A Taste of Ethiopian Cuisine in Seattle

Vegetarian injera meal, with shiro, lentils, egg and a variety of vegetables

Ethiopian cuisine is made up of distinctively flavorful dishes that represent the deep cultural heritage of East Africa. Seattle is home to a growing population of Ethiopian communities, and the food scene is the best way to explore this diverse culture. Expect aromatic curries, bold and spicy stews, and an emphasis on fresh produce and ingredients. But how did the abundance of Ethiopian restaurants in Seattle begin?

In the 1960s, a group of Ethiopian students enrolled in Washington school programs arrived in Seattle. Several years later, after the U.S. passed the Refugee Act of 1980, thousands more Ethiopians arrived in Seattle in search of a new life. This diverse community consisted of several religions, ethnicities, and dialects, including Amharic, Somali, Oromo, Tigrigna, and Afar. In 1981, they created the Ethiopian Community Mutual Association to unify the preservation of Ethiopian culture and traditions, while assisting ethnic communities with education, health, and housing in Seattle.

Today, the Ethiopian community operates countless Seattle businesses, including restaurants, cafes, and catering businesses. Ethiopian food has become a highlight of the city of Seattle, with many locals and tourists alike exploring the deep and rich flavors of Ethiopian cuisine. As the love of Ethiopian culture in Seattle continues to grow, locals and tourists continue to find more restaurants featuring unique, delicious Ethiopian dishes.

For authentic homemade Ethiopian food, you can order from Shef Tirhas, who grew up in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Tirhas learned how to cook traditional Ethiopian dishes from her mother, and she makes everything from Ethiopian cheese to homemade ‘njera. Explore Shef Tirhas’ menu and more on Shef.

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