Ethiopian Food Culture in Boston: It has something for everyone because of its long history, many different neighborhoods, and long history of arts, culture, and education. Boston’s must-see sights show off the history of the city, which goes back almost 400 years.
You can start your trip with top Boston attractions like Fenway Park, the Freedom Trail, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, the North End, the Boston Harbor Islands, and many more.
Even though it’s easy to spend all of your travel money in Boston, there are plenty of things to do that won’t cost you a dime. For example, you can visit the beautiful Boston Public Garden and the busy Faneuil Hall Marketplace without opening your wallet.
The most interesting part of that is the Boston Ethiopian food. Of course, here in these Ethiopian food restaurants, no meal is complete without injera, the fermented flatbread used to scoop up every tasty bit. Still, Ethiopian cooking has a lot of hearty, flavorful options for one person to take out (or use up leftovers of) like tender braised lamb, crispy fried sambusas, and a lot of vegetarian food.
What is Ethiopian food culture?
Ethiopian cuisine is a rich and diverse culinary tradition that has evolved over thousands of years. The food is influenced by the country’s history, climate, and geography, as well as its many ethnic and religious groups.
A typical Ethiopian meal is served on a large, round, sourdough flatbread called injera, which is used to scoop up stews and vegetables. The staple dish is called “wat,” which is a spicy stew made with meat, vegetables, and spices. Common ingredients in Ethiopian cooking include chili peppers, ginger, garlic, berbere (a blend of spices), and various legumes, such as lentils and chickpeas.
In Ethiopia, vegetarianism is common, and there is a wide variety of delicious vegetarian dishes, such as shiro (a stew made from chickpea flour), misir wot (spicy red lentils), and tikel gomen (stewed cabbage and carrots). Meat dishes, such as doro wat (chicken stew) and kitfo (minced raw beef), are also popular.
Drinks in Ethiopia include traditional honey wine, known as tej, and coffee, which is an important part of the country’s culture and history. In Ethiopia, coffee is typically brewed with spices, such as cinnamon and cardamom, and served in small cups.
Overall, Ethiopian cuisine is characterized by its bold and flavorful spices, abundant use of injera, and the communal nature of eating, where food is shared and served family-style.
Here are the 11 best Ethiopian food restaurants in Boston, from Roxbury to Malden, where you can order your favorite Boston Ethiopian food menu to get experience on Ethiopian food culture.
The main dishes, like lega tibs, which is beef braised with onions, fresh tomatoes, chili peppers, and the classic Ethiopian spice blend berbere, go well with the tangy injera made by the owner, Yosef Haile.
For vegetarians, a platter of yekik alicha is a good choice (simmered yellow split peas). A bottle of the house tej (honey wine) could also be considered a must-have. Blue Nile is open for takeout every day except Monday at the moment.
Web – bluenileincjp.com.
Lucy Ethiopian Cafe
This friendly little gem by Symphony is open every day for takeout. My favorite dish is the Addis combo, which has spicy red lentils, garlicky-ginger split peas, spiced spinach and potatoes, and injera.
While breakfast is on hold for now, ask about traditional coffee and drinks like the sweet and nutty besso, which is a shake made with barley and chocolate. Lucy serves food to go every day from noon to 8 p.m. (7 p.m. on Sundays).
Web – lucyboston.com.
This Central Square mainstay has been serving northeast African food to the people of Boston for more than 30 years. The tables are made of woven baskets and are made in the traditional style.
Dishes like salata fitfit, which is an appetizer of marinated tomatoes and torn pieces of injera, peppery curried salmon, and combination platters of richly flavored stews are also great for takeout. If you call ahead, you can also get gluten-free injera.
Asmara is the name of the capital city of Eritrea, which is Ethiopia’s neighbor. The cozy Asmara Restaurant is full of art from the home country of the family who owns it. It’s open for takeout every night from 5 to 9 p.m.
Web – asmararestaurantboston.com.
This tiny, unassuming restaurant is easy to miss among the busy storefronts on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain, and it’s only a few doors away from Blue Nile.
But it would be a shame to miss out on the cafe’s vibrant, berbere-flavored misir wot (lentil stew) and silky-tender yebeg tibs (sautéed lamb), both of which are currently available for takeout.
When it’s open for eating in, the small restaurant lets people bring their own alcohol. It also serves soft drinks like fresh mango juice and Ethiopian coffee. The only day it’s closed is Monday.
Web – ethiopiancafe.business.site.
After running a restaurant for 15 years in Somerville, Befekadu Defar opened this Fasika Cafe in Dudley Square in 2018 to bring more of his native food to Greater Boston: Think of Ethiopian omelets and coffee, well-seasoned lentil or beef-filled sambusas, and stews the color of the sun.
There are also some American dishes, like a blackened chicken sandwich, on the menu at Fasika. The restaurant in Somerville is closed right now, but the one in Roxbury is open every day for takeout and app delivery.
Location – 51 Roxbury St, Boston, 617-238-7979.
Mulu Ethiopian Restaurant
It provides a taste of real Ethiopian food, with many options and great service. Mulu’s Ethiopian food is mostly made up of vegetable dishes and meat dishes that are often very spicy. This is usually served as wat, a thick stew, on top of injera, a large flatbread made from fermented teff flour that is about 50 centimeters (20 inches) in diameter.
Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant
This Malden mainstay is known for its freshly seasoned kitfo, a raw minced beef dish that tastes like steak tartare and is flavored with fiery chilies and a floral burst of cardamom.
Locals also love Habesha‘s rich, deeply flavored split lentils and braised meats, which are served on big platters with soft injera. It’s open every day, and you can order online and have your food delivered.
Web – habeshamalden.com.
Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor
The healthy, colorful food and drinks on Nahdra Ra Kiros and Jahriffe Mackenzie’s menu come from the backgrounds of both of its founders: Mackenzie’s family is from Jamaica, and Kiros says he is “Ethiopian-Roxburian.”
On the plate, this means dishes like curried cabbage, misir wot (red lentil stew), and spicy African couscous.
Facebook: Oasis Vegan Veggie Parlor
Sheger Cafe and Ethiopian Restaurant
With its ultimate combo platter, this North Cambridge cafe makes it easy to try a wide range of Ethiopian dishes: It comes with beef, lamb, and doro wot, which is chicken cooked in a spicy red pepper sauce. It also comes with a few scoops of vegetables and enough injera for at least two people to feast.
The kitfo dulet also stands out; chopped onions and green chili peppers add another layer of flavor to Sheger’s minced rare beef with butter and spices. It’s open every day for app delivery and takeout.
Facebook: Sheger Cafe and Ethiopian Restaurant
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