Whom, you may ask, is this upscale Ethio­pian food designed to feed? American diners who want to try Ethio­pian cuisine but don’t want to eat with their hands? Second- or third-generation Ethiopian Americans who are not invested in authenticity?Kloman, the journalism instructor and Ethio­pian dining expert, thinks such fare may alienate the very people who used to frequent places like Etete. “I think most everyday Ethiopians would not be the least bit interested in something like this,” he says.But then Kloman pauses and thinks about a strange phenomenon in Ethio­pian restaurants: Americans are the ones who usually order the beers imported from Ethi­o­pia, not the expats. Ethio­pian immigrants apparently prefer Guinness or Heineken, which they view as status symbols.So, Kloman reflects, maybe some immigrants would take to fancy Ethio­pian food after all. “As a pretense,” he says, “they might be interested.”


Spicy Sweets and Green Beans

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Article and Images: The Washington Post/Dayna Smith/Deb Lindsey/James M. Thresher/Bill O’Leary