When I arrived in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia for the first time this month, I had no idea what to expect from the food there but I was willing to try as much local food as I could. I started off in the capital city and I tried what is known as a Vegetarian Combination, locally pronounced “Bay Eine Toe”. It was a type of meal I had never had before, though I have no idea if it is completely unique to Ethiopia or not, but the locals here sure as hell like it! It was a must try.
The only other “white person” I spoke to at length in Addis Ababa was Kaylika from the USA, who had been working in Cameroon and was in Ethiopia to pick up an Indian Visa. We enjoyed a few drinks together and a quick tour of the Kera and Mexico areas. It was Kaylika who introduced me to this Vegetarian Combination.
What’s in an Ethiopian Vegetarian Combination?
OK well it might vary depending on where you buy it and how the chef makes it, but mine consisted of:
– a massive pancake on top of which all the food goes
– carrots, beans, cabbage, onion and chillies
– boiled potatoes in a curry sauce
– minced peas
– yellow lentils in a sauce
– fake beef style bolognaise which was spicy and tasty
How to eat an Ethiopian Vegetarian Combination
For a start forget about cutlery or being a posh western git. Use your hands. OK wash them first if you feel the need (I did) and just pick up the pancake and dip into any part of the combination you want. You’ll love it. This was truly one of my favourite meals from travelling this year (and I’ve been to 12 countries so far in 2013).
How much does an Ethiopian Vegetarian Combination Cost?
This is Ethiopia so it’s cheap. Don’t more more than $3 US for it. And wash it down with a top class St. George Beer (the local brew). Mine cost about 39 Birr, which is just under $3 US Dollars and that was in the hostel!
Where can you get an Ethiopian Vegetarian Combination
Ask around and you’ll find it when you’re backpacking in Ethiopia. Ethiopian food is also one of the best I’ve tried in Africa. Most local restaurants and hostels sell it. I ate in my hostel (Atelefugne Hostel in Kera). I also noted that around Ramadan time a lot more of it is consumed, so be aware of that. Since it’s vegetarian and outrageously tasty muslims and non muslims love it.
Here’s a video on how to eat this awesome Ethiopian Vegetarian Combination:
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