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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Zemam’s ethnic eats to spice up your day

    Zemam’s Ethiopian Cuisine is a homey and enticing introduction to Ethiopian food. Situated at 2731 E. Broadway Blvd., Zemam’s offers a variety of dishes at reasonable prices. White-walled and starkly decorated, Zemam’s does not appear too impressive but when I walked through the door and was greeted with a mouthwatering, spicy aroma, I knew this place was something special.

    The restaurant, owned by chef Amanuel Gebremariam, does not offer traditional flatware. Instead, every dish is served on a communal platter and you use injera ð- a flat, spongy bread made from a fermented grain called teff – to scoop up and eat your food. Injera offers a subtle, sourdough-like taste that melts away behind the robust flavors of the main entrées.

    There are 18 entrées, both meat and vegetarian, which include: chicken, beef, lamb, potatoes, chickpeas and lentils. The non-vegetarian dishes, served hot and generously spiced, include meat chunks cooked in a stew-like base. The vegetable dishes are served soft, if not puréed. All of the entrées offer non-traditional, three-dimensional flavor experiences because Gebremariam uses a large array of spices, including cayenne, coriander, nutmeg, garlic, ginger, berbere and turmeric.

    Don’t let the idea of spice fool you – we are not talking jalapeño-spicy spice, but instead spice as flavor. There is minimal heat in these dishes, but perhaps there is more zest than you may know to do with.

    The combination plate is the way to go at Zemam’s, with meat or vegetable combinations, or a mix of both. A combination platter I would recommend to first-timers is yesimir wat, shiro and yedoro alicha. Yesimir wat is a red lentil dish that is highly spiced yet not overwhelming. Combined with the shiro, a pureed chickpea dish, the flavors meld perfectly with the meat dish, yedoro alicha. Yedoro alicha is a melt-in-your-mouth, mild and tender stewed chicken dish seasoned with garlic and ginger. Together these dishes create a unique and magnificent flavor experience.

    Every adventurous college food connoisseur must take a go at Zemam’s. Meal costs vary from $7.50 to $12. The restaurant is open daily, with lunch from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

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