This Ethiopian Meal is a Beautiful Mosaic Meant to be Shared

Taste the rainbow—with your hands

New York African Restaurant Week runs from October 1st through the 22nd. Over 25 restaurants across the city are offering special menus, along with special events throughout the month. Follow the latest at #NYARW2017.

If you ask Hibist Legesse, owner of Bati Kitchen in Brooklyn, New York, Ethiopian food is always meant for sharing. She loads up a plate of injera, a stretchy teff-flour flatbread, and coats it in nine different stews, stir fries, and vegetable dishes, all forming a colorful mosaic on top. At first, the plate seems impossibly large, but Legesse explains, it's meant to be shared among four or five people. This communal approach to the meal is traditional in Ethiopia, where it's rare to see people eating by themselves.

“Tearing the injera with your hands and scooping up the stew to make morsels of food to place in your mouth with people gathered around a platter is a fun and bonding way to eat,” she says. “Eating communally from the same platter signifies a respect for the community and the food that ties the community together.”

And as with so many communal meals, it's best eaten without any silverware. Sharing is best when you get your hands dirty.