Food-cations: Ethiopian Comfort Food at Etete

Food-cations highlights DC area restaurants or events that offer food and experiences so unique you might forget you’re in DC.

In case you didn’t already know, the DC area has the largest Ethiopian population outside of Ethiopia – which means you can get some amazing Ethiopian food here. In fact, 9th and U Street in the District’s Shaw neighborhood is known as “Little Ethiopia,” where there’s a cluster of African-owned shops and restaurants.

If you haven’t had Ethiopian before, it resembles Indian in that the food consists of hearty, spicy stews and vegetables. But instead of rice and naan, dishes are served on a communal platter covered with a fluffy pancake called injera, which soaks up the flavorful sauces. You tear a piece of injera and fill it with succulent pieces of lamb, legumes or whatever you order.

Meals are a social activity that involves using your hands, so if you’re averse to people touching your food, it may be an awkward experience, but still something I encourage people to try.

Among the popular Ethiopian places in DC is Etete (“mother” in Amharic), a family-run restaurant named for the owners’ mother and chef Tiwaltengus Shenegelgn.

My friend and I went for lunch and had the vegetarian platter, which comes with Gomen (collard greens), Tekil Gomen (cabbage and carrot), Yekik Alicha (split peas), Yemisir Kik Wat (red lentils) and Yeataklit Wat (carrots, potato and string beans). We also ordered fried tilapia and Goden Tibs, marinated short beef ribs sautéed in onion, house seasoning, jalapeno and garlic. Tej, Ethiopian honey wine, was a perfect complement to the meal. And the best part is everything is reasonably priced.

So while you may not get a chance to visit Ethiopia, Etete’s authentic food, welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff let you experience the best of this African country’s culture.

1942 9th Street NW
(202) 232-7600

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