The Ethiopian national dish is called wat. It is a hot spicy stew accompanied by injera (traditional large spongy pancake made of teff flour and water). Teff is unique to
the country and is grown on the Ethiopian highlands. There are many varieties of wat, e.g. chicken, beef, lamb, vegetables, lentils, and ground split peas stewed with hot spice called berbere.
Berbere is made of dried red hot pepper, herbs, spices, dried onions, dried garlic and salt ingredients. Wat is served by placing it on top of the injera which is served in a mesob (large basket tray). The food is eaten with fingers by tearing off a piece of injera and dipping it in the wat.
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians do not eat meat and diary products (i.e. egg, butter, milk, and cheese) on Wednesdays and Fridays except the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost, the Fast of the Prophets, the fast of Nineveh, Lent, the Fast of the Apostles and the fast of the Holy Virgin Mary. According to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church belief, the faithful must abstain from eating meat and diary products to attain forgiveness of sins committed during the year, and undergo a rigorous schedule of prayers and atonement.
Vegetarian meals such as lentils, ground split peas, grains, fruit, varieties of vegetable stew accompanied by injera and/or bread are only eaten during fasting days. Meat and diary products are only eaten on feasting days i.e. Christmas, Epiphany, Easter and at all other times. Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians, Jews and Muslims do not eat pork as it forbidden by their religious beliefs.
The favourite drink of many Ethiopians is bunna (coffee). Bunna is drunk in Ethiopia in a unique and traditional way known as a “coffee ceremony”. First the coffee is roasted, then ground and placed in a Jebena (coffee pot) with boiling water. When ready it is then served to people in little cups, up to three times per ceremony.
Other locally produced beverages are tella and tej, which are served and drunk on major religious festivals, Saints Days and weddings. Tella and tej are also sold by numerous designated commercial houses all over the country.
Ethiopia’s staple grain is called teff, and from its flour the Ethiopians fashion a large pancake-like bread called injera that they place directly on the dining table. Other dishes that make up the meal are portioned onto the injera and diners eat by scooping these portions into rolled-up pieces of the injera that they have torn off
Thick stews called wats are the most popular dishes and can be made from meat, vegetables, or beans. Stews is enlivened with the spicy mitin shiro, a flavorful combination of ground beans, spices, and chilies used to season many foods.
The last course of a meal is often kitfo, freshly ground raw beef.
Ethiopians brew a barley beer called tella and a honey wine called Tej. Small fried cookies known as dabo kolo are a favorite snack