To eat or not to eat?
12.01.2013 - 25.01.2013 28 °C
We're alive! I know it's been awhile (more like a month) since the last post but trust me finding any type of connection in Africa is next to impossible. When you do, like right now....this is what you get. Another post.
Now wherever you go, food can always be an appetizing adventure. When we landed in Ethiopia we knew what to expect. Lots of injera, meat and the odd fish dish! Only when you try food outside the homeland in London or Toronto, you just never know how authentic it will be.
During the two weeks we were in Ethiopia we tried to taste a new dish a day. Only it wasn’t always as easy as you think...lots of the menus were westernized to accommodate the travellers taste. Boo!
If you know Natalie and I well enough then you know how much we love food. It’s for this reason we thought it would be interesting to share a quick snapshot of some of the local grub we’ve filled the hunger hole with.
Spris – What better way to start your day with a fresh Spris!? When we first saw this on the menu we thought it was a misspelling for a certain soft drink. Wrong! It’s a 4 layered fresh fruit drink...starting with papaya at the bottom, avocado, banana and pineapple juice. Then topped with a squeeze of lime!
Fatira – A fried double layered crepe type pastry that can be eaten as such with a bit of honey on the top or it can be filled with eggs, tomatoes or cheese. It usually cut in bite size squares where you can chew into the crispy goodness.
Neshif special – A delicious local favourite! Scrambled eggs with onions and peppers with a layer of spicy soaked bread pieces filling the bottom then topped with yogurt. No fork needed as it’s served with a small baguette to scoop it up! (Sattelite Cafe - Gondar)
Confused egg sandwich – Not an easy one to get wrong. We asked for butter and ketchup, only to receive a small bowl of this paprika chilli type spice. At least it added a little kick to the already stale roll. Oh and take a look at the children’s turtle plate! (Some restaurant at the gates to the Simien Mountains)
LUNCH AND DINNER
Injera with a side of injera and a little bit of dipping goodness... I would love to explain all these “tapas” like dishes; I just think most Ethiopians would be offended if I referred to them like such. Each dish is a meal size portion for one or many depending how many you choose.
Once you have selected one of the many saucy meat, fish or vegetables dishes you must choose a side. A carb-tastic choice of rice and potatoes or the infamous injera! The staple of any Ethiopian diet, no meal is complete without the latter. It’s a sour tasting sponge-like pancake which is available in 3 types: white (most expensive), brown (most sour and cheapest) and mixed (served mostly). This is then usually rolled out across a round serving dish. Each dish is then poured onto the injera, allowing the flavours to soak into the bread. Admittedly, some have been absolutely delicious while others what can we say...we wouldn’t order again. At least the ones below were for the most part edible.
The following two dishes are the first two we tried and tested in Addis. The first is “bean firfir, whilst the second is “chicken shiro”.
Bean firfir –Crushed beans in a spiced tomato sauce with cut up pieces of injera. Not a strong tasting dish, a filler nonetheless.
Chicken Shiro - Chicken served with a buttery specialy spiced chickpea flour based sauce.
Kitfo special with cheese and spinach and shiro tegabino – The “kitfo” originates from northern Ethiopia. This is actually a two part dish that we shared at a restaurant in Gondar. It’s lightly spiced minced lamb meat served with finely grated cheese and sautéed spinach and onions. While the “tebagino” is powdered chickpeas prepared with ginger, onion, garlic, tomato and berbere sauce. (Kitfo Hut, Gondar)
Fish Dullet – Another local classic! A lightly sauced chilli infused dish where the first few mouthfuls go down smoothly before it starts to bite back. It’s also served with a harrissa type dip for an extra kick!
Fish goulash – You wouldn’t believe me if I said that this tasted exactly like “hot & spicy” bbq chicken wings...but it does. Flash fried fish pieces smothered in a buttery hot sauce. It was our fail safe dish on any menu! Delish!
DRINKS AND SNACKS
Coffee and Popcorn – Consider yourself lucky if you’re invited for a coffee ceremony! They go all out by freshly roasting the beans, and prepare popcorn with a dash of sugar to sweeten it up. Odd but good!
Talla – This special brew is made more for the local pallet! It’s fermented barley and hops, the same as beer only thicker and more bitter. You can usually find this strong hair growth solution at any local local restos - in more rural areas.
Tej – Another local favourite with its own unique honey taste. Each village or town even have their own “Tej House” to choose from. All depending where you get it, it can differ from awfully good to awfully bad!
This was only the first part of the food discovery across Africa. There were many other dishes worth mentioning...it just took too long to upload the photos. Bon appetit!