The Surprises of Somali Cuisine

Tucked next to a VTA light rail station in San Jose is an unlikely outlet for a cuisine we don't see much around these parts: Somali. Jubba is a year-old restaurant with a short menu of Somali dishes. If you're expecting the food to be just a step away from Ethiopian, you'd be wrong—there are Indian and Persian influences, and not a vegetable stew in sight.

Highlights are the super-tender goat, beef sambusas (a version of samosas), and spiced rice with raisins, says jmarek, but give the beef steak a pass.

Your editor gave the goat a try and was knocked out by its mysterious tastiness: not exotically spicy, but somehow unique and delicious.

Suqaar is a spicier dish, a stir-fry that you can get with chicken or beef. It's kind of like a piquant version of a Peruvian saltado, a meaty stir-fry with parsley, onions, and tomatoes. Like Jubba's other offerings, you have a choice of rice, chapati, injera (a pancake-style bread), or pasta on the side. Oddly enough, the pasta option also gets you a whole banana. Somali chapati, it turns out, is slightly sweet—a great foil for either the meaty (but not gamy) goat or the spicy suqaar. Somali injera is less intense than the Ethiopian version—paler and with less fermented flavor.

Try the sinus-clearing chai, sweetened but milk-free, which is in a self-serve carafe at the back of the café.

Jubba Restaurant [South Bay]
5330 Terner Way, Suite 40, San Jose
408-440-1504

Discuss: Jubba, Somali in San Jose

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