Plaza Blog

A Brief History of Ethiopian Food in LA

Ethiopian food has a rich and storied history that dates back centuries. Its origins can be traced to the ancient kingdom of Aksum, which was located in the northern part of present-day Ethiopia. The food of this region was influenced by a variety of cultural and historical factors, including the region's location on the ancient trade route known as the Silk Road, as well as its close proximity to the Middle East and Africa.

Ethiopian food is characterized by its use of injera, a flatbread made from teff flour, as well as a variety of spices and herbs. The most commonly used spices include berbere, a spicy blend of chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and other spices, as well as korarima, a spice made from the seeds of the false cardamom plant. Berbere is also the name of a Santa Monica restaurant that has a modern twist on Ethiopian favorites.

Ethiopian food made its way to Los Angeles in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when a wave of immigrants from Ethiopia and other parts of Africa began settling in the city. These immigrants brought with them their culinary traditions, and over time, they established a thriving community of restaurants and food trucks that serve authentic Ethiopian cuisine. Today, there is a "Little Ethiopia" on Fairfax Ave. in Los Angeles. One popular Ethiopian restaurant worth checking out is Rosalind's!

One of the most popular dishes in Ethiopian cuisine is doro wat, a spicy chicken stew that is typically served with injera. Another popular dish is kitfo, a type of raw ground beef that is often served with injera and a spicy sauce called mitmita. Other dishes include shiro, a stew made from ground chickpeas, and tibs, a dish made from sautéed or grilled meat.

What makes Ethiopian food so good to eat is its unique blend of flavors and spices. The use of injera as a base for many dishes gives the food a distinct sourdough flavor, and the spices used in Ethiopian cuisine add depth and complexity to the dishes. Overall, the combination of flavors and textures in Ethiopian food make it a truly unique and delicious culinary experience.