Go ahead, eat the tablecloth!
A mountainous country, Ethiopia has been relatively isolated throughout its history. Its food is, thus, unique, characterized by its local spices and grains. As special as the food, you will love what your parents prohibited: eating with your fingers!
The result of centuries of experimentation and refinement, Ethiopian foods run the gamut from Wats (spicy or mildly spiced stews of lamb, beef, chicken, lentils or other legumes) to Tibs (stir-fries similar to fajitas, but spiced with exotic flavors) and delicious greens and vegetable combinations.
Injera (the tablecloth):
A flatbread made from the grain, teff, native to only Ethiopia, use it to scoop up your food by tearing off pieces of the spongy bread. Usually served in a colorful basket, it also sits under your food to soak up all the delicious juices.
Berbere (what makes it hot!): Berbere is an essential ingredient in Ethiopian cooking. Often used in paste form, it is a powdered combination of Ethiopian chiles and other spices.
Niter Kibbeh (spiced butter):
Used in most dishes (an olive oil-based cousin can be used for vegan dishes), niter kibbeh is a clarified butter made with ginger and other spices.
Since coffee originated in the highlands of Ethiopia, in the southwestern province of Kaffa (for which coffee was named), the coffee ceremony is a central cultural tradition. Smell the beans being fresh roasted in the kitchen before being steeped in boiling water in a jebena. Served in small cups, with sugar added to taste, it is strong and drunk as a dessert.