How about sharing you my country’s mouth watering ranges of food? Follow me please as I have listed few..

Article is excerpted from a fantastic book “Touching Ethiopia” by Javier Goza’lbez and Dulce Cebria’n

Meat (sega) can be presented in long strips-zil-zil in small chunks-tibs, fried without sauce- derek’ and boiled or stewed – kekel. delicious doro wot

Doro wat, consisting of chicken and hard-boiled eggs served with a spicy butter  sauce, onions chili, cardamom and berbere, can be considered the national dish.

Kitfo is a type of minced meat served lukewarm with a little butter, berbere sauce, accompanied in a special cheese, ayib (containing herbs which give a bitter lemon taste and provide coloring) and chopped spinach.

Kwanta, a beef jerky, prepared by placing strips of meat rubbed with chilli , fat, salt and berbere in the open air to dry.

Dulet consists of chopped intestines mixed with lean meat, then fried with butter, onions, chilli, cardamom and pepper.

Tibs are small chunks of meat fried with fat, garlic, onion and tomato.

Some words, inherited during the Italian occupation, can be used to order certain dishes in restaurants, such as arrosto (roast), (grilled meat), cabretto ( young goat), cotoletta ( rib), manzo (veal), scalopina (scallop) and pasta .

Fasting days in Ethiopia are plentiful: every Wednesday and Friday of the year, 55 days for Lent, 16 days at the Ascension and 44 days at Christmas.

On these days eating meat is forbidden and a number of vegetarian options are available. The most common are atkilt-be-dabo which contains fat or butter-fried vegetables ad dabo fir fir, bread with butter and berbere.

Breakfast is usually enkulal tibs, a kind of omeltte with red and green per person, onions and tomatoes, usually accompanied by ethiopian fasting dishbread. An exquisite pulse dish is misr, featuring lentils seasoned by tomatoes, onions, chilli and some spices.

Shiro is a puree made from chick-pea as or peas and served especially on fasting days. A pudding made from barley or wheat fried in fat and missed with bebere sauce is called genfo.

In many parts of the country the bread which accompanies meals is kocho, a highly nutritious soft cake made with the pulp of the false banana or enset.

The most commonly used vegetable and pulses are potatoes, sprouts, onion, beetroot, spinach, tomatoes, lentils and chickpeas. A wide variety of fruits are available in the markets: oranges, mandarins, papayas, mangos, bananas, pineapples, guavas, pomegranates, avocados and more.

Among the river fish, tilapia stands out. When grilled and not too well-done it is an exquisite dish. Other fish including Nile perch, barbell, tiger fish, and trout are also tasty.

For cooking oil, animal fat and butter are usually used, as well as vegetable oils such as nug oil, sunflower (suf) seed oils and cotton oil (teftere).

What to drink? Coffee to Beer

coffee ethiopia ceremonyAt the end of an Ethiopian meal coffee is always served. Preparation involves an entire ceremony, usually carried out at least twice a day.

Another popular drink is tea or shai which is consumed more in Muslim area. It is served black, with lots of sugar and is often spiced with cloves or ginger. If you prefer it without sugar, ask for it yalle sukwar (no sugar).

Among the alcoholic drinks are, tej – a kind of homemade wine made from honey and the leaves of a local bush called gesho (Rhammnus prinoides): a delicious drink which Ethiopians enjoy with meals. There are variations in strength and wetness.

The dry variety is the strongest. Derek is dry. Mehakalenya is medium dry. And  laslasa or berz is sweet and quite weak. It is served in attractive bottles called birille.

In ancient times tej was a drink of kings but today it is consumed in practically all homes . There are even Tej Bets” (Tej houses), bars where this drink can be sampled.Tella is a kind of homemade beer drunk at all feasts and celebrations.

In many villages the preparation is visible; large receptacles are heated on the fire and a mixture of water, gesho leaves and cereals such as millet, corn barley or malt is placed inside.

The drink is slightly bitter and very refreshing if one is thirsty but the water is not normally filtered. However, there are industrially manufactured beers that are very western and high in quality with complete health safeguards: Bedele, Meta, St George, Amber, Walia, Bati, and Harar are among many. In general Ethiopian beer is mild and  has a pleasant taste.

Arake is a strong liquor sometimes made in villages by means of somewhat archaic contraptions. One of the finest industrially produced, twice-filtered, is Dagem Arake.

Ethiopians do not usually drink wine but some wines are beginning to find a niche for themselves, such as the red wines Goudar and and recently a fantastic one, Rift Valley or Acacia brands are recommended.


It is not customary to eat dessert or fruit after a meal. Instead, coffee is served, sometimes accompanied by popcorn which should be accepted with both hands spread out together.

It is considered good manners to leave a little food on the plate when one has finished eating, above all in rural areas, because otherwise it is taken as an invitation to hunger which could unsettle the household. The meal is concluded by washing one’s hands again.

Dining is a wonderful way to make friends and to increase your knowledge of the country .

Enjoy your meal!

Eskinder Hailu - Manager, Highway Tours

Eskinder Hailu
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