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Popcorn and coffee are usually served at the end of the meal. (Photo courtesy of R. Chin)
Establishment: Bonna Annee Cuisine: Ethiopian
Location: Tourist Club Area – Behind HSBC on Salam [8th Street]
Dish: Bonna Annee Special

As a rule of thumb, whenever I try out a new cuisine, if the food is not homemade I go to a restaurant that is frequented by people for whom this food is local. This is usually a good indicator that the food will be authentic and probably well prepared. Arriving at Bonna Annee Restaurant, I was pleased to note that it was filled with many Ethiopian and Eritrean diners.

Being new to Ethiopian food, my friends and I decided to order what the waitress recommended, the Bonna Annee Special. The special is essentially a taster platter that is comprised of small portions of a variety of popular dishes served on top of injera, which is, traditional Ethiopian bread served with most meals. Meal times in Ethiopia are about sharing and this one was no different as the injera came on a large communal bowl. The waitress served the meat, vegetables and lentils on the injera, arranging them in a way that allowed each of us easy access to sample the various items.

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The Bonna Annee Special. (Photo courtesy of R. Chin)

All of the dishes had a hearty, homemade taste to them. There were two beef dishes (one grilled, the other a stew), a lentil stew, a chickpea stew, sautéed mixed vegetables and injera soaked in the house sauce. Most of the dishes contained a blend of Ethiopian chilli powder with varying degrees of spiciness; however, none of them were too spicy. The waitress gladly provided the table with pots of thin-house chilli sauces to increase the heat of each dish.

The injera bread is similar in look to a crepe but with a spongy texture. It has a sour taste and acts as the perfect complement to the stews. The bread also does double duty as the vehicle for the foods as meals are eaten with the right hand.

I recommend that you finish off your meal with coffee. It will be served with popcorn, a surprisingly delightful accompaniment.

Bonna Annee Restaurant has a friendly atmosphere with wait staff who are efficient and helpful. The décor could benefit from some updating, but even so, it is quite comfortable. Go there at noon on a Friday. It will be busy, but the crowd adds to the ambience.

Why This Interests Me?

Though fine dining is great as an occasional treat, I find much joy in learning about the blend of cultures that exist in the UAE, while sampling a few of the many recommended ethnic restaurants dotted across the country.

By Richie Chin

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