By John Leupold
For the past several years, I’ve traveled twice a year from San Miguel de Allende to Ethiopia. The African nation is one of the destinations of my small group travel business, Champaca Journeys. It’s a fascinating country with countless natural, historical, and cultural sights and has won the title of the world’s most welcoming country—although I find Mexico also extremely welcoming. Two plane flights take me all the way from Mexico to Ethiopia.
Last year I began hearing of a couple that opened an Ethiopian restaurant in San Miguel called AfroAllende. Brook from Ethiopia and Kyla from the United States met in Japan, where they both worked as circus performers. Brook’s single mother placed him in a local circus school as a youngster at age seven in Addis Ababa as she needed a place to look after him while she worked. Kyla began studying trapeze as a hobby, and this led to an invitation to join the circus as a trapeze artist. Their move to San Miguel gave them the idea to open an Ethiopian restaurant. I had to try the food and meet these people. Both food and owners are wonderful. Covid-19 has forced them to close their restaurant, but the delivery service is still available.
Ethiopian cuisine shares some similarities with Mexican cuisine in that it relies on chilies, and the Ethiopian version of salsa, called awasay, can be as varied and delicious as salsa. Vegetables, grains, and meat figure prominently in Ethiopian cuisine. And the Ethiopian version of the tortilla is injera, which is triple the size of a tortilla but used in the same manner to scoop up food. Telephone and WhatsApp: 415 144 7335. Website: afroallende.com.
Brook and Kyla tell me there is yet another Ethiopian-owned restaurant in San Luis Potosi, owned by the daughter of the former Ethiopian Ambassador to Mexico. It’s a hamburger joint with a cool vibe and some Ethiopian variations on the food. Called Kebere Hamburguesas y Cervezas Ethiopes-Mexicanos. Telephone: 444 962 4415. Website: kebere.mx.
However, your best option to eat Ethiopian food is to join us in Ethiopia in January. Never officially closed due to low rates of Covid, as of recently the country is officially open. The government has mandated the reopening of hotels and restored domestic air service and initiated Covid safety training for hotel and restaurant workers. A recent negative Covid-19 test is required for entry; all our guides and drivers will have been tested just prior to our arrival. We will spend 14 days in the north visiting five different regions; each different, each fascinating. An optional six-day extension to the Omo Valley in the South immediately follows, where you will see villages and meet their inhabitants, who have remained unchanged over centuries. Our guides are considered some of the best in the country, our hotels are the best in each location, and your experiences are guaranteed to be memorable. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: champacajourneys.com.