I’ve recently gone to an Ethiopian restaurant – Zenebech Restaurant in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC. This was my first time having Ethiopian food, though I’ve eaten food from all over the globe, from Indian to Brazilian to Korean. I was told prior to going that Ethiopian food is different from other foods I had tried. In particular, with Ethiopian cuisine, you eat with your hand, no utensils. This stunned me, as I hadn’t heard of that many cultures where you don’t use a fork and knife, except in parts of Asia where they use chopsticks. I didn’t know what to expect once I got there; I didn’t know if the food was going to be to my liking or if I would find it repulsive.
After trying a handful of different dishes, I can say for certain that Ethiopian food is delicious. The taste was similar to that of Indian food. The order that I got was a mixture of vegetarian dishes and meat dishes, including lamb (awaze tibs), beef (alicha wot), and chicken (doro wat). I found the meats themselves underwhelming, but the sauces that they were in were tasty. The sauces were made with a whole variety of spices and vegetables, which made them enjoyable to eat.
Because you don’t eat Ethiopian food with utensils, you use a special bread called injera. Injera is considered to be a sourdough bread with a spongy texture; if you look at this bread, it would look like dishwashing sponge. The bread comes from teff seed, which is from Ethiopia. I personally didn’t like the bread because of the texture felt weird and off-putting in my mouth. It had a generic taste, but the texture made my mouth unsettled, so I made sure to eat the bread with a lot of sauce. The vegetarian options that I ate were also very tasty; there was one with sunflower oil and injera mixed together which wasn’t very good (probably because I didn’t like the bread).
The food came out pretty quickly from the time that we ordered, which was also fascinating. I thought it would be a typical restaurant where one would have to wait upwards of 20 to 30 minutes for their food to come, but the food came rather quickly, like in less than 15 minutes. I found the services and the food very enjoyable, and I would highly recommend that you go out and try Ethiopian food.