When it comes to food travel and exploring Ethiopian exotic and diverse cuisine, there is nothing more exhilarating than paying a visit to the local joints where the locals eat and hangout in order to experience the authentic local dish and feel the ambiance that makes it distinctive.
This virtual journey is to take the world to local spots, veiled gems of Addis, eateries where Ethiopian traditional cuisine is cooked passionately by the natives themselves, the ones that only know how to offer the authentic taste of Ethiopia and Yeshekla Tibs is one of it.
Yeshekla Tibs is simply pan fried sliced beef and served sweltering in a special clay pot above hot charcoal.As the much proclaimed Ethiopian staples, Yeshekla Tibs served with the good-old Injera (Ethiopian national staple made of the indigenous Ethiopian cereal tef). Although Injera serves as the bases of almost every meal, here it served rolled up beside the food but as usual it is to tearing off and wrapping around small pieces of fried beef.
The esteemed accompanies of Yeshekla Tibes are Mitmita (blend of spices), Mustard and Awaze which is a paste prepared with Berbere (a blend of more than 15 spices powder), water and home brewed local drink called Areke. These Ethiopian acclaimed convoys of Yeshekla Tibs are for to dip in, the Injera wrapped up pieces of fried beef, and to revel in the Ethiopian unique flavor which is too hot and spicy.
Yeshekla Tibs is usually garnished with onion and green pepper on top. Most of the time cooking oil or butter is not used to prepare Yeshekla Tibs, rather, a piece of fat from the meat melted on the hot pan before frying up the sliced beef.
The Amharic word “Yeshekla” is used to characterize the special clay pot that the fried beef served with, because Tibs (fried beef) could also be served with a simple tray. What makes Yeshekla Tibs unique besides the presentation or being served in a unique clay pot, it is the very fact that you can enjoy the sizzling Tibs to the very last drop while it is still HOT!
In Addis Ababa and other parts of the country, there are eateries which are only devoted to serve Yeshekla Tibs or Ethiopian traditional meat dishes. These particular joints are called Sega Bet which also referred as Tibs Bet (meat eateries).
What make these local joints unique, they serves as a butcher shop where the locals buy fresh meat and at the same time they serve as Tibs Bets where you can enjoy the best Ethiopian“meat related” traditional dishes exceptionally. Sega Bets, feature carcasses hanging near the entrance and remember not to be terrified by the man in bloodied overalls brandishing knives because he is the one who assurances that you get the piece you desire.
Most Sega Bets, with bigger compound also serve as a bar where the locals hangout and mostly drink beer. Since these joints are local spots they are jam-packed almost all the time except on Wednesday and Friday which are fasting days in Ethiopia among Orthodox religion followers and Kudade (the long fasting season before Ethiopian Easter)…now you know when it is best to visit these places.
Talking about Sega or Tibs Bet, there are three main dishes which sought after by the locals including Yeshekla Tibs. Kurt or Tire Sega (plain raw meat) served in Injera and accompanied with Mitmita and Awaze. Gored Gored which is raw meat seasoned with Niter kibe (Ethiopian spiced up butter) and Berbere.
In Ethiopia eating raw meat is a valued culture among many Ethiopians. Legend has it that this ritual starts at the battle of Adwa when Ethiopian warriors start eating raw meat out of the inconvenience of the war…and the rest is history.
Talking about Ethiopian meat eating culture, there is another interesting fact to be mentioned here and it is about drinks which complete Yeshekla Tibs and most of meat related Ethiopian dishes. Even though these days and at this particular joints the main dishes are being enjoyed with Beer, but it was Tej – the home brewed Ethiopian honey mead ‘ wine’ – that used to complement, whether Kurt or Tire Sega, Gored Gored, Tibs or Yeshekla Tibs.
Tej is a sweet but powerful local drink made of organic honey and fermented using a hop-like woody local shrub called Gesho.
Tej is considered as a royalty drink as it was enjoyed by Ethiopian Kings back then. Tej is severed in a unique little carafe know us Brille. It is a local drink not to be missed by visitors and of course, there are Tej bets (Tej or local drink joints) which serve best Tej in town.
When you come to Addis Ababa just remember to include Sega Bets in your Ethiopian Food Itineraries, whether to taste exotic Ethiopian dishes or to get your meat fix Ethiopian way and even if you are not a meat lover, these local joints are best spots to blend in with the locals, explore Ethiopian beers brewed by several breweries which each one has their very own taste and obviously to witness the unique and interesting meat eating culture of Ethiopia.
Exclusively Delicious Ethiopia!