These are all words commonly used to describe Ethiopian food. However, these words can be a little intimidating for people who rarely venture outside of a few favorite foods. Here at Benyam Cuisine, we want everyone to feel welcome and like they can turn to us for a delicious, healthy meal.
To help encourage more people to come in and try our Ethiopian food, even for the first time, we decided to put together a little guide that can help you to navigate our menu with ease. These suggestions of where to start your journey into Ethiopian cuisine will help you to avoid ordering something that’s a little too overwhelming right off the bat. Of course, our knowledgeable staff is always happy to answer any questions that you may have about our cuisine, as well as what flavors you can expect from various dishes.
Before we get started on our list of suggestions, let’s address one common question people have when they visit our restaurant for the first time…
Will I Have To Eat Ethiopian Food With My Hands?
If you were raised in a culture that always uses cutlery, like forks or chopsticks, eating with your hands can seem a little weird, even impolite! However, we’re here to assure you that eating with your hands will not garner you any odd looks when you’re at Benyam Cuisine.
Of course, we’re talking about the practice of serving Ethiopian dishes on a type of spongy flatbread known as injera. In Ethiopian families, and authentic restaurants like ours, pieces of injera are torn off and rolled up to form a type of spoon. This “spoon” is then used to scoop up bites of the various dishes. And when you’re done, you get to eat the spoon too!
But don’t worry, if you’re not comfortable eating this way, or aren’t interested in ordering injera, we’ll be happy to bring you a knife, fork, and spoon for your meal.
Delicious Ethiopian Dishes For First-Time Guests
OK, now that we’ve gotten the “eating with your hands” thing out of the way, let’s talk about some of the best dishes for your first foray into Ethiopian food.
Injera – We already mentioned this staple of Ethiopian cuisine in the section above, but now let’s talk about how you might encounter injera in our restaurant. We offer this teff flour-based bread as an appetizer, spread with butter and Ethiopian spices, and separated into easy-to-eat rolls. If you’re planning on sampling a variety of different dishes, get two orders of injera so that you can try it with everything! We also offer injera as an ingredient in our Yetsom Ferfer entree, but that can sometimes be a little spicy for beginners.
Wat – Also referred to as ‘wot’ this is a traditional Ethiopian stew. Like American stews, wat can be made with many different combinations of ingredients and spices. We serve wat with beef, chicken, lamb, shrimp, and fish, as well as vegetarian wat.
Gomen – Are green been casserole or creamed spinach your favorite parts of holiday dinners? If so, you’ll love this traditional Ethiopian side dish. Made with collard greens and spices, this dish is bright, flavorful, and the perfect counterpoint to some of our richer dishes.
Tibs – This adorable word is used to describe an Ethiopian dish that’s a cross between stir fry and stew. Like wat, tibs can come in many different varieties. Although it’s often served with meat, there are also vegetarian or vegan preparations. We have several mild versions of tibs on the menu, or if you’d like to try them all, you can order the tibs sampler.
Remember, Benyam Cuisine Makes Healthy Eating Easy!
If you have a passion for healthy food but are tired of the same boring dishes, it’s time to get out of your kitchen! Plan to visit one of our Benyam Cuisine Restaurant locations in Harlem for dinner tonight. Who knows? You might just love it!
Many of our most loyal customers are those who had never tried Ethiopian food and may have even been a little scared to try it. One day, they decided to swallow those hesitations and try something new. In our warm and inviting atmosphere, our kind servers walked them through the ordering process, and now they’re pros! Order online now.
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!