Did I mention they eat Ethiopian food in Ethiopia? I mean, of all the crazy things!
This only struck me as remarkable, I suppose, because the Ethiopian restaurants I’ve been to all have very much the same aesthetic and presentation and menu. So I assumed they were presenting a semifictional version of Ethiopia, the way a certain type of red-lacquer-and-moon-doors Chinese restaurant does of Chinese food.
But there it all was, injera rolled out on platters, dotted with different stews, and men sitting there, eating with their hands, like it was utterly normal. (Which it was, yes. It slowly sunk in…)
The grocery store was even stocked with all the ingredients for these dishes. Berbere, shiro, etc, etc. (Also lots of pasta. And, the one real surprise, loads of different kinds of peanut butter.)
I can’t recommend this tour enough! Our fantastic guide, Xavier, was up for any question, and the neighborhood we walked around was also an interesting mix of business and residence and income. We went everywhere from a really basic lunch joint to a weekend-splurge restaurant that specialized in raw beef.
In the end, the tour didn’t reveal a wildly different cuisine from what Peter and I knew (not the way, say, just walking down the street in Bangkok did the first time we went there). But it did fill in a lot of detail in the big picture we already had. It also gave me fresh respect for the Ethiopian restaurants I know, and how true to the cuisine they actually are.
May we also suggest these fine posts from the vaults?