Food of the Month February 2019: Fekerte’s Ethiopian Cuisine
Fekerte Tesfaye has lived in Canberra for over 30 years. It’s hard to argue with the impact she’s made in introducing Ethiopian cuisine to the local foodie scene. She owns and runs Fekerte’s Ethiopian Cuisine which has been an unmissable staple to the Old Bus Depot Markets food court since they joined us when the Markets first opened in 1994.
Always with a passion for cooking, Fekerte looked at the food scene in Canberra in the early 90’s and found several dining options for Western and Asian cuisines. This encouraged her to introduce food that made her feel more at home. Things started in a simple way by delivering to people in her office, and by catering in small parties. Soon enough, friends asked for her help for birthday parties and the option to do a catering business grew gradually.
“I did catering every now and then, but once I set up my stall, people ordered something,” says Fekerte. “Once I set up at the Markets, it opened the whole door for me.”
Since the early 90’s, Fekerte’s Ethiopian Cuisine has been all over Canberra. They participated in the National Folk Festival and the Gorman House Markets on several occasions. Seeing a huge demand, Fekerte established a restaurant of the same name in Dickson that could accommodate 120 people. She enjoyed running the restaurant during its ten year span.
“Once I set up at the Markets, it opened the whole door for me”
One thing that’s always stayed true throughout her years in foodservice, is her emphasis on ‘”authentic” Ethiopian cuisine. “That’s something people want to see – something different,” says Fekerte. A delicacy you’ll see upon visiting their stall is fermented bread called “injera”. Save for the rice grain, it can be made from a mixture of wheat and barley.
A lot of vegetarian and vegan options are available. Picture dishes of lentils, pumpkin, and bean curry. Veggie and beef samosas are available as a side dish. Other than the injera, all their dishes are gluten free.
Their specialty dish is called “keywat” which can be likened to a red beef stew.Its redness comes from the Ethiopian berbere powder, a spice mixture that can include chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain, radhuni, nigella, and fenugreek. Keywat was her restaurant’s specialty. Fortunately, we can still enjoy it at the Markets every Sunday.
“With the Old Bus Depot Markets, I’ve always been there,” says Fekerte. “I always kept it because I have my identity there. I love it.”
Taste keywat and the many other dishes at Fekerte’s Ethiopian Cuisine every Sunday, and especially on International Crafts and Food on 10 February, 2019 at the Old Bus Depot Markets.
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