D.C. Food Trip: Ethiopian Food from Dukem

So here I am on my last night in D.C. before I head back to New York. I’ve tried a few cheap eats that are popular in D.C. I’ve tried burgers Five Guys, chili dog and chili from Ben’s Chili Bowl, cheesesteaks from Philadelphia Cheesesteak Factory, and deep dish pizza from Armand’s. So for dinner tonight, I set out to try another cuisine that D.C. is apparently famous for: Ethiopian food.

I didn’t know about the large Ethiopian presence in Washington until my Eritrean friend told me about it. I decided that I had to try it out before I go back to New York. I browsed around Chowhound to look for restaurant recommendations, particularly restaurants that offer take-out food to bring back to the hotel, since I would just be by myself. I read favorable posts about Dukem, and that it has a separate market and carryout section aside from the main restaurant. I first saw Dukem and other Ethiopian restaurants when I went to Ben’s Chili Bowl on U St NW.

I guess the most distinctive feature of their cuisine is the injera. It is some sort of pancake-like bread, with a slight sour taste. One side of the injera has a tripe-like appearance because of the air bubbles that form on its surface when it is being prepared.

I had the Dukem kitfo


and a combination meal of lamb wot and alitcha fitfit.


I had the kitfo done medium-rare (I heard the lady said lebleb.) since I wasn’t brave enough to have my first taste of Ethiopian food include something totally raw. The yellowish stuff on the kitfo tray seemed like mashed potatoes or something similar. The whitish stuff on the kitfo was Dukem’s own cottage cheese.

The lamb wot of course had lamb meat, and tripe — not sure which animal the tripe comes from. The fitfit is hard to describe, but it was equally tasty. Both dishes were spicy, but not hot enough to make me perspire the way Thai green curry makes me sweat.

All in all, I find my adventure into Ethiopian food satisfying, and I’m open to try it again.

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