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National cuisine of Ethiopia for gourmets. Authentic recipes, delicacies and specialties

Everyone, who has tried Ethiopian cuisine at least once, mentions how delicious and addictive it is. Local cuisine is absolutely incredible. People keen on hot and spicy food will be particularly pleased. For centuries, local farmers used fertile lands of the country to grow teff, maize, chili peppers, and moringa. These ingredients add a special charm and inimitable taste to local cuisine. If there was a task to describe Ethiopian cuisine in several words, it would be “various cereals and spicy sauces”. When it comes to describing the look of local food, there is one word that fits the best – injera.
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So what is “injera”? This is an irreplaceable element in every Ethiopian meal. It is a sourdough-risen flatbread that Ethiopians eat on a daily basis. Injera is made from teff flour. The flatbreads are approximately 50cm in diameter. Injera adds a special Ethiopian charm to all food. The flatbreads are usually served with Kitfo and Tibbs on top (we will talk about this one a bit later), as well as vegetable ragouts, ground meat – in short, almost everything. The main rule is to make food taste spicy and rather hot. By the way, forks and spoons are also not very popular because local people enjoy dipping pieces of Injera in food and eating them.
Berbere is the second most important element in Ethiopian cuisine after Injera. Berbere is a mix of chili peppers, roasted onions, and some spices. The taste is so divine that it feels like pure magic. By the way, local cooking experts keep in secret the exact proportions of spices that they use for Berbere. This spice mixture is used not only in the main dishes but also in desserts. Thick paste-like consistency, dark cherry color, and incredible fragrance – these are the key characteristics of Berbere. Knowing them, it is not hard to recognize an Ethiopian dish wherever you are. Copyright
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Let’s talk about meat. Ethiopians eat meat, but not always. The truth is that local church – Ethiopian Christianity – is based on multiple traditions and customs from the Old Testament. In accordance with the religion of Christian Ethiopians, there are several fasting periods every year. Moreover, Wednesday and Friday are also days with a special menu. Ethiopians eat vegetarian dishes only on these days. Luckily, the choice of delicious dishes without meat is truly incredible. Local people do not eat pork, and this rule applies to Christians who live in accordance with the Old Testament traditions and Muslims. That being said, goat meat, beef, poultry, and mutton are very popular in Ethiopia.
Now let’s be more detailed about certain dishes as this will help tourists to know more about local cuisine and to make the right choice when they look at the menu in a local restaurant. Tibbs is the term for longer slices of meat, usually mutton or beef, which are roasted and served with a spicy sauce. Doro Wot is the best choice for everyone who likes chicken meat. This is chicken in an onion sauce. Kitfo is one of the most popular dishes in the region. It contains marinated and then roasted ground beet meat, chili pepper, and Niter Kibbeh (spiced clarified butter). Kitfo can also contain cheese and greens. Just like many other dishes, Kitfo is served with Injera flatbreads.
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Without a doubt, everyone knows about Ethiopian coffee. Actually, the word “coffee” derives from Kaffa, the name of a province in Ethiopia. Some of the best sorts of Arabica coffee grow in Ethiopia. Even though the country is not the leader in terms of coffee beans production, local coffee is delicious and is worth the attention of tourists. It is impossible to imagine a friendly meeting of Ethiopians without a cup of this fragrant drink. Every meal or feast always ends with coffee. Tourists interested in local alcohol should try honey wine and local beer.
There are interesting traditions about food consumption in Ethiopia. As it was mentioned above, locals often use pieces of flatbread instead of forks and spoons. However, no one will be surprised if you take the food with your hands. Quite the opposite! This way you will eat like an Ethiopian. It may look uncomfortable and confusing at the start, but once you get accustomed you may wonder why do we even need all those utensils when it is so comfortable to eat with hands? Ethiopians don’t like eating alone, so it is absolutely normal to invite a solitary person to join others and eat together.
Ethiopia guide chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Fantastic City Tours and Excursions in Ethiopia

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Cuisine and restaurants in popular cities of Ethiopia

Addis Ababa
However, a pleasant surprised is also prepared for fans of meat. Despite the fact that meat dishes are not as popular as vegetarian specialties, each one deserves the highest praise. A very popular dish is "tybsy" prepared from mutton or beef. Pieces of meat are fried and served with a hot sauce. The most famous exotic dish is "bryndo" - pieces of steamed meat served with a spicy sauce in a similar way. Fans of more traditional food can order a regular stewed meat, which is usually garnished … Read more

Map of Ethiopia cities with popular restaurants

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