Lake Langano | Uptown | African, Chinese | Restaurant
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Mike Sula

Ethiopian-Chinese restaurant serving rare specialties such as qocho, fake banana bread, in addition to Ethiopian and Americanized Chinese menus.

Our Review

They had me at Ethiopian-Chinese food. Alas, Lake Langano doesn't serve an Afro-Asiatic mashup but two distinct menus—standard Ameri-Chinese and Ethiopian. It does, however, have something totally unique to Chicago, and very rare across the U.S. That would be qocho, a chewy, dense by-product of the enset, or false banana plant, endemic to tropical Africa and Asia but put to a very particular and ingenious use by Ethiopia's southern Gurage people, who make a liquid meal of the trunk and bury it so that it takes on a sourdough-like tang. Here you can eat qocho by the slice with kitfo, very fresh lean beef served nearly raw and seasoned liberally with fiery berbere and the spiced clarified butter niter kibbeh. The qocho itself is much chewier and heavier than injera, but with a similarly appealing sourness. Shiro, a hummuslike chickpea pulse, was just as boldly spiced as the kitfo, and I wouldn't be surprised if a slightly sweet fritter called a pastini derives from the colonial Italian influence on Ethiopian food—Lake Langano's a hybrid in more ways than one. Read more >>

Mike Sula

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Price: $$
Payment Type: MasterCard, Visa, Discover

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