Global Bites without the Flights: Ethiopian Cuisine at Awash

The next continent I want to travel to is Africa. I have a craving for it like you wouldn’t imagine, but I am having trouble taking the plunge and actually planning a trip. This is mostly because of two issues – where within this huge continent do I go and will anyone accompany me there?

Before I suck it up and just book tickets on a whim by myself one night (it’ll happen soon, I can feel it), I thought I could at least start to explore the continent’s cuisine as my third entry in Global Bites without the Flights.

Last week, Kater and I met at Awash in the East Village to catch up on her recent Eurotrip and to try out Ethiopian food. The first thing we did was decide on a wine. I’m not a big wino – I would much rather have beer, vodka, or chilled Patron – but when eating Ethiopian, do as the Ethiopians do. A traditional Ethiopian meal is served with tej, a honey wine. We sampled two, a regular dry honey wine and one that was similar but with blackberries as well. The blackberry wine was way too sweet for an entire meal so we went with a bottle of the Sheba Tej, which happened to have been made in New York, but it still counts.

10milesbehindme_EthiopiaGB1

Kater and I ordered a combo of two meats and three veggies – these descriptions are from the menu, the bebere sauce is made of chili peppers and other spices.

  • Tibs Wat – Beef strips cooked in specially seasoned berbere sauce
  • Yebeg Alicha – Tender lamb cooked in butter with onions and green peppers
  • Gomen – Collard greens cooked with onions, garlic, and green peppers
  • Yemissir Kik Wat – Split red lentils cooked in berbere sauce
  • Yater Kik Alicha – Yellow split peas cooked and seasoned with onions, peppers, and herbs

Ethiopian food is served on a flatbread called an injera. It is similar in function to Indian naan, but soft and thin. To eat your meal, just tear off a small piece of injera and wrap it around whichever foods you want – no utensils necessary. I don’t think I’ve ever had any of the veggies before (I eat *maybe* three vegetable servings a year) and was pleasantly surprised with all of them, especially the lentils. The meats were delicious – the beef was very spicy and although I didn’t realize at first that some of the lamb was still on the bone, once I figured that out, I was pretty happy.

10milesbehindme_EthiopiaGB2

There were two things that Kater and I forgot about while eating Ethiopian though. One is that Ethiopian food is typically eaten with just your right hand, I think we may have used both and not focused on the rules. Two is that we did not perform gursha, the act of feeding each other as a sign of friendship and love. I have a feeling if we had ordered another bottle of that honey wine, gursha may have happened. Something to look forward to for next time.

xx

Advertisements

One thought on “Global Bites without the Flights: Ethiopian Cuisine at Awash

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s