African Village Ethiopian & Eritrean Restaurant at 10918 Wurzbach Rd on San Antonio adds more injera and spice-laden platters to the city.
By Ron Bechtol (San Antonio Current) |
“Is Teff the New Supergrain?’ teased the New York Times a couple of years ago. “New” should likely be in additional quotes as teff, “naturally high in minerals and protein,” was “first domesticated in Ethiopia more than 3,000 years ago” — a distinction that places it firmly in the pantheon of ancient crops (quinoa is another) currently demanding our attention. The naturally gluten-free grain “has long been a dietary staple for Ethiopia’s legendary distance runners,” it is claimed.
All of which is good news if you plan to enter a marathon any time soon. Or if you plan to explore San Antonio’s new crop of Ethiopian restaurants. (There are two plus a food truck.) You’ll be up to your eyeballs in teff; there’s no escaping the stuff.
African Village is located in a commercially and culturally diverse shopping center at Vance Jackson and Wurzbach. Its neighbors include a donut shop, a bagel outlet, a tamal tienda, a pizza joint and a halal “fashion” store and grocery, among others. I swear that I have reviewed at least two different restaurants in the same location over the years. There is nothing about African Village Ethiopian & Eritrean Restaurant’s marigold-hued décor that will especially set it apart from any of those; the excitement here is in the food and in the manner of its presentation. Almost everything is served either on or with teff-based injera bread. It’s springy in texture, lacy, slightly sour — and it serves as a kind of spongy spork. Yes, aided by injera, you eat with your fingers. Curry will linger there. Just saying.
Beyond this, it will help to read up a little on Eritrean/Ethiopian food before going. With few differences (more tomatoes in once-Italian Eritrea, for example), the foods are essentially identical. Berbere, a chili-laden spice blend, is common to both. There is minimal explanation on the menu, and though service was more than willing, further information was not forthcoming. So here’s what we learned.
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- Addis Ethiopian Cuisine Opening in Springfield, Oregon
- At Makina Cafe, Ethiopian Takeaway with Buoyant Injera
- I knew little or nothing about Ethiopian food, but was happy to try it
- Try a platter of Ethiopian food with friends at Lalibela Restaurant in Sioux Falls, SD
- For Ethiopian and Eritrean communities, coffee is the cultural lifeline to their homeland