Dec 18

Ethiopian Food and Drink (A fun look from eating raw fish to bees in my wine)

After spending almost 6 weeks in Ethiopia, I thought it would be fun to share some of the amazing Ethiopian Food and Drink… yes, believe it or not, I drank and ate everything in this post!  I may have had a few belly aches, but it was worth it!

Ethiopian Foods

This is the most common meal in Ethiopia. Tibs is a sauteed beef or goat, sometimes cooked with onion, garlic, and peppers. Injera is the large round sour bread made from teff grains flour.









You can also get Tibs grilled in a clay pot with hot coals. This is called Shekla Tibs.








There are many lakes in Ethiopia. When you’re near the lakes, you must try the fresh fish.


Orthodox Christian Ethiopians have many fasting days… every Wednesday and Friday and the entire duration of Lent.  Fasting means that no eggs, dairy, or meat (other than fish) may be consumed.   My favorite fasting food was a mix of vegetarian foods on Injera bread, called Bayenetu.

This was another fasting meal. The one on the left is Tegamino, a thick bean paste with raw garlic and peppers baked in a clay pot. The one on the right is Shiro, a thinner bean paste.


The Hawassa fish market is a great place to get fish fresh from the lake. This meal consists of fried fish, yummy fish soup, and round corn breads.


If you have the stomach for it, you really should try the Ethiopian sushi. fish fresh from the lake, served with crushed chili peppers, garlic, and lime juice.

This is breakfast in Key Afer town… beers and raw meat. I could only stomach a couple bites of raw beef. The raw steaks are cut from the carcass at this butcher shop and restaurant when ordered, so it’s fresh.

My favorite condiment is hot sauce, pronounced Dah-tah. My mini bus stopped at a roadside shop and everyone jumped out to buy some at this one spot. Must have been good!

The selection of street food and snacks is great in the eastern city of Harar. This guy was frying donuts in the alley ways of this charming town.

Occasionally you will get popcorn when you order the famous Ethiopian coffee. If you don’t eat it quick enough, you might lose your chance!

Ethiopian Drinks

Coffee is the national drink. The price of a small cup costs from 3 to 10 ETB (11 to 37 cents), depending if they charge you the locals or foreigners price. It’s common to put 2 or 3 spoons of sugar in this small cup. I found it tastes best with 1/2 spoonful.

Juice shops are everywhere! You can get pure juice, or a mixture like this. The lowest layer is strawberry syrup and guava juice, the middle is avocado juice and chocolate syrup, and top is mango juice. This is topped off by squeezing a lime on top and stirring it all together. Juice costs from 18-30 ETB, or 66 cents to $1.10.

The wine industry is growing in Ethiopia’s Rift Valley. There are several brands you can buy.

Ethiopians love their beer. There are many brands made all over the country but the oldest and favorite is St. George’s, like this draft I enjoyed by the shore of Lake Hawassa. You can buy draft beers for as low as 12 ETB (44 cents) and bottles for just a few cents more.

Ethiopia is famous for it’s honey wine, or Tej. Especially around Addis Ababa, it’s common to get fake honey wine that contains no honey. This honey wine, purchased in the market in Konso is obviously real… full of bees wax and even a dead bee!

The ethnic tribes in the south of Ethiopia use this Sorghum beer as a food source. We bought this bubbly brew and shared it with the locals in a makeshift bar on market day.

The hardest local liquor was this “schnapps” served at the Dorze village. For 300 ETB (about $12) you can tour their village and they will give you as many shots as you want.

Do you think some of these foods are extreme?  You should see the stuff they have at the Beijing Night Market.

Are you looking for a place to stay in Ethiopia?  Consider supporting this blog by reserving your hotels in Ethiopia or anywhere else in the world at my link, at no additional cost to you…

What do you think of Ethiopian food?  Would you try all of these?  Leave your thoughts below.




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    • Carole Davis on December 18, 2017 at 3:19 am
    • Reply

    The food sounds delicious. Bayenetu with injera sounds the best but i would probably try it all. Despite my love of sushi and sashimi, that raw fish looked a little hard to swallow. The raw meat reminded me of the delicious raw liver I had at a Sudanese celebration. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, Bayenetu was one of my favorites – I actually looked forward to fasting days that were the only days you could get it. The raw fish actually wasn’t bad – I downed about 7 pieces. Then my Ethiopian friend ordered beer because “you need alcohol after raw fish!”

    • Karen Bryngelson on December 18, 2017 at 4:54 am
    • Reply

    That photo with your friend eating your popcorn is perfect! I enjoy your posts.

    1. Thanks Karen. You should have seen what happened when we gave the monkeys bananas. Total chaos!

    • ute ahrens on December 20, 2017 at 4:30 pm
    • Reply


    The food looked wonderful (except the beer brew maybe), including the raw fish and beef. We eat beef tartar and even raw pork at home, so that would not have bothered me. I hope they sliced the beef really thin though, I would not want to have an entire chunk/steak and my breakfast plate 😀

    Thank you for your wonderful blog. It has been great fun following your travels.

    Merry Christmas, Ute

    1. Merry Christmas to you too!

  1. Love the article! It all looked good except the raw beef. I wouldn’t have been able to have even one bite of that!

    1. I probably wouldn’t have but there is a practice in Ethiopia of sharing food and feeding others called Gursha so it was done for politeness and culture.

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