I like to think of myself as somewhat of a connoisseur of international cuisine. I'm not really the kind of person who can write detailed food reviews with flowery language of how savory flavors exploded in my mouth and excited my taste buds, but I am the kind of person who knows what she likes. I'm well used to the most common ethnic cuisines, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Spanish, Middle Eastern, Indian, etc. but I'm also a big fan of some of the lesser known cuisines as well, like Mongolian, Russian, Tibetan, Uzbek etc. So, when someone introduces me to an ethnic cuisine I knew nothing about, I'm always quite stunned. But, it has happened again, this time with Ethiopian food.
Apparently Ethiopian food is becoming a really popular, trendy food in the States nowadays, but since I don't live in the States, I had no idea. Upon arrival in Washington, DC, one of my old friends from Korea offered to take me into Little Ethiopia around 9th and U streets in the Northern part of DC.
We went to Etete, a rather classy Ethiopian restaurant about a 3 minute walk from the U st. subway station. Looking at the menu was a bit overwhelming for me, I had no idea what anything was or what to expect, the names were completely foreign to me. We went with the vegetarian combo and another bean based dish. I wasn't sure what to drink, so I went with the Ethiopian honey wine called Tej.
Tej is really sweet, but sweet in an almost bitter way. It's also deceptively strong, I was feeling the effects after just the one glass, that I sipped slowly throughout my meal.
Next came our meal. I don't know what I was expecting, but it was certainly not this. All the food is placed on one dish which is placed in the center of the table atop of a spongy, flat bread called injera. Rather than handing you a fork or spoon, all you get is a pile of more bread with which you can scoop up the food. Actually it reminded me a bit of living in Georgia, although the bread was completely different...
I love this kind of communal eating. It could stem from the fact that I do often feel that the grass is always greener on the other person's plate... I hate being restricted to only eating from my own dish, I want to try some of everyone's food! Communal eating is the perfect solution. It could be why I get along in Asia so well....
So, after such a wonderful experience with Ethiopian food in DC, when I arrived in New York and was asked what kind of food I'd like to try... I couldn't help but ask for more Ethiopian food. Fortunately, my friend in NYC was also thinking along the same lines and knew of the perfect place to go.
We headed over to Ghenet Brooklyn, on 4th ave and Douglass St. in Brooklyn. Here we also ordered a 3 person combo where we were able to choose 3 meat dishes and 6 vegetarian dishes. And another tej honey wine.
Why oh why did I have to discover this food only to have it taken away from me in a few short weeks when I return to Seoul??? I've already searched online. There is currently no Ethiopian food in Seoul, although apparently there used to be but the restaurant closed. So, I send this message to all my Ethiopian readers in Seoul: Please, oh please open an Ethiopian Restaurant soon so that I don't have to go without this amazingness in my life!!
Read about DC's "Little Ethiopia": http://articles.cnn.com/2010-10-22/world/little.ethiopia.washington_1_ethiopian-food-ethiopian-restaurants-dukem?_s=PM:WORLD