Foreign foods

One of the things I’ll miss after surgery is ethnic food. I’m a rather picky eater (Footnote 1), but I do like experiencing other cultures through food. I can always find something on a foreign menu that looks tasty.

Eventually, I’ll be able to eat ethnic food again. But it will probably be while before I’m eating any type of solid food at restaurants at all, and with my limited stomach size I won’t be able to sample as many dishes as I do now.

I had three ethnic meals recently, and they were all wonderful. About a month ago, the Complementary Spouse, our good friend Ali, and I went to a local Turkish restaurant. I like pretty much all Turkish food, except for the dessert pudding made out of sweetened shredded chicken breast (Footnote 2). I ordered the most indulgent and delicious entree, the Iskander kebab. It’s slices of lamb, covered with butter and a rich tomato sauce, served on top of soft pita pieces and accompanied with a creamy yogurt sauce. I finished the entire plate. I think I had to loosen my belt at the table.

Two weekends ago, the Complementary Spouse and I went to Washington, D.C., for the big march and met up with friends at an Ethiopian restaurant called Etete on Friday night. We ordered an entire platter, plus additional helpings of doro wat (chicken stew with an egg) and derek tibs (a crispy beef dish). I scooped everything up with injera bread, and ate way too much. I also had a few mule-type cocktails made with tej, which is an Ethiopian honey wine. I forgot to take a picture of the food before we ate it.

If you’ve never had Ethiopian food, one of the distinguishing characteristics of the cuisine is that everything comes with injera bread. This is a flat, stretchy flavorless bread that comes rolled up, which makes it look like an Ace bandage. Since you’re supposed to eat Ethiopian food with your hands, you pick up the food with the injera bread and then eat the entire portion, bread and all. It’s not a good idea to think about how much bread you’re eating at each meal.

The Ethiopian meal was a real treat because I hadn’t had that type of food in a long time. There’s an Ethiopian restaurant near Camp David that’s OK, but we can no longer tell if it’s still in business. The open sign is often turned on, but the lights are frequently turned off and there are never any cars in the parking lot. There is no shortage of Ethiopian restaurants in D.C.; the city has a large Ethiopian population.

That same weekend in D.C., the Complementary Spouse and I tried something completely new, Uyghur food, on Sunday night after the march. Other friends of ours had recently tried the restaurant, and recommended it to us. Uyghur food seems to be a combination of Chinese and Turkish cuisine. Where else can you find noodles and kebabs on the same menu?

The food was delicious, and I’d heartily recommend the restaurant, Dolan Uyghur, to anyone visiting D.C. I had the royal laghman, which is a little bit like a lo mein dish but with heartier noodles, and a samsa, which has ground beef stuffed inside a very flaky puff pastry. The food is very hard to describe properly, but it was all delicious. Because the noodles were thick, I found them hard to swirl around a fork like spaghetti. So I slurped them up. The Complementary Spouse got a different type of laghman, which was spicier, and a few skewers of kebabs.

Our dessert was a dolan cake (Footnote 3), which had several layers of puff pastry separated by some kind of cream. I am tempted to compare it to baklava because both desserts have puff pastry, but they are really quite different. The dolan cake isn’t sticky like baklava as it isn’t soaked in honey, and there aren’t any nuts. Again, this was delicious and we wolfed it down.

The next time we’re in D.C., if I’m back to eating normal food again, we’ll definitely go back to Dolan Uyghur. There were many things on the menu that looked appealing, even though I’ll have to order only one dish and eat about half of it.

I don’t think I’ll have time for any more ethnic food before my surgery. But, in a year or two, I’ll be back to trying new things. Mark my words.

Footnotes
1. As far as I am concerned, broccoli is concentrated evil.
2. Yes, this is a real thing that I have tried. It’s called tavuk göğsü, and I will never eat it again.
3. I’m not sure if dolan is capitalized or lowercase in this context.

 

 

 

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