The word ‘authentic’ is a complex claim when it comes to food. If you ask a Spaniard what is an authentic paella for instance the answer will differ from region to region and in some instances could result in physical violence if contesting regions debated the subject. The same applies to Indian, Italian, French and almost every cuisine.
Of all the cuisines, the most difficult to nail down as to what is authentic would be Chinese. Pundits mostly agree that there are 8 great regional cuisines of China. Shandong Cuisine, Guangdong Cuisine, Sichuan Cuisine, Hunan Cuisine, Jiangsu Cuisine, Zhejiang Cuisine, Fujian Cuisine and Anhui Cuisine. The complexities of each cuisine are unique and reflect the available produce, climate, culture and cooking styles.
So when we say there is now a real authentic Chinese restaurant in Bohol we have to qualify the claim to say there is now a real Sichuan restaurant in Bohol.
And wow it’s great!
Let’s start this review with a warning. If you don’t like spicy food this restaurant most probably isn’t for you. Even though there are more mild dishes on offer you really need to appreciate what Sichuan is about to really immerse yourself in this experience.
Hold on…..I just realized we haven’t mentioned the name of the restaurant yet!
Ready for it? The restaurants name is Lola.
Yes Lola….hmmm. Not a traditional Chinese name is it? Actually the restaurant was originally Italian then Spanish with its latest incarnation being Lola Chinese. Neither the Italian nor the Spanish survived but we are confident that this reincarnation will because the food is excellent!
We are not exactly sure why they kept the name but hey, who cares when the food is so good.
So to the review.
We have eaten at Lola several times with groups ranging from 4 to 12 so we have had a chance to try most of the dishes. Each time we visited the other patrons were mainly Chinese which is always a good sign. The food is quintessentially Sichuan. Featuring the ‘rules’ of the region:
Three Peppers (Chinese prickly ash, pepper and hot pepper)
Three aroma (shallot, ginger, and garlic)
Seven Tastes (sweet, sour, tingling, spicy, bitter, piquant, and salty)
Eight flavors (fish-flavored, sour with spice, pepper-tingling, odd flavor, tingling with spice, red spicy oily, ginger sauce, and home cooking).
It’s hard to recommend one ‘go to’ dish so we will just suggest taking a big group and try as many as you can.
The ambiance of the place is basic but the service is efficient and fun. Plastic table cloths, paper napkins and no alcohol beside beer, rustic but it has its own charm.
A sneak peak into the kitchen and you can see the Chinese chef and his massive wok burners doing his thing ably assisted by Philippine offsiders. A cacophony of sites, smells and shifting fragrances.
It’s impossible not to like Lola. More so when it’s such a dramatic breakaway from the many restaurants now dotted around Bohol. It should be no surprise then, that with the influx of Chinese and Korea visitors to Bohol sooner or later we would get a good example of their cuisine. It has yet to happen with outstanding Korean food but Lola has certainly set the bar high for Chinese (Sichuan) food.
New restaurants like Lola is exactly what we want to see in Bohol. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.