NOSA: Chinese food is one of the most fascinating things I’ve personally encountered. Especially the regional interpretations of it. Like, how Chinese food in America is slightly different from Chinese food in Nigeria. From General Tso’s Chicken in America to Ramen and Gyoza in Japan, there’s a lot to be written about the migration of Chinese people and how well they adapt (and influence local cuisine) when they migrate. When we visited Accra last year, one of the local food bloggers told us how Chinese fried rice was so popular that Ghanaians have co-opted it as their thing.
FOLLY: One of the ways you can see how big Chinese food is a thing here in Nigeria is at our celebrations. At events, you’re often offered the Nigerian menu as well as a Continental or Oriental menu. The oriental menu usually has adapted Nigerian favourites like glass noodles, sweet and sour chicken, curry shredded beef etc. More could be said about this in a broader discussion about that, which this is not.
NOSA: Noodles (read: Indomie) are really popular in Nigeria and it’s a bit strange that Ramen Shops or Noodle Bars haven’t really exploded here. Actually, maybe it’s not that strange, I can’t really see Nigerians getting into soup noodles to be honest. Indomie “Bars” are definitely a thing, however, but that’s an off topic discussion for another day. Kiss Noodle is very much in the Ramen Shop mould and it’ll be interesting to see how well they do in Lagos.
FOLLY: Noodle shops that Nosa would go to have not exploded here, but street food stands that deal in Indomie and egg exclusively, are popular in areas that I frequent in Lagos. I’ve seen quite a few on street corners in Lekki, Victoria Island, and Yaba. It’s usually just a wooden table covered with a table cloth or tarp - then they have a crate of eggs and the Indomie variants stacked on the table.
FOLLY: Enough of the backstory though, we checked out Kiss Noodles in Palms a few weeks ago. We came to know about it through one of our chef friends.
NOSA: I’m not the biggest fan of the location. Like, I see how it could work in a mall’s food court but I absolutely hate it because I hate The Palms with a passion. Noodles are a very intimate thing so having random men come sit on your table with your face in a bowl of noodles is not the vibe. Oh, and if the name didn’t give it away, the menu is full on noodles. There’s a sprinkling of Nigerian Chinese in there to keep it accessible.
FOLLY: They also have a Nigerian team member at the front desk too, in order to keep things accessible in that regard as well because there is a SIGNIFICANT language barrier with the international staff.
NOSA: Because Folly and I like to pretend we’re not Philistines, we avoided the accessible stuff and went all in. We got the Braised Beef Noodles Soup and Shanxi Fried Sliced Noodles, with a side of dumplings.
NOSA: For a mall food court, it’s a bit on the pricey side. Sounds a bit rich saying that with Debonairs around the corner, but I’m sticking with it. Nothing in a food court should cost over N2000. If you have to make portions smaller, then so be it. Once you start pricing things at N4000, then I full expect a waiter and proper table service.
FOLLY: I was surprised about the prices too but I was really excited about the food so I didn’t focus on the prices at all.
NOSA: I really like dumplings and they’re pretty hard to mess up so it’s easy to easy to see why I ordered it. As expected, they didn’t let me down one bit. I still haven’t figured out how eat soup dumplings with chopsticks. That’s the one skill I really want to acquire this year.
FOLLY: The dumplings were confusing to me because we had three different kinds in one bowl - pork, meat, chicken. I’m not really big on steamed dumplings and I prefer pan fried too so this wasn’t really a winner for me - based on personal preference.
NOSA: I’m not really big on soup noodles so I ate more of the flat noodles, which looked more interesting when they were being made than when I actually ate the thing. Watching the guy make the noodles from scratch makes a great Boomerang, by the way.
FOLLY: The flat noodles tasted oddly like bok choy. Okay, that’s not odd because there was bok choy in the noodles, I just didn’t expect it to taste overwhelmingly like Bok Choy considering the small amount of bok choy that was in the dish.
On the soup noodles, it wasn’t similar to Pho at all - the flavour profile was really different (most noticeably there was no cilantro) and it wasn’t as fragrant. I repeat, if you’re expecting something similar to pho, this is not the one. it was okay in it’s own regard - 7/10.
NOSA: It’s not, like, great GREAT but it’s good enough. And it’s also hard to find anything like this in Lagos so I’ll definitely come back.
FOLLY: When they have a proper space so I don’t have to deal with random men in my personal space who ask if I brought the table from my house and other questions.
Dumplings - N4000
Braised Beef Noodles Soup - N3500
Shanxi Fried Sliced Noodles - N3500
It’s a mall so there is A LOT of parking, you just have to pay.