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Ethiopean food - How to eat (longish)?

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Ethiopean food - How to eat (longish)?

Jibe | Jun 24, 2003 07:14 PM

My town has a small restaurant, called Red Sea, which serves Ethiopean & Eritrean cuisine. I've never been there, but passed it yesterday at lunch & decided to turn around & give it a try. I've never been to an Ethiopean place (Funny, after reading Chowhound, I find myself trying all sorts of places around here).
I ordered a meat dish (can't remember the name). The presentation was simple but wonderful - a large plate with the a sort of stewed meat in the center, large chunks of potato at the top of the platter, greens to the left, lettuce with dressing at the bottom, and vegetables to the right side. As the waitress set it down, she looked at me reaching for my fork. You don't know how to eat this, do you? she asked nicely. She pointed out that the food sat on top of a thin layer of bread, called Injera, which was like a thin pancake & about as large as the platter. She showed me how to peel off pieces of the bread & use it to pick up the food. The food was wonderful. The meat was spicy (hot kind of spicy), & flavored with spices some of which I had never tasted before.
But I had one problem. The juices from the meat saturated the bread, so that it would break apart & I couldn't use it to pick up the food. I resorted to using the fork.
My question is - was my experience typical? Do you just eat the food by hand w/o the bread, or do you ask for more bread? Any advice on table etiquette would be appreciated. Also,what other dishes would be good to try. And, are there traditional drinks that would be good to try? I'd like to go back soon.
Thanks!

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