Category Archives: Resources

Africa Food Review: Ethiopian

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.

Sources:

https://teffco.com/what-is-teff/

African Food on TV

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown Season 1- Congo

Inspired by Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Bourdain takes a cruise down the Congo River and discovers the food and people that keep the country standing in the wake of extraordinary conflict and instability.

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown Season 2- South Africa

Bourdain visits Johannesburg, South Africa and looks at the country’s complex colonial and racial history.  He also travels to the dangerous suburb of Hillbrow and spends a day with a Johannesburg taxi driver, while of course also stopping to try to local cuisine.

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown Season 4- Tanzania

In this episode Bourdain travels to Tanzania, a country famous for its safaris.  While there, he goes to Zanzibar, an island that was at one time a central part of the slave trade.  While there he samples street food, seafood, and Zanzibar pizza.

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown Season 5- Madagascar

Bourdain travels to the island nation of Madagascar, making his way from the bustling capital city of Tana and traveling via an old French railway to the other side of the island.  Along the way he samples the food of the locals, dishes that have aspects of both indigenous and European flavors.

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown Season 6- Ethiopia

Bourdain travels to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa where he shares injera bread and beyaynetu platters with locals.  He looks at the history of Ethiopia and how the east African nation is modernizing in the twenty-first century.

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown Season 7- Senegal

In this episode Bourdaiin visits Senegal, where he is taken back by the political stability of the country, the openness and kindness of its people, and the uniqueness of its food.  He meets up with successful Senegalese chef, restaurant owner, and author Pierre Thiam to share a meal and have a conversation about the country’s culture.

Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown Season 12- Kenya

Accompanied by W. Kamau Bell, Bourdain travels to Kenya, where he explores the juxtaposition of the bustling, and increasingly cosmopolitan metropolis of Nairobi and the nearby wilderness filled with so many animals that are unique to Africa.  They try goat’s head soup and other Kenyan dishes that evolved out of poverty and the necessity to make the most with what you have.

Anthony Bourdain No Reservations Season 3- Ghana

In this episode, Bourdain travels to west Africa for the first time.  He visits the “old” Ghana, a land that is vastly different from the more developed regions of the country.  He explores the remnants of slavery and the takes the country’s food and music.

Anthony Bourdain No Reservations Season 3- Namibia

Bourdain looks at the history of German conquest in Namibia and how it shapes the country today.  He starts his journey in Walvis Bay, where he samples seafood.  He then makes his way inland where he hunts with a local tribe in the plains for bushmeat.

Influential African Chefs as Food Ambassadors

Check out this link for a look at African chefs who are putting the African palette on display internationally.  Be sure to keep an eye out for these names on TV, online, or in food publications.  Today, people all over the world are starting to have greater access to African foods through grocery stores and restaurants.  So people even predict that it will be the next big food trend.

http://ayibamagazine.com/african-chefs-cooking-storm/

Maps!

Understanding the politics of food in Africa can be easier when looking at maps. The below maps all come from a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

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This map offers a useful illustration of the food insecurity throughout Africa. It is useful to compare the regions when looking at the politics of food.

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While percentages offer a good mode of comparison, it is also useful to identify specific numbers of populations. This is especially true when coming from the developmental standpoint, which we focused on when looking at aid. Through this data, policy makers are best able to tailor decisions to create an appropriate response.

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This graph shows that a large number of African states were in an emergency phase in 2016, which indicates that policy needs to be directed towards this issue. This graph also highlights that where there are areas of displaced peoples, we also see a high correlation of food insecurity.

Source:

FAO. “Global Report on Food Crises 2017.” FAO: Global Report on Food Crises 2017. 2017. Accessed December 13, 2018. http://www.fao.org/3/a-br323e.pdf.