Taste Test: Lagos Cinema Snacks
Have you ever realised how few cinema chains we have in Lagos? When I realised I was going to have to go to Silverbird for this review, my blood ran cold. I haven’t gone there since I heard that rats run around during the movie screening.
Bisola Durosinmi Etti Dr, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos
0902 499 7900
The first cinema I went to was Filmhouse (Lekki).
Fun Fact: The cheapest ticket at Lekki Filmhouse is N2000, but that same ticker in the Surulere Filmhouse is N600. SMH.
Another fun fact; popcorn became popular as a movie snack around the Great Depression when street vendors, recognising an opportunity, set up shop outside movie theatres. Eventually, the movie theatres partnered with the street vendors or cut them out entirely, selling their own popcorn.
Okay, to be fair, that fact wasn’t real fun like that. Also by now, our snacks should have evolved way past popcorn as the main attraction, which is why I took it upon myself to try the other standard cinema snacks, the hotdog and the shawarma.
(Ed Note: Is shawarma a snack or a meal?)
I decided to see The Upside and order the holy trinity: popcorn (sweet and salty), a hotdog and a chicken sharwarma. I was pretty surprised that mayonnaise was a hot dog condiment option. If there’s no mustard, is it even a hot dog?
The attendant told me the shawarma would take 15 minutes to make and I had to come back and pick it up myself, which sucked for a N2000 cinema. I got there just as the movie was starting, which meant I would have to miss some of the movie for shawarma.
The hotdog was extra chewy, but I was hungry and it’s a cinema snack, so my expectations were already pretty low. I finished it before Kevin Hart finished his first scene in the movie. The popcorn was cold and kind of soft, it didn’t taste mixed and there were a lot of unpopped kernels in the bag.
After 15 minutes (I timed it), I went to check on my sharwarma. It was waiting for me at the till. When I bit into it, it was cold, which was annoying as it was wrapped in foil and I went exactly when I was asked to. It was also seriously lacking in flavour. In 2019, I really expect every sharwarma to have flavour; just squeeze mayo, ketchup and a dash of pepper together. There was no pepper in this one and it made me feel like I should have agreed to the “sausage” in my sharwarma.
133 Ahmadu Bello Way, Victoria Island, Lagos
0701 265 5677
The next cinema was Silverbird. I was excited because it was my first solo cinema experience but I wasn’t excited because, it was Silverbird. For some reason, the old Barcelos chairs now live in the cinema food court. I thought that was weird, but what was even weirder was that there was an indomie stand…in the food court. I’m all for a new take on cinema food but indomie?
My movie was at 10.20am and when I went to get my popcorn, there was only a single layer of popcorn in the tray. I was worried that I was eating popcorn from last night but that didn’t stop me from collecting it. There was no sharwarma, so I ordered what passed for a hotdog. Considering the fact that I wasn’t convinced the popcorn was fresh, I definitely wasn’t that convinced that the hotdog/sausage roll was fresh either.
Armed with stale snacks, I went to watch Up North. The movie was good, it really made me want to go to Bauchi and there were no unnecessary plot twists. The popcorn was as I suspected, stale and the hotdog-y thing was stale too. I asked for sweet and salty popcorn, but that was honestly expecting too much and I tasted no salt.
The Palms Shopping Mall
0809 573 8937
The last cinema was Genesis at the Palms. The popcorn was hot, fresh and pretty. I asked for it to be mixed and this was the first time I tasted salt as well as sugar. I ordered a sharwarma (wait time: 5 minutes) and a hotdog.
I honestly think hot dogs should be banned from cinemas in Nigeria. The bread they use is a no go. The actual hot dog was long enough to fit the bread, but the bread was stale and gummy. I had one bite for science and it was a shame because the hot dog tasted good, but I was not trying to get food poisoning from that bread.
The sharwarma was hot, “ata rodo” spicy and the wrap was crunchy. It was a good sharwarma, I would actually buy it again without watching a movie. That said, it’s a good thing the food was good because the movie, Second Act, was pretty…bad.
The Palms also has Hans & Rene, Cold Stone and Sweet Kiwi, which technically aren’t in the “cinema”. Palms is a junk food paradise, basically.
Cinema hotdogs should actually be cancelled and after this taste test, I don’t think I’m ever eating a hotdog again.