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Eating with your hands

By chlo‘ lung
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 15, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Yetakelt wat...YUM!

The only thing I knew about Zemam's before I ate there is that the Broadway restaurant serves Ethiopian cuisine, which is eaten with one's hands. Since I'm fairly certain that silverware is part of a larger conspiracy anyway, I grabbed Catalyst calendar girl Rebecca Missel and headed to Zemam's.

Indeed, there are no forks in sight at Zemam's. All dishes are accompanied by a large plate of injera, a traditional Ethiopian bread. The consistency of injera is somewhere in between a sponge and a gym mat, but it tastes like heaven: Soft, warm and sourdoughish. Injera is used to wrap up a small bit of any of nine dishes. This is a remarkably effective way to eat, I must say. Injera is ingeniously designed to clutch other food, so eating in the

Ethiopian style is anything but messy.

The best way to dine at Zemam's is to order a sampler of three different dishes ($7.75). Among the vegetarian options, which comprise over half of the menu, is the fantastic yetakelt wat, a spicy potato-and-vegetable mix. I also enjoyed the spinach wat, which is a mild offering that tastes rather like the inside of a spinach pie. Kik wat, split peas with onion, garlic and green pepper, is also good, although I found it sort of monotonous after a


Rebecca tried two of Zemam's meat offerings, and especially liked the lega tibs, which is beef cubes in tomato sauce. Doro wat, a spicy chicken event, was good, especially when combined with the kik wat. This dish is not particularly suited to being a sampler item: the chicken is served on the bones. In its regular entree form, doro wat is served with hard-boiled eggs.

Zemam's, which is owned by UA alum Amanuel Gebremariam, serves a variety of

sodas, teas, and Snapple beverages. They do not serve alcohol, but will happily provide you with glasses if you want to bring your own alcoholic beverages. The food is spicy, so you're likely to work up a thirst at Zemam's.