Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ethiopian Cuisine At Its Best

I had my first Ethiopian food in Berkeley, California, during a Model UN conference at UC Berkeley in high school. At the restaurant, I had no idea what to expect and just went with the flow as the teacher ordered some dishes for the table. Soon the waitress brought us a huge edible platter of vegetables and meat that you eat with your hands. Welcome to the world of Ethiopian food.
Ethiopian food is by far my favorite cuisine. It can be a bit heavy at times because the sauce usually incorporates a lot of oil and butter, but as long as as I am not eating it every single day, I think I can survive.
I went to an Ethiopian restaurant called Addis Red Sea near Porter Square with a friend in Pfoho who I have been meaning to treat to a meal for awhile. We ordered the "Addis Red Sea Special Combo" ($28.95), which featured six highlights/recommended entrees.
Ethiopian food is eaten with hands, which provides such a bonding experience. Probably not the best place for a first date though because it can get quite messy. In addition to the huge platter you get, you also get a basket of injera, or Ethiopian flat bread that you use to scoop up the meat/vegetables.
Gomen Wot, or chopped collard greens cooked in herbed oil with onions, green peppers, and garlic. The collard greens was cooked so thoroughly that it was really soft and tender. I liked that the seasoning for this dish wasn't too strong.
Doro Alcha, or chicken simmered in a mild sauce of butter, ginger, and onions. I couldn't really taste the butter, thankfully. The chicken was tender and the sauce was, indeed, mild. Suitable for those who don't like spices!
Doro wot, or tender chicken marinated in lemon, sautéed in seasoned butter and stewed in a red pepper sauce. I liked the tang of spicyness in this dish, but it was a bit greasy.
flavored with onions, garlic & ginger root with a pinch of cardamoms & nutmeg
Zenge, or exotic beef stew. The beef was a bit tough. The sauce was right in between spicyness and mildness.
Lega-Tibs, or beef chunks sautéed in oil seasoned with onions, green peppers, rosemary, and black pepper. This dish was quite spicy. Like the spicy chicken dish above, it was also too oily.
Ethiopian-style salad with onions, tomatoes, and hot green peppers. I love when the injera underneath soaks up all the flavors from the entree. It tastes so rich!
I think Ethiopian food has a beautiful presentation.
I think the cuisine is an acquired taste. For example, my mom, who doesn't like spices (and therefore no Indian food for her!) probably won't like Ethiopian food either.
The dish is served on a colorful "table" that resembles an upside down sombrero.
Apparently, his name is "Mesob" and he's very fragile. Haha.
Addis Red Sea on Urbanspoon

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