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6 Ethiopian Food Favorites – What To Eat In Ethiopia

Discover the Ethiopian food favorites that we can’t wait to eat when we visit the intriguing African country.

Ethiopian Food - Mixed Plate

Image: asimojet /

Ethiopia is on our radar.

We often think Ethiopia when we drink specialty coffee since this country is one of the key producers of high-quality, single-origin coffee beans. However, our fascination with Ethiopian cuisine started years ago when we each ate Ethiopian food for the first time.

Ironically, we didn’t share our initial Ethiopian meals together. Daryl enjoyed his at an Ethiopian restaurant in Philadelphia while Mindi ate hers in Washington, DC. However, we were both highly impacted by our meals.

First and foremost, Ethiopian food appealed to us with its bright colors and spicy flavors. However, the dining experience is what impacted us most.

Though novices to the cuisine, our naivety about items on the Ethiopian food menu didn’t matter. Ethiopian meals are a family affair. We let our friends order food which everybody shared.

And the best part? We were able to use Ethiopian bread in lieu of utensils.

Ethiopia Food Guide | What To Eat In Ethiopia

Ethiopian Food - Roasting Coffee on Charcoals
Ethiopia produces 3% of the world’s coffee. We can’t wait to taste some freshly roasted over charcoal when we visit Ethiopia. | Image: derejeb /

Now that we travel the world in search of unique food, we’re keen to visit Ethiopia. Beyond experiencing one of the cradles of human history, we can’t wait to eat all the food starting with savory dishes all the way to Ethiopian desserts.

Without a doubt, we’ll visit an Ethiopian coffee plantation and delve into the history of arabica coffee. We’ll also shop at local markets in the countryside and eat Ethiopian street food in Addis Ababa, the nation’s capital.

We’ve already done our research and know that it’s important to plan ahead and arrange an e-visa. Completing an Ethiopia visa application online is easy, plus most major airlines fly to the capital city. Heck, maybe we’ll even use frequent flyer miles when we book our flights.

Once we finalize timing and logistics, these are the Ethiopian foods we want to try first:

1. Injera (Ethiopian Bread)

Ethiopian Food - Injera
Injera is more than just bread. Locals also use this sour flatbread as a spoon. | Image: derejeb /

As bread lovers, we fully relate to a country that treats bread like a national treasure. It’s one of many reasons why we adore France.

In Ethiopia, Injera is an integral part of every meal. The spongy, fermented bread is literally the base of many dishes, acting as a conduit for meats, vegetables and sauces.

Ethiopian Food - Teff Grains
Grains are an important component of Ethiopian food. | Image: vlad_k /

However, the best part of Injera is that it doubles as a spoon. Across Ethiopia and at Ethiopian restaurants around the world, diners pull off pieces of Injera to scoop up mouthfuls of tasty morsels.

As a bonus, Injera bread is vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free. Though we don’t fit into any of these dietary categories, we fully support the Ethiopian bread’s versatility.

2. Mixed Platters

Ethiopian Food - Mixed Platter on Injera
Food is often served family style in Ethiopia via mixed platters with a selection of meats, salads and vegetables on top of Injera. | Image: MagicBones /

We typically want to taste multiple dishes when we travel, which means that we often share dishes between the two of us. This approach won’t be a problem in Ethiopia where mixed platters include a selection of Ethiopian dishes and are meant to be shared.

As carnivores, we’ll order various versions of Muheberawi platters since these include meats like beef, chicken, lamb and goat. We also want to try Yetsom Beyaynetu platters that feature a melange of vegetables and lentils.

Regardless of our choice between meat or veggies, we’ll thoroughly enjoy Injera bread both as a utensil and starch. As previously mentioned, we love bread.

3. Doro Wat (Chicken Stew)

Ethiopian Food - Doro Wat
Chicken stew known as Doro Wat is a popular dish in Ethiopian cuisine. | Image: asimojet /

From Khao Soi in Chiang Mai to Cholent in Budapest, we’re suckers for slow-cooked foods heavy on both tradition and flavor. Doro Wat, the popular Ethiopian chicken stew fits the bill on both counts.

