The notion of eating meat in its raw form is not new for many parts of the globe. In Paris for instance, thinly sliced, slightly heated but not cooked meat is served in expensive retaurants. In Ethiopia however the passion for eating raw meat is at its highest and the way it is eaten is sometimes shocking for some tourists.

Butcher houses are often packed with people who come to eat raw meat. The butcher serves its customers with meat portions of their preference. The customer is served with a small knife, hot sauces and enjera. He will cut small pieces and eat the raw meet.

Fewer and fewer Ethiopians eat raw meat these days because of the price of meat. Particularly the pieces that are eaten raw cost higher than the pieces used for cooking sauces. However it remains the number one food choice of many Ethiopians.

Another form of eating raw meet is called Kitfo. This again is prepared with selected parts of a bief meat. Once the meat is chopped to tiny pieces by an experienced cook, it will be mixed with butter and several kinds of spices. Most people eat this with Kocho, a localy made bread having a sower taste.

Kitfo is the traditional food of a minority ethnic group called Gurage. But due to its peculiar and delicious taste it is eaten in all parts of the country. Quite expensive to prepare it is a food item that is not eaten by the vast majority at least on regular basis.
The good news for those who find raw meat disgusting is that you can taste cooked or half cooked kitfo.

Some tourists venture to taste raw meat. This may not be a very good idea: eating raw meat is likely to entail stomack problems, notably parasites.

Historics about raw meat

It is believed that Ethiopia is one of the few if not the only country where raw meat is passionately loved. How this unique culture came into existence have been debated by many over the years.
The most dominating story however is that eating raw meat was started during the battle of Adwa. Ethiopians have always had meat in its cooked form as their favorite meal. And during the fight against Mussolini’s army, Ethiopian soldiers who went hungry while heading to the battle grounds had no choice but to slaughter and eat domestic animals of nearby farmers.They were however unable to cook: during the day they will be easily spotted from the rising smoke and at night they will fall prey to enemy attack because of the conspicuous fire. Soldiers therefore had no choice but to eat the meat in its raw form. This habit learned because of inconvenience however ended up by being the most cherished culture. It turned out that raw meat tasted better than cooked meet for those who got used to it. It is easily digestible and one can last for long periods of time after having a few pieces of raw meat.
This culture eventually made its way to the clergy and the royal family made it one of the most popular meals in the country.



There are abattoirs in different parts of Ethiopia. Nonetheless the vast majority of Ethiopians tend to slaughter sheeps, goats, oxen and chickens during national/religious hollidays.

This is open to misinterpretation by many tourists and often shocks them. While it is good to avoid attending such scenes, it is a tradition that has its root to ancient times. One can learn from Ethiopia's history the country was among the first countries in the world to have adopted the old testament. The old testament traditions are still embraced in the current Ethiopian Orthodox church. Among the trends that have passed from one generation to the next is the old testament tradition of sacrifice. This tradition has its root in the biblical story where Abraham was willing to sacrifice his only child, Isac, to fulfil God's will. As he was about do it, God replaced Isac with a sheep.


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