How to Order at an Ethiopian Restaurant

Need to know how to order at an Ethiopian restaurant? To appear confident and comfortable at an Ethiopian restaurant, there are a few things a diner should know. Ethiopian cuisine highlights the vibrant culture of Ethiopia. The food is delicious and memorable, but first you need to know what to do and order when you get there.

  1. There won't be any utensils at the table. Make your choices based on what you think you would be reasonably comfortable scooping up with your fingers and flatbreads. You will be given an opportunity to clean your hands.
  2. Figure out if your dining partners want to share, as is the traditional Ethiopian dining method. Most Ethiopian restaurants offer a large platter to be shared among a group featuring stews, which are often spicy and are known by the name "wat," and vegetables. The platters are lined with the Ethiopian bread which is called "injera." You and the other members of your dining party will rip off  pieces of injera to scoop up the wat, as well as the vegetables.
  3. If you are alone at an Ethiopian restaurant or your party is not interested in sharing, you will order a la carte dishes. The dishes you can choose from will be a variety of wat and vegetables, but keep in mind they are all small servings and you will need to order a few to make a complete meal.
  4. Know that there is never a pork option. Traditionally, Ethiopians do not eat pork, so Ethiopian restaurants will not prepare or serve pork products.
  5. Clarify what is spicy and what is mild. Not all wats are spicy, and several are suitable for those who do not enjoy hot food.
  6. Your traditional Ethiopian beverage choices are limited but interesting. There will typically be available at an Ethiopian Restaurant Ethiopian honey wine, called "Tej," Ethiopian beer and Ethiopian coffee. Drink the wine or beer with your meal and save the coffee for dessert as Ethiopian cuisine is not big on sweets, but coffee originated from Ethiopia.
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