The cuisines of Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia have major similarities. How do they compare? There are a few factors at play, says dagoose. “Ethiopia is all but entirely land-locked and did not have colonial rule (significantly),” says dagoose. “Eritrean food is extremely similar to Ethiopian but you will find a little bit more fish involved, and much more Italian influence, as it was occupied for a period of time. You’ll often see ‘macaroni’ or ‘spaghetti with red sauce’ on Eritrean menus, do not dismiss these as courtesies to their less adventurous customers! Often they are deeply flavored plays on the traditional Italian versions,” boasting spiced, clarified niter kibbeh butter or the exceedingly popular berbere, which lends a unique Eritrean-ness.
Somalia is a completely different story, says dagoose. “It is nearly entirely coastline, which means it saw much more influences from outside sources. You’ll find it has flavors of the Middle East that have migrated south, as well as some of the Kenyan flavors that have migrated north—including their heavily Indian immigrant influenced cuisines.”