I walked past the tunnel-bana station, and paused. A restaurant in the train station? Eritrean food? I made a mental note, I had to make a trip down.
Eritrea is a small country at the northeastern edge of Africa and Eritrean immigration is the third largest to Sweden after Somali and Ethiopian people. Most African migration arrived as a result of civil-wars in their home country.
Here’s a useful youtube video giving a quick overview about Eritrea.
Eritrea is one of the poorest countries in the world and things are not going so well. That’s the reason why people leave in droves.
This is the reality of the country and perhaps the reason why there is Eritrean food in the heart of Stockholm.
But let’s focus on the food.
According to Wikipedia, “the main traditional food in Eritrean cuisine is tsebhi (stew), served with taita (flatbread made from teff, wheat, or sorghum), and hilbet (paste made from legumes; mainly lentil and faba beans). A typical traditional Eritrean dish consists of injera accompanied by a spicy stew, which frequently includes beef, goat, lamb or fish. Overall, Eritrean cuisine strongly resembles that of neighboring Ethiopia, although Eritrean cooking tends to feature more seafood than Ethiopian cuisine on account of its coastal location. Eritrean dishes are also frequently lighter in texture than Ethiopian meals as they tend to employ less seasoned butter and spices and more tomatoes, as in the tsebhi dorho delicacy.”
And in truth, without google, I would have been left with only a beautiful image of the country from the cuisine, because the way the restaurant was done up was beautiful. The walls were elegantly decorated with beautiful portraits. And the furniture was smart.
The food too was quite something.
We ordered a platter of tshebi and a mixture of hilbet served on top of a base of injera. Being neophytes to African cuisine, we just got what the waitress recommended.
And we weren’t disappointed, it was scrumptious. There is something really satisfying about the meal with your hands. There was also something very fascinating about a cuisine where every bite is a different sensation. I expected the orange shiro mash (chickpea based mash) to be sweet, it turned out savoury and addictive. I expected the meat mash in the centre to be spicy, it wasnt’t. My Asian palate was schooled. I couldn’t put my finger on it, I didn’t even have the vocabulary to describe it.
I only know that I would help myself to more.
ON THE MAP