This Ethiopian traditional dish features chicken, garlic, onions and hard-boiled eggs. However, the inclusion of Berbere, a special spice blend, adds the signature flavor to the country’s most famous dish.

If you’re not familiar with Berbere, the spice mixture includes chili peppers, garlic, ginger and basil plus an assortment of spices indigenous to Ethiopia. Although Ethiopian chefs often use Berbere when cooking, Doro Wat is the most famous Ethiopian dish to feature this unique tongue-tingling blend.

4. Kitfo (Raw Beef)

Ethiopian Food - Kitfo
Kitfo is a popular Ethiopian dish made with marinated minced raw beef. | Image: lenyvavsha /

Kitfo is another Ethiopian dish that derives its flavor from a chili-based spice blend, in this case – Mitmita. However, unlike Doro Wat which features chicken, Kitfo’s protein is raw beef.

We’ll probably order Kitfo as part of a mixed platter first and then order it as a stand-alone dish over Injera. We’re not afraid of raw meat when it’s prepared correctly, but less adventurous diners can instead order Kitfo Leb Leb with rare beef instead of the raw alternative.

5. Ethiopian Spices

Ethiopian Food - Peppers
Market vendors sell red chilis and spices at Ethiopian markets. | Image: hecke06 /

Ethiopian cuisine embraces a variety of spices and herbs to achieve its bold, bright flavors. Popular spices include Korarima (cardamom) and Abish (fenugreek) but Ethiopian spice options are extensive enough to fill a rack. Locals can buy an array of spices at local markets throughout the country.

In Ethiopia, it’s typical for chefs to mix spices with red chilis to create blends like hot Berbere and even hotter Mitmita, both mentioned above. Just like spices, red chili peppers are readily available at Ethiopian markets.

Although it’s not technically a spice, Niter Kibbeh is a popular clarified butter that’s flavored with spices. When we’re in Ethiopia, we plan to apply the Ethiopian version of ghee liberally to our food along with Berbere and Mitmita.

6. Ethiopian Coffee

Ethiopian Food - Ethiopian Coffee
Ethiopian coffee is recognized around the world for its fruity flavor profile. | Image: Wollwerth /

As much as we want to eat the best Ethiopian food during our trip, our top priority will actually be to drink copious amounts of coffee in the landlocked country where the caffeinated beverage originated many centuries ago. The epicenter of arabica coffee, Ethiopia is the seventh largest coffee producer and exports about half of its beans.

In many ways, drinking coffee in Ethiopia will be a pilgrimage. We’ve savored Ethiopian coffee in specialty coffee shops all over the world, but drinking it at the source will be the realization of a food travel dream.

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About The Authors

About The Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers their unique taste of the world.


We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Original Publication Date: February 19, 2019

Nibret Alemayehu

Sunday 25th of April 2021

The picture with Teff discription is not Teff maybe Barley or Ethiopian oats.

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Sunday 25th of April 2021

Thanks for your valuable feedback. We've updated the caption accordingly.


Saturday 29th of August 2020

The dynamic food in the planet! I 100% sure Enjera will take over the world!!!


Saturday 27th of March 2021


Thank you Ken. Ethiopian Food is delicious & exautic❤

Kam-Marie J Seghit

Friday 28th of February 2020

Please consider traveling to Ethiopia's ???????? sister country, Eritrea ???????? while you're in East Africa ☺

Phineaus StClaire

Monday 9th of December 2019

You have done well in your fair presentation on Ethiopian food. You might as well add the fact that Ethiopia not only is the home country of coffee but also the only country in the world to have over three thousand varieties of coffee preserved in its Arisi ana Kaffa lush forests. Thanks. Tecols

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Monday 9th of December 2019

Thanks for providing this additional information about the coffee in Ethiopia.


Friday 6th of December 2019

For any Ethiopian doro wot the key ingredient is the original home made berbere.


Sunday 25th of April 2021

@Aster, my mother makes the best berbere...from Eritrea...

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