I’ve loved Ethiopian food since I discovered a restaurant in Montreal, called Blue Nile, where my flatmates and I would go and gorge ourselves for any special occasion we could think of. The food, spicy and fresh was presented like a painter’s palette on spicy sour injera pancake. I couldn’t wait to try it all in the home country when I arrived.
I assumed perhaps erroneously, that what I had sampled in Montreal and other Ethiopian restaurants around North America and London would be just the tip of the iceberg of Ethiopian food. When I arrived in India, for example, I found whole cultures of cuisine unrepresented at Canadian curry houses and the whole experience was a revelation. I thought I was in the for the same in Ethiopia.
I was to be slightly disappointed. The food I had in Addis was the same as the food I had in Canada, give or take and the ubiquitous hamburger joints and pasta/pizza houses around Addis in all variety of price ranges only showed me that what I was to discover in Addis wasn’t Ethiopian food I hadn’t seen, but aspects of Western food that had been happily adopted.
What I did enjoy, however were Ethiopian ‘traditional restaurants’ – where food and drink were served alongside dancing and live music. These restaurants are far from the tourist traps where mediocre food and tired dancers go through the motions for visiting tourists, but are enjoyed by Ethiopians primarily, who enjoy the songs and music and celebrate special and family milestones in these establishments.
Below are a few pics of the evening. You begin by washing your hands, you eat and take in the music and dancing, you end with Ethiopian coffee and popcorn.
I enjoyed extremely the dish ‘kitfo’ – a type of Ethiopian steak tartare. While I may have been risking tapeworm eating it, but it was worth it! A true Ethiopian delicacy.