Whether you’re visiting Ethiopia or at a restaurant somewhere else in Africa, eating Ethiopian cuisine can seem intimidating.
Here are some tips that will help you learn how to eat Ethiopian food:
Ethiopian food typically comes in the form of wat, a stew or curry that is prepared with any variety of vegetables, meats, spices, and clarified butter.
If it’s your first time having Ethiopian food, go for one of the platters that usually comes with multiple wats or tibs.
Before your food is brought out, most restaurants will also serve you a moist towelette to clean your hands before you eat, or sometimes they will pour water over your hands then dry them off with a towel.
Once your food comes, the first thing to know is that pretty much all wats are eaten with injera (a sourdough flatbread with a spongy texture).
And no, we don’t mean just served as a side dish, injera itself is the eating utensil. Sorry, no silverware here.
These come rolled up on a plate beside the food and look similar to a a bunch of hot towels.
Once it’s served, just rip off a piece of the injera then hold it in your hands to pick up the food.
By the way, Ethiopians only eat with their right hands, and so should you.
It’s pretty easy, and much easier than the first time you tried to use chopsticks.
The taste of the injera might be a bit weird at first, as it does have a slightly sour taste and is often served cold. The spongy texture can also throw people off.
Not to worry though, you’ll quickly get used to it as you taste all of the amazing flavors that Ethiopian cuisine offers.
But don’t eat it all, Ethiopian food is meant to be shared, so try to leave some for your guests.
After your meal is finished, the waiter will usually come around to clean your hands once more.
If you’re anything like us, you’ll be heading back soon to try more Ethiopian food as soon as possible.