I became an Ethiopian food convert.
As a person, I love having new experiences. Most of the time, these are experiments I generally am slightly apprehensive about. The hesitation is more internal than external. This year, I realized I must look outside my little bubble and explore new circumstances. I started with a more enhanced bucket list. The list is long & will probably never end, but that is the thrill of it. I solemnly swear not to postpone.
Let me start off by relating an experience trying Ethiopian food with my buddies. Like any new experience, this originated from the “noob foodie” episode of “The Simpsons”. The opening sequence revolves around Marge, Lisa & Bart are lamenting about the fact that they can’t eat another slice of the “usual” pizza pie and crave for new, authentic cuisine. So they spot Ethiopian food, and though reluctant the entire gang embraces the hospitality & the new sensation associated with the experience.
My experience is similar and all of us were eager. The owner was generous and even poured us all complimentary Ethiopian mead or honey wine called Tej. We declined the typical Ethiopian coffee ceremony and instead demanded our grub.
Based on the photo enclosed, the thin crepe or flatbread is called Injera. Injera is basically a sourdough risen with a slightly spongy texture. It reminds me of a typical Middle Eastern pancake, the name doesn’t come to mind at the moment. Injera is very similar to the Indian Dosa or a non-sweet crepe.
Since I am a pescetarian, my friends ordered a special vegetarian-based concoction of Misir wot, Alicha Kik & Spinach for me especially and for them to snack on. Misir Key Wot is a cooked red lentil, chopped onions, garlic, tomato puree, and mild Berbere. The Alicha Kik Wot is a yellow split peas simmered in onion and garlic sauce. My friends did indeed order a meat combination of lamb & beef dishes but they claimed the vegetarian version was better & had flavors enticed the taste buds. We used our hands as this was the typical Ethiopian way, as explained by the owner. The food was definitely tasty, different & the ambiance inside the cafe was loaded with colors & memorabilia from the country. I must state our experience was enhanced by the fact that we had no negative, preconceived notions about the cuisine. We arrived, willing, ready to taste and with a tabula rasa mind.
So often, we forget that there are places & experiences that we overlook. We decide to neglect the new and the different for the familiar. Ignorance is not knowing & is not bliss. Nevertheless, this is to one tried & tested experience and for many more experiments.
To your journeys & adventures