Gastronomy in Ethiopia

01 Nov

Traditional Ethiopian Bayanet

Various people have now mentioned that I look much thinner in recent photos. Well, it’s true. First and foremost,    the food here is healthier. By this I mean, it is not fast food, college cafeteria food, etc. but rather yummy Ethiopian food. Unfortunately, every now and then there are the occasional parasites and other things that find their way into my dinner but the mix of flavors in any Ethiopian dish is quite tasty. See my picture above of a traditional Ethiopian Bayanet. A bayanet is a tray of mixed foods served with injera. Typical Ethiopian dishes are usually some sort of Wat, a thick sauce served with a variety of vegetables or legumes. I typically eat this 3-4 times a week for lunch. Other Ethiopian dishes I enjoy are Special Fool, Tegabino and Doro Wat. Fool is a dish served  for a breakfast/brunch like meal. It can be described as something like re-fried beans with onions, egg and depending on location cheese and avocado. It is usually served with bread. Tegabino is a thick wat with onions, green pepper and a lot of berbere ( a typical chili pepper like spice that is used in most wats). I like to think of it as thick re-fried beans in bigger portions and a different flavor. I normally eat it with injera. Doro wat is a very popular dish among Ethiopians. Doro means chicken in the Amharic language. Doro wat is wat made with chicken, berbere and hard boiled eggs. It is usually brought out specifically for holidays but you can find it at other big events and celebrations as well. There are plenty of other Ethiopian dishes I didn’t name but these are the ones I like and usually eat. Below is a picture of one of my favorites. A customary treat in Ethiopia is fresh juice. The one pictured below is combined of avocado, mango and guava. On a hot day in the Ethiopian jungle, it is quite refreshing.


Usually, I will eat lunch out 3-4 times a week while cooking the other days for both lunch and dinner. If I eat breakfast it is usually comprised of a couple of snacks or Special fool if I’m in Mizan the town up the road to get supplies. I have been experimenting with different foods for dinner. Luckily, there is a suk (word used to describe one of the many small shops that line the streets of every town and village in Amharic) in Mizan where I can purchase ferenji migib (ferenji = foreigner and migib = food). It is not exactly what I crave for but I have found a Ramen noodle like item, tomato paste, margarine and a recent find soy sauce. There is also tuna and canned fruits but I have to be careful because it is kind of expensive on my Peace Corps budget and buying fresh fruit, vegetables in the street is usually cheaper. For dinner over the past couple of months I’ve eaten tons of the local version of Ramen noodles with tomato sauce (sphagetti-ish?!) and fried potatoes and onions. However, with recent finds at the suk like Soy sauce and having other goodies that were sent along in my one lonely care package I’ve received 😉 I’ve tried some new recipes. For example, last night to celebrate Halloween I made fried rice using summer sausage. Slowly but surely I’ll expand to a greater variety of food I hope. Available ingredients are limited but I have found great pride in creating new dishes with what I have. Right before I eat some of them, I stare at my plate and whisper to myself, “I sure hope this tastes decent.” It usually does, but I figure after two years I will have perfected new and exciting recipes. And there you have it! I hope this posts sheds a little bit of light on the gastronomy of Ethiopia as well as what I’ve been eating. Thanks for reading.

Please be sure to check out my newly re-designed blog website. Also, take a quick peak at my Care Package Wish List page and my Contact Me page to see my updated mailing address. Christmas and my birthday is right around the corner. 😉 Thanks for reading!


Posted by on November 1, 2012 in Africa, Culture, Ethiopia, Gastronomy, Peace Corps


3 responses to “Gastronomy in Ethiopia

  1. Vicky Page Munoz

    November 2, 2012 at 5:24 AM

    Sounds like God is helping you to
    adjust! God is good ALL the time.

  2. Vicky Page Munoz

    November 7, 2012 at 7:16 AM

    Anthony, I have some of Ashley & Malachi
    Children fiction & Christian books for preschool
    & up …could u use them? Hugs Vicky

    • anavarrete2012

      November 7, 2012 at 7:36 AM

      Preschool level books would be great. One of the few books I’ve seen is To Kill a Mocking Bird at my school and it way to advanced for any of the students here. Thanks! God bless!


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