This scenario of resistance is particularly true when people are asked to try a type of food that they’ve never encountered before, like the Ethiopian food we serve here at Benyam Cuisine Restaurant in Harlem.
We understand that people can be very particular about the types of foods they put into their bodies, now more than ever. We understand that you’ve developed a certain sense of taste over the course of your life, and you’d rather not waste a meal on something you’re not going to enjoy.
However! We’d also argue that you only have one life and it ought to be full of memorable experiences. Trying a new cuisine is a great way to broaden your flavor horizons as well as meet new people with which you might have food in common!
To help assuage some common fears and concerns about Ethiopian food, we decided to put together answers to a few of the most common questions we get about our dishes here at the restaurant. If you’ve ever wondered these things, let us put your worries to rest!
1. Is Ethiopian food vegan?
‘Veganism’ is a type of diet that eschews animal products of any kind. In addition to not eating meat, vegans also avoid dairy, animal-based fats, and sometimes even honey. Because Ethiopian cuisine is naturally made up of many vegetarian dishes, it is generally considered to be vegan-friendly. This means that while not all dishes are vegan, they can be made vegan with only slight alterations. If you’re a vegan, we hope you’ll visit us here at Beniam Cuisine. Simply explain your dietary preferences to our servers and cooks, and we’ll guide your ordering.
2. Is Ethiopian food gluten free?
In most cases, yes! The staple ingredients of Ethiopian cuisine are split peas, greens, lentils, cabbage, carrots, vinegar, etc, are generally gluten-free. If you were to eat it in Ethiopia, it’s likely that even Injera, the flatbread many Ethiopians use to scoop up their favorite dishes, would be gluten-free too, but in the United States, that isn’t always the case. To be safe, it’s best to inquire about which foods on our menu are completely gluten free before ordering.
3. Is Ethiopian food spicy?
Yes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will burn your mouth like salsa or hot sauce. As we detailed in Beniam's post about Ethiopian spices, these pungent additives are used to take the flavor of our dishes to the next level. Yes, in many cases, they will also add some heat to the dish, but it’s not altogether unpleasant. If you prefer dishes with milder spice, simply ask our servers to point you toward their best recommendations.
4. Is Ethiopian food healthy?
To answer this question, all you have to do is look at the ingredients that make up most Ethiopian staples:) There are grains (like the teff used to make injera), vegetables, legumes, and lots of stimulating spices. There’s also lean meats and seafood, which take a second place role to the veggies and grains, just as many Western doctors say they should. Finally, everything is topped off with stimulating spices that enhance immune function and detoxify the body.
We hope that these answers have cleared up any questions you may have had about Ethiopian food and made you just a little bit more curious to try it for yourself. We encourage you to start your culinary foodie adventure today!
Come try out Beniam Cuisine and experience the flavorful atmosphere no matter the type of eater you and your family members may be. Check out our menu today!