Ethiopia and its Cuisines
Ethiopia is located in the Northeastern corner of Africa, commonly called, the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia is one of the ancient independent nations in the world. Its rich history stretches more than 3000 years. It is the only African and one of the few countries in the world with its own alphabet. It is home for three main religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It is believed that the first king of Ethiopia, Menelik I, was the son of King Solomon of Israel and the Queen of Sheba. This dynasty lasted for more than two thousand years and Emperor Haile Selasie was the 225th and last emperor King Solomon's Dynasty.
Ethiopians are fiercely independent people and have never allowed foreign domination to their country. During its glorious time, Ethiopian Territory stretches from Cape Town to the south and the Gulf of Aden to north.
The term "coffee" derives from the Kaffa region in Ethiopia, where the berries were first discovered blossoming. Ethiopia is not only famous for its rich history and coffee, but also for its exotic spicy cuisines and its hospitality, which is cherished at Kokeb as well.
The cuisine of Ethiopia is based on an exotic blend of spices both robust and subtle. To help you make a choice, we offer the following descriptions:
A part of every entree is the traditional bread of Ethiopia, Injera. Injera is primarily made from a high-protein grain called "tef". Tef grains are extremely small and grow only in Ethiopia. This large flat slightly tangy pancake-like is both the serving platter and your utensil. Wat, literally means stew, but it could also be translated as "hot." These hearty dishes are distinctive for their use of Berbere, a favorite Ethiopian seasoning based on red peppers. Berbere is combined with Niter Kibbeh, a herb butter, and onions and numerous other spices to give these dishes unforgettable flavor.
Alecha is the more delicately seasoned dishes. These do not contain berbere, but flavored mainly with niter and other more subtle spices.
Ethiopia is a country with a strong focus on community. This communal spirit is reflected in the manner in which Ethiopians traditionally eat. Meals are served on platters to be shared among diners. Instead of actual utensils, Ethiopians use injera as a substitution for a fork or a spoon. Eating like an Ethiopian requires you to tear off a piece of injera, warp around the morsel you desire, and scoop it into your mouth in one graceful swoop. In keeping with Ethiopian tradition, Kokeb serves its food on a platter with injera as opposed to providing individual plates for each guest (plates and utensils are available upon request).
If you need further explanation, our staff will be more than willing to assist you. We hope you will find Kokeb to be pleasantly unique and different, and your stay at Kokeb would be a cultural exploration , exciting and enjoyable.
Kokeb and its Ownership
Four Ethiopian and American families founded Kokeb in February,1982. in its first year of business, the present owners, Yeshi Shiferaw, the head chef, and Belete Shiferaw, who fled their motherland - Ethiopia after the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selasie by a fascistic, communist military junta and immigrated to United States of America through the US Catholic conference refugee settlement program, bought the majority share of Kokeb Corporation. These two couples who had nothing except the two hundred dollars they received from their sponsors at their arrival in Seattle in November 11, 1980, own hundred percent of the business.
After operating for twenty two years at the same location, Kokeb lost its lease and was forced to close its business in May, 2003. Loosing everything they built for twenty two years without any compensation, Yeshi and Belete Shiferaw, who haven't lost their faith on the opportunity this great nation provides, are proud to re-open Kokeb at its present location to serve the Seattle community.
The national language of Ethiopia is Amharic. Below is a list of Amharic phrases that you may find useful:
Hello - "Tena Yestilign"
Messa - "Tena Yestilign"
Dinner - "Erat"
To our Health - "Le Tena Chin"
I want coffee - "Buna Efeligalehu"
I want tea - "Shai Efeligalehu"
Salt - "Chew"
Pepper - "Kunde Berbere"
Breakfas - "Kurs"
How do you do? - " Endemen Alu"
Very Well - "Betam Dehna Nagn"
Thank You - "Igziabher Yestilign"
Good Morning - "Indemen Aderu"
Good Afternoon - "Indemen Walu"
Good Evening - "Indemen Ameshu"
Good Night - "Indemen Ameshu"