Visitors never cease to wonder at seeing things in Ethiopia that are unusual. Among the varied food and dishes served are many notable for their uniqueness and delicacy, tempting anyone whether hungry or not.

Of course travellers can find a wide selection of restaurants catering for Indian and Chinese to European or American cuisine. But Ethiopia has a cuisine and a style of presentation that make it unique and endemic, much like its wildlife.

You would almost never leave someone’s house without eating, whether you are a guest or not. Before eating the hands are washed with water caught in a special bowl and poured over the hands of each person.

Also while eating you will find ‘gursha’ given as a mark of great friendship; usually given at least twice. It is a tradition usually carried out by the host who picks a morsel of the food and feeds you directly by putting it into your mouth.

Injera the national bread

This is a staple food that serves as the base of every meal. It is served in a mesob (a basket made of straw), spread out like a large thin pancake; with different kinds of wot (sauces) put on top of it. Don’t mistake this for a table cloth like an American tourist once did.

Doro-watYou will be passionate for Doro-wot, considered to be the most sophisticated and almost the national dish of Ethiopia.

Tasty chicken usually cut into 12 pieces and accompanied by hard-boiled eggs is served in a hot sauce of butter, onion, chili, cardamom and berbere (hot powder red-paper).

If you ask any Ethiopian which food they particularly love the most, you will undoubtedly hear he or she reply – ‘Doro-wot’. It has an exotic and delicious taste and an aroma that stimulates the appetite.

Also ‘Tre-siga’ a raw meat served with various spicy sauces and ‘Kitfo’ a minced beef or lamb served raw or warmed (lebleb) in butter rosemary and berbere are popular and much loved foods among many Ethiopians. You may also find yourself addicted to them like many a native Ethiopian.

Shiro-wot, a chickpea or bean puree lightly spiced and accompanied by vegetables is served especially on fasting days. It might be one of your preferences especially if you are a vegetarian.

There are also tasty local made beverages from a local shrub known as gesho and Tella and Tej (honey wine) served in beautiful flasks. You might also like to try Arake a grain spirit which has a pretty powerful kick.

Traditional Coffee CeremonyIf you really want to treat yourself with an exotic experience of Ethiopia, you should not miss the coffee ceremony. Ethiopians are rightly proud of their coffee, since Ethiopia is the original home of coffee.

High quality coffee is still produced today, noted for its flavor and often blended with other fine coffees from around the world.

For the visitor a real and exotic experience will be to take part in this traditional coffee ceremony accompanied by freshly cut grass scattered on the ground, burning incense and coffee beans roasting in a pan.

As the smoke rises you’ll be offered the delicious aroma, to draw toward you and inhale.

The beans are then ground with a pestle and mortar and brewed with water in a pan. When it is finally ready, the coffee is served in tiny cups in three turns served with ‘Buna-kurse’ a small snack, usually popcorn is the other part of what is a beautiful ceremony.

Eskinder Hailu - Manager, Highway Tours

Eskinder Hailu
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