I don't know if anyone still goes there.
NOSA: Old Mega was really the spot back then. They had that really expensive TV that I’m pretty sure no one ever bought. For the longest time, Mega Plaza shawarma was the basis for all shawarma comparisons.
FOLLY: Every time I was in Lagos on holiday from university, Mega Plaza shawarma was an important stop. I had to visit my grandparents and I had to buy shawarma.
NOSA: Until Ebeano shawarma stole my heart, but that’s a story for another day.
FOLLY: That's not a shared experience but enough on the nostalgia.
NOSA: Last weekend, we went back to check out Mega Plaza shawarma. They give you two options like Shawarma & Co., but we decided to go Lebanese style for authenticity. Lebanese people really missed a trick with this shawarma thing. Lebanese style doesn’t have sausage and they have fries in their shawarma.
FOLLY: I want to play devil's advocate/food purist so I'm going to say Lebanese style is better. This is because Nigerian shawarma stopped being shawarma the day y'all savages showed yourselves and started adding sausage.
NOSA: Sure, taste is subjective etc, etc, but without a doubt, Nigerian-style > Lebanese-style. Nobody is changing my mind. You might have to find me and engage in fisticuffs to convince me.The shawarma was just so dry. From the dry “meat” to the dry fries to the dry pita. Everything is just lumped together and there’s nothing linking it all.
FOLLY: It was indeed quite dry. The garlic wasn't even overwhelming, and the taste was gone from my mouth in a couple hours, and you know garlic usually lingers.
NOSA: You know what? A little “hot take” for you guys: Nigerians did well when we bastardized shawarma.
Yes, I said it.
That said, why hasn’t anyone thought of mixing both styles?
FOLLY: The mayo + ketchup + garlic sauce will be flames.
NOSA: This is really a shawarma post, but we got hummus too and we can’t go through this post without mentioning it. Their hummus is a little different from normal hummus you find in these Lagos streets. It’s not very thick, but the beef is fried into it.
FOLLY: It's also very oily, but the beef is fried chunks and not minced like I'm used to. I think it adds a great flavour profile to the combination of bread, hummus, and meat i.e it tastes better than the minced meat version.
NOSA: I wish I could find the right words to explain it. Look, just try it next time you’re there.
NOSA: Glory days are over.
FOLLY: And all we have are the memories.
Lebanese Shawarma - N1400
Hummus with beef - N2000
It's N200 and N100 on weekdays and weekends respectively, to park in the Mega Plaza lot.