When I’m not traveling, I spend my time trying out new places around my area. From hole in the wall places to international cuisines, Orlando has a variety of places to explore and try. One good place, I was introduced to during the weekend was a small Ethiopian restaurant around International Drive.
I must admit, I have never been curious about Ethiopia and had no idea what traditional Ethiopian food looked like. Lucky for me, I had an expert teach me how to eat Ethiopian food and for those wondering, I didn’t have to use a fork at all.
The Nile Ethiopian Cuisine Restaurant is a quaint little place unseen by drivers. However, once in the parking lot, a big sign that says ‘Nile Ethiopian Cuisine,’ sticks out attracting anyone interested in something different. The restaurant offers seating outdoors and indoors, but the the real Ethiopian vibe occurs indoors, where the decor is of all things Ethiopian followed by the huts to the side of the restaurant. Inside these huts, pairs can enjoy a meal privately. However, for parties of 3 or more, it is recommended to eat in the dinning area away from the huts.
In the dining area, near the walls are smaller tables with colorful mesobs on top. Mesobs are large basket trays, where the food is served. Aside from the lovely decor, we were helped by an Ethiopian waitress. Who was kind enough to recommend honey wine, which is made in the restaurant.
When I first looked at the menu, I was unsure as to what dish I wanted to get. Everything looked good and the options all seemed delightful. Thankfully, my fiance wanted to share and so we ended up getting the Chef’s Special Combination. The combination came with chicken doro wat, doro alicha, beed alicha, beef tibs, cabbage, collard greens, lentils and split peas. This combination was served on an injera, which is a sourdough flat bread with a spongy texture. Aside from being served on an injera, a bowl of injera comes along with the food so that we are able to eat the food.
Most foreigners will eat this with a fork, if they aren’t too comfortable eating with their hands, but the real experience is using the injera as an eating utensil just like Ethiopians do.
Once I was taught how to eat the dish, I started to rip pieces of the injera and with it, would grab the food. It’s sort of like our U.S version of Nachos, except you use injera and you don’t dip – you grab.
I was impressed with the combination dish. Being able to try a little bit of everything was not only amazing, but it was also a great experience. Nile Ethiopian Cuisine not only had an amazing staff and delicious food, but they taught me more about Ethiopia and the culture.
If you would like to try them out, but would like to see more of their menu, click here. This was a great place and I will definitely be going back for seconds!