Ethiopian cuisine consists of various vegetable or meat side dishes and entrees, often prepared as a wat or thick stew. One or more servings of wat are placed upon a piece of injera, a large sourdough flatbread, which is 50 cm (20 inches) in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour. One does not eat with utensils, but instead uses injera (always with the right hand) to scoop up the entrees and side dishes. Traditional Ethiopian food does not use any pork or seafood (aside from fish), as most Ethiopians have historically adhered to Islam, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, or Judaism, all of which prohibit eating pork. Additionally, throughout a given year, Orthodox Christians observe numerous fasts (such as Lent), during which food is prepared without any meat or dairy products. Another food eaten in Ethiopia is Doro Wat which is chicken stew with hard boiled eggs.
Though Ethiopia has no fanfare with regards to restaurants, It does have food to excite your culinary buds. The food in Ethiopia is a source of national pride and a reminder of the country’s history. It is their form of thanksgiving.
The chefs don’t make appetizers or dessert; neither do they come up with complex and intricate menus to whet appetites. Food in Ethiopia has one purpose to filling nutritious and as flavourful as possible. This is so even at the city’s most high end restaurants.
Ethiopia’s culinary specialty is injera; no meal is complete without it. Injera is basically a huge, thin pancake made from sour wheat like grain called tef. It is very spongy on one side because it is not flipped unlike a pancake. The toppings ranging from spicy chickpea hummus with caramelized onions, to grilled chicken dripping with a sweet yogurt sauce are placed on top of the injera.
Injera serves as the plate, knife, fork and spoon because of the scarcity of utensils in the region.
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Agelgil offers entertainment while you eat in the form of dances. Two men and two women adorned in traditional regalia dance in well choreographed dances. The meal ends with a coffee drinking ceremony that is a huge part of the Ethiopian culture. A waitress comes to your table with hot coals and a basket of coffee beans and roasts the beans then grinds them and fills them with hot water. She then sprinkles incense leaves in the remaining coals. A meal for two here will cost around 200 birr or $24 including drinks.
the Dashen restaurant Located behind the main post office building on Churchill Avenue was wonderful one-simply ethiopian cooking at its exquisite best. The restaurant layout is traditional-having being converted from a house dating back to the late1940s- with high ceiling interconnecting rooms which creates a warm, cosy family ambience The kwanta fitfit was divine-just the right blend of butter and sauce; the mix was rich in succulent dibbles of meat that crunched and melted instantly in the mouth... This was served with side portions of kidney, liver, tongue, chillies, salad & yogurt. This was served /presented in a most attractive way that made the communal eating such a delight-so much so that even the most fastidious foreigner would feel comfortable with. If you wish to impress your ethiopian hosts/friends or introduce a fellow foreigner to the magic of Ethiopian cuisine this is definitely the place to go to. Live classical music on weekends -not too noisy-makes this a culinary sensation for all the senses
Habesha Restaurant is located on Bole Road near Wollo Sefer junction in a candlelit tukul – which is a traditional hut with low wooden tables. The waitresses are pretty girls dressed in white cotton dresses and they approach you with a silver tray and a pitcher. This is warm water and soap for washing your hands because they don’t serve food with cutlery so your hands have to be clean. They then light an incense stick on your table; this is another of Ethiopia’s tradition. The restaurant specialty is injera served with sautéed spinach with caramelized onions, spicy potatoes with red peppers, yellow lentil hummus, fried green beans with garlic, mashed chili peppers, refried beans with tangy pepper, crushed chickpeas and a crisp, green salad. Injera eating is not a delicate affair so don’t be surprised to see the locals ripping of big sections and dunking them in the dips roll up your sleeves and join them too. Eating at Habesha is bound to be a sensory feast; incense in the air, drumming and singing by a live band and the spicy scent of the meal surround you to give an exciting stimulation to all your senses. A meal for two cost around 100 birr or $10 including drinks.
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