Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cheap Eats #3, Asmara

Experience the Tastes and Customs of Eritrea in Portland, Maine

Your host at Asmara first brings warm, lemon scented wet towels on a decorated tray to wash your hands before your meal. Eritrean food is eaten with your hands and fingers (no silverware).  The meal is carried to the table on a large, colorful mosob, and served on injera, a flat, unleavened, spongy bread made from teff flour. Pull off a piece of injera and scoop the food, rolling it up almost tortilla style. My dining companion, Iris, ordered chicken in yellow curry sauce, and birsen, a red lentil stew which was mild on the spice scale, but very tasty.  I had a savory lamb stew in spicy sauce with turmeric and garlic with a side of tsebi hamli, which are stewed collard greens.

A standard meal rings in at $13 which, while not "cheap", is a viable alternative to the heavily advertised restaurants in town. Asmara, named after the capital of Eritrea, has no website.

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