Whether you are a vegetarian or a meat lover, the best place to begin with Ethiopian food is to order Mixed Platter Dishes at an Ethiopian Restaurant near you – so that you can sample a variety of Wots (stews) and dishes in one sitting. Even though the portions of each food type added to the mixed platter dish you are served with appear small, together these portions are quite large. Therefore, it is recommended to share most mixed platter dishes, or ask the serving waiter beforehand.
Mixed Platter Dishes #1: Beyainatu
One of the most popular mixed platter dishes in Ethiopia, especially among vegetarians is Beyainetu. Beyainetu is an Amharic word that translates to “a bit of everything” in English. And just like its name suggests, the dish is served with a layer of injera on a large-sized serving platter, where various colorful, typically vegetarian food types are placed on top. A Beyainetu dish typically includes various types of stew dishes such as Misir Wot, Shiro Wot, or Alecha Kik, along with some vegetable dishes such as Tilkil Gomon (Cabbage), Gomen (Collard Greens), Fassolia, etc.
Beyainetu is also very popular for religious reasons, as the majority of Christians in Ethiopia abstain from eating any meat, as well as animal products such as eggs and milk on most Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as other fasting periods that are practiced by most followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church.
Plus, since the food types in this mixed platter dish are usually not too spicey, Beyainetu is the perfect dish to start with for those who are trying Ethiopian food for the first time.
Mixed Platter Dishes #2: Mahberawi
Maheberawi is another popular mixed platter dish that is equivalent to Beyainetu. The main difference between the two is that most of the food types in Maheberawi are meat-based. Examples include Key Wot, Doro Wot, Tibs, Kitfo, and Gomen BeSiga.
Maheberawi is the perfect dish for meat lovers that are looking to try to explore Ethiopian foods. But, just like Beyainetu, it is advised to order this dish in a party of 2 or more people. Also, be warned, some of the food types of in Maheberawi may be too spicy for those new to Ethiopian dishes.