We've been enjoying our meals at Awash Market and Restaurant, the Missus really enjoys the injera here, it's not too sour, and not too thick. The place runs kind of on the slow side but the folks are really nice. The restaurant, which is in the rear of the market has sort of a "speak-easy" feel to it.
We've learned to do as the customers do, go to the restroom and wash your hands before your meal; after all you'll be making use of the "most basic eating implement" and using them to eat. So after having several nice meals, we decided to really go all in and try two dishes we'd been wondering about for a while....kitfo, which I've had before and tire siga, which I had not.
If you're into raw food, you'll probably love it.
The kitfo was delicious, we ordered the Kitfo Special, which is hand chopped and served with collard greens and cheese. We asked for it to be almost raw, so that the butter poured over it would not make it lukewarm, as I somehow find warm almost raw meat a bit uncomfortable I guess.
Even though it's slightly heated, I loved the coolness of the dish. There was just enough butter to add a creaminess to the dish without disturbing the flavor of the mitmita, the spicy powder made of chili pepper, mustard seed, and salt. Think of it as a spicy beef tartar if you will, wrapped in some injera, perhaps with a touch of cheese which strangely seemed to add sweetness to the dish.
If you enjoy the kitfo, perhaps you'll try the tire siga, a real delicacy. It's very basic.....cubed raw beef.
You can get the meat fatty or lean, since the Missus would actually be eating some beef, we went lean. It's very easy to eat, you wrap the meat cubes in injera, then dip into mimita or awaze, a nasal clearing berbere (chili based spice) paste and have at it. The meat is good quality and fresh, there's no metallic flavors or disturbing aftertastes, and I expected none, since the clientele seems quite particular about the food. If you want, they'll sear off the meat for you and you can have it "blue". This was quite a bit of meat and eating it got tedious after a while....I think I'll stick with the kitfo, though it's always great to expand ones horizons.
Oh, and if you're not into this stuff, there's quite a few items we enjoy on the menu as well......
We really like the injera they make here, it not too sour or heavy. They seem to sell a ton of it in the market.
It's a real small operation, so things might take a while, but they seem to prepare the food with some care. They are also very nice and the guys up front will always take time to explain things to you. You end up paying up front at the cashier, who always seems to have some tidbit about the food for us. Tonight we were told that kitfo and tire siga became popular during the second world war. The Ethiopians were battling the Italians and had to eat "under cover", that is, without creating a fire to give away their position. Thus they acquired a taste for seasoned raw meat...hence kitfo and tire siga. Not quite sure about the story, but it was fun hearing it!
Awash Market and Restaurant
2884 El Cajon Blvd
San Diego, CA 92104
Mon 830 am - midnight
Tue-Sun 830 am - 1am
It's always great to expand your horizons and try something new....what have you tried for the first time recently?