One of the best ways to experience a different culture is thorugh food.Being in a big city like Chicago, experiencing another culture is easy. The city has many diverse ethic groups and such a strong food culture that the topic of food seems to be the only thing people can happily, and agreeably talk about. A meal in this city is shareable, approachable, and in many cases unforgettable.
This weekend, I had an amazing cultural dining experience at Demara, the Michilen guides best Ethiopian restuarant in Chicago. And now a favorite on The Haute Seekers food finds.
I have never had Ethiopian food before. It’s one of those unfamiliar ethnic foods that I have always wanted to try, but never felt ambitious enough to experience alone. And its a good thing too. A dining experience at Demara is best enjoyed with a party of two or more. The restaurant serves its meals in a traditional Ethopian fashion, family style with large portions to share. So it’s best to bring a friend.
The menu at Demara is pretty extensive as well. A variety of meats and vegetarian dishes prepared in traditional Ethiopian fashion. My friend and I weighed our options, asked for some advice from the expert staff, looked around at the plates of our fellow diners, and after lengthy deliberation, made our decision on what dishes to try.
We deceided to share a Messob, a traditional plate that allows those both familiar and not familiar with Ethiopian style food to try several items all at once. We opted on the platter that allowed us to choose three vegetarian options and three meats, all served with Injera bread, the sourdough like-crepe bread that serves as the meals utensils.
Thats right seekers, no forks or knives!
For the vegetarian options, we decided on the Ye-Shimbra Assa, a spicy and rich chickpea dish cooked in a berbere sauce. The Gomen, chopped collared greens, and the Yatkilt wat, mixed vegtables of zuccinni squash, green beans, carrots and potatoes in Demara sauce. The meat protions of our meal were richly seasoned with spices and flavors that gave each protein its own unique taste. We opted for the Ye-Awaze Tibs, a spicy prime beef sauteed with red pepper paste and various garnishes, the Ye-Beg Wot, another spicy options with peices of bone-in lamb marinated and stewed in the special Demera spicy sauce, and finally the Doro Alicha a mild chicken served with a hardboil egg and ayib cheese.
My friend and I devoured the food! The meat portions of our meal were each well prepared. My favorites were the Doro Alicha, and the Ye-Beg Wot which was tender and fell right of the bone. The Gomen was flavorful and taste home-made, like something my great-aunts would prepare for sunday supper.
The food and dining experience at Demara was a very hearty dose of fantastic food, an amazing culture atmosphere, that will be an unforgettable experience shared between two great friends.