By Marie Javins, GoNOMAD Transports Editor
Pureed spiced vegetables, chicken drumsticks, hard-boiled eggs, and/or fried meats arrive in little piles on a wide pancake of injera.
Diners are presented with another piece of injera, which they tear into small pieces (using their right hands only). The small pieces are used to consume the puddles of veggies ("wat") or piles of fried meat (sometimes "wat" or "tibs") on the plate of injera.
Vegetarians do well on Wednesdays and Fridays, when no meat is eaten. But they suffer the rest of the week when chicken, beef, lamb, and goat are standard dishes.
Vegetarians will find a great deal to eat during Ethiopian Lent in March and April, unless they travel in southeastern Muslim areas where Lent is not observed (but Ramadan is). Supermarkets in Addis are well supplied for self-caterers.
Kitfo is warmed meat that is raw. Most tourist literature advises against eating it for health reasons, but it is an integral part of Ethiopian cuisine and could be sampled at an upscale, reliable restaurant or hotel or at a US Ethiopian restaurant.
Kolo is a snack food that may be available during long bus journeys. It is roasted barley, often served in a paper cone. It tastes a bit like popcorn kernels, and popcorn is also a common Ethiopian snack.
Ambo is a ubiquitous, fizzy bottled mineral water, named for its source that is near the town of Ambo. Other soft drinks include western standards and freshly squeezed juices. Plain tap water is fine in Ethiopia, but avoid it to play it safe.
Coffee is as important to Ethiopians as it is to Americans. Perhaps more so. Ethiopia holds a credible claim to being the birthplace of coffee and highland-grown coffee is its biggest export. An entire ceremony has grown up around coffee, with beans being roasted and ground in front of the guest. Tea is common in lowland Muslim areas.
Western meals are available in larger towns, and pasta is often available even in rural areas. Addis Ababa features restaurants for all tastes and budgets, including Ristorante Castelli (fine Italian), Sangam (Indian), Tomaca (coffee), Burger Queen (burgers), and La Notre (European-style bakery/cafe). The Sheraton and Hilton feature upscale restaurants and Sunday brunches.
Find an Ethiopian
restaurant near you. Recommended restaurants include Merkato in Los
Angeles, Addis Ababa in Washington DC, and Meskerem in New York. In traditional
Ethiopian restaurants, meals are eaten around a mesob -- or short, colorful,
woven table -- and water will be poured over your hands before the food
is served. In the U.S., modern tables and chairs are more common in Ethiopian
Read more GoNOMAD stories about Ethiopia
Like this on Facebook: