Passport Program - Cleveland Food Adventurers

ClevelandPeople.Com Food Adventurers Passport
Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant
2240 Lee Rd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
November 6, 2017

The Cleveland Food Adventurers Passport event in November 2017 was to Ethiopia at Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant.

Zoma Ethiopian restaurant logo

As you know, the Food Adventurers travel to authentic ethnic restaurants in the Cleveland area and, besides enjoying a special traditional menu, learn about the culture of the country. Zoma is run by Zeleke Belete and the evening included many glimpses into the geography, history and culture of Ethiopia.

Zeleke Belete and his wife

Zeleke Belete and his wife

Debbie Hanson of introduced Zeleke Belete, owner of the Ethiopian Restaurant Zoma in Cleveland Heights Ohio, at the ClevelandPeople.Com Food Adventurers event. He told the crowd how to say welcome and thank you in Amharic, the main language of Ethiopia.

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Zeleke told the Food Adventurers that they had entered a Fork Free Zone and explained that Ethiopian food is eaten with the spongy injera bread instead of silverware.

How to eat Ethiopian food

Zeleke prepared a special menu for the Adventurers including:
  • Mild Chicken Stew
  • Mild Beef Stew
  • Spicy Beef Stew
  • Beef tips
  • Red Lentil stew
  • Split Yellow Peas
  • Chick Pea stew with beef
  • Cabbage and Carrots
  • Kale and collard Greens
  • Green Beans and carrots
  • House Salad
  • Fresh made cottage cheese

Ethiopian food

Injera bread

Injera bread

Zeleke was asked about condiments like mustard and ketchup with Ethiopian food. He said they use ginger, garlic, jalapenos, etc.

Zeleke Belete

Zeleke Belete

He was asked about the hot spice in some of the dishes and said that it was a jalapeno pepper.

The Adventurers had many questions about Ethiopian food - what a typical meal is, what a holiday meal would be, Honey Wine, fried food, sweets and desserts and so on. And Zeleke answered them all.

Zeleke Belete

There was also a lot of interest in Ethiopia and its people and culture. Zeleke said that the calendar in Ethiopia has 13 months, not 12. It is the year 2010 in Ethiopia, not 2017.

Zeleke Belete

Dan Hanson of showed that Ethiopia is in the Horn of Africa and how the geography is important to the politics and history. He told of the Nile River, how Ethiopia is the originator of coffee and about the languages (Amharic and others) and religions (Orthodox Christian and Muslim) of Ethiopia.

Dan also told how several important finds have propelled Ethiopia to the forefront of palaeontology including the several hundred pieces of bone fossils representing 40 percent of the skeleton of a female of the hominin species estimated to have lived 3.2 million years ago that is called Lucy. He told the cool story how they came up with that name.

Dan Hanson the told how the Rastafarian movement began in Jamaica in 1930 and was practiced by reggae musicians such as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. He told how some Rastas considered Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia to be Jah (God) or the second coming of Christ or a great prophet.

Aklilu Demessie is from Ethiopia and he told about Eritrea splitting off from Ethiopia, how Ethiopia was never colonized, why Ethiopians are good runners, how the President Jimmy Carter administration played a role in Ethiopian and Somalian issues with Russia and more.

Joseph Meissner told some interesting stories about Ethiopia - the history and religions and, of course, Emperor Haile Selassie.

Joe Meissner

Joe Meissner

After dinner there was an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Ethiopian coffee ceremony

As the coffee was being prepared Zeleke told the people why they serve snacks during the Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Ethiopian coffee ceremony

The food was delicious and the cultural presentations were enlightening. It was another great Passport Adventure.

Zoma Ethiopian restaurant

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