The Abyssinia Restaurant is a local Ethiopian restaurant that serves a plethora of colorful east African dishes with traditional meats and vegetables such as lentils, gored gored and lamb.
At this restaurant, no utensils are served with the meals–everyone must eat only with their hands.
“When you eat with your hand, you feel the life of the food,” Meharri “Wolde” Woldesealssie, the owner of the restaurant, said.
Eating with the hand also serves a practical use, as the diner can only eat as much as they can grab.
Every meal is served on Ethiopian bread called teff. Teff, or “injera” as it is referred to in the Somali language, is a powdered grain mixed with water that is fermented over the course of four days.
“You can eat much of this bread and never get fat,” Wolde said.
This bread serves as a base on top of which the vegetables and meats are layered. Four pieces of teff are also served on the side and can be dipped into the beans and sauces on the main dish.
Abyssinia’s owner, Wolde, learned how to cook through his background as a chemist. Food is chemistry, he explained, and the kitchen is the same for him as a lab.
Wolde is originally from East Africa and he still has family who lives there. He came to America from Canada over 20 years ago and started the Abyssinia restaurant almost four years ago. Wolde became a restaurant owner because of his love for food and his passion to help others.
“If you don’t have a passion, don’t open a restaurant,” he said.
Wolde grew up in a poor family when he was in Africa. Many of the people in his village helped his family with food and other means to get by. He was determined to make his own sustainable income and used this motivation to earn scholarships for schools in Europe.
Wolde came to America because it was a “land of opportunity”. As a successful restaurant owner, he provides meals to the homeless who sleep outside his restaurant and is able to provide for his brothers back in Africa.
The Abyssinia Restaurant is located on 2801 W Ball Rd in Anaheim. They are open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit their Yelp page.