Ethiopian traditional food has become increasingly popular around the Washington, D.C. area and the restaurants serving it have become showcases for Ethiopian cuisine, music and lifestyles. VOA Amharic Service reporter Alula Kebede introduces us to some of the people who have brought a slice of Ethiopian culture to the capital of the United States:
Meaza Belachew is the chef and co-owner of Madjet. It is one of the most popular Ethiopian restaurants in Washington, known for its unique food items. Meaza says some of the rare offerings, such as “Tire Siga” (raw meat) and the hot spices that accompany it have already become well-known in Washington, even among the non-Ethiopian locals. Meaza and her husband Dereje do all the cooking at the Madjet.
Tewaltengus Shenegelegne, nicknamed “Etete”, is owner and head chef of the Etete Ethiopian restaurant. Etete was a chef at the Meskerem Ethiopian restaurant in Washington for 15 years, until she started Etete in the middle of 2005, when her two sons gave it to her as a gift. Etete shares her experience as an immigrant and talks about her success and the challenges encountered. Etete, along with two of her partners, has pioneered schools for young children, back home in Ethiopia.
Tefera Zewedie, is owner of Dukem, one of the city's best-known Ethiopian restaurants, "where the bustle on the street seems far removed, as burning incense mingles with the aroma of spicy stews,” according to the newspaper USA Today. Six years ago Tefera opened Dukem in a small space, after having converted an old hamburger place into a full-fledged restaurant. Now it has expanded a lot and has absorbed the two small houses next to it.
“At the beginning the majority of my customers were from back home,” explains Tefera. “So much has changed in the last few years.”