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Horn of Africa,
an Adventure in Ethiopian Cuisine
by Amanda Byron

Those of you who enjoy ethnic foods may have noticed that over the past decade Portland has developed a long list of Ethiopian restaurants, rivaled only by the famous Adams Morgan District in Washington DC! What you might not know is that Ethiopia, much like the United States, contains many distinct cultures, each with its own variation of culinary influences and traditions.

The Horn of Africa, located at 3939 NE Martin Luther King Boulevard and at Portland's Saturday Market, is an Ethiopian restaurant offering food from the Eastern Region of Ethiopia, close to the geographic "horn" bordering Somalia. The food is highly influenced by the spices and tastes of Indian cuisine, adding spicy curries and complex flavors to the familiar Ethiopian fare.

Khadija Yousuf, the restaurant's talented Chef, combines longstanding family traditions with fresh ingredients and love to provide healthy, hearty food for the soul. Mohamed Yousuf, the restaurant Manager, will be sure to make you feel welcome and comfortable, much like an old friend welcoming you for a long awaited, much anticipated visit. Be forewarned, Mohamed will not be satisfied until you have eaten enough to threaten the seams of your clothing. I have learned to dine at Horn of Africa only when clad in clothing with elastic waistbands. The food is delicious and the prices are surprisingly moderate. I recommend ordering Shafut as an appetizer; you’ll need something to hold you while the smells from the kitchen tantalize your senses. Many of the meat dishes are prepared with Halal meat (complying with the standards of compassion and cleanliness required by Islam), and the menu also includes a range of vegetarian options.

Be sure to save enough time to browse in the adjoining store, which carries a wide variety of international and local foods, spices, and beauty items. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, from 11:30am - 3pm, and Monday through Saturday, 5pm -10pm. Food can also be ordered for take out by calling 503-331-9844.