What is the food like in Ethiopia?
The most common staple food in Ethiopia is known as wat, which is a thick stew made with meat such as chicken and lamb, or vegetables. Wat is normally served on top of injera, a large sourdough flatbread. Other popular dishes in Ethiopia include Tibs, which is sauteed meat or vegetables, and Kitfo, raw or rare beef mince marinated in spicy chilli powder. Spice is an important part of Ethiopian cuisine.
As an Orthodox Christian country, many Ethiopians don't eat certain foods such as dairy products, meat and eggs on Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as during other periods of the year. As a result of this, Ethiopian cuisine is formed of many vegan dishes, and meat is not always readily available. Despite this, most Ethiopians are carnivores, and on the days when meat is allowed, vegetables are hard to find!
Many Ethiopians claim that coffee originated in their country, and it is an important commodity. Coffee ceremonies often take place after a large meal, when coffee beans are roasted in front of guests before being served.
Are there any eating customs I should be aware of in Ethiopia?
Eating from individual plates strikes most Ethiopians as strange - the custom here is to share food from a single plate, without the use of cutlery. It is also considered rude and unsanitary to eat with your left hand, and you should ensure that there are some leftovers on the plate. It is a common superstition in Ethiopia that clearing a plate is inviting famine.