Checking to See if I’ve Changed My Mind on Ethiopian Food at Kaffa Crossing

For years now, I have been telling everyone that my least favorite cuisine comes from Ethiopia. This is personal, and ya’ll can freely disagree but I don’t like the intense spicing, the lack of variety of flavors, and the slimy injera (a fermented, moist sort of flat bread). But, it has been a while since I gave it a chance and I wanted to be more open minded. I picked Kaffa Crossing in West Philly, highly rated on Yelp.

From the meat menu, the “tibs” was recommended to me by the man with the accent behind the counter. I got it to go and ate outside. In my to-go box, my meal was wrapped completely inside injera, which I didn’t realize. It sort of felt like I was opening a package wrapped in warm skin.

I ordered my tibs (sauteed beef cubes with onions and peppers, $9.50) mild, recalling my last Ethiopian experience where intense spice was the only detectable flavor.  The beef was still slightly spicy, and blatant pieces of jalapenos were thrown in the mix, but it wasn’t too spicy to prevent tasting the other spices. Given how  tiny the pieces of meat were, it could have been more tender. Inside the injera lined box, I also found a side of sauteed cabbage and boiled potato and stewed  yellow lentils, both mild but not unpleasant.  I didn’t even mind the injera, it was less sour and slimy than what I have tried in the past. However, nothing stood out as something I would really want to eat again.

At least I am consistent, Ethiopian isn’t going to be moving up my list of favorite cuisines. For all of you who really enjoy Ethiopian food, what is your favorite dish? I would be willing to give it another go if there was something in particular I had missed.

Kaffa Crossing, 4423 Chestnut St, 215 386-0504



  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    Have you tried kitfo, or is that a little too weird? It’s actually really good in small amounts.

  • Nothing of value has ever originated from sub-saharan africa

    (excepting jenkem of course)

  • wayne grossss, can we be twitter friends?

  • Dom (and wayne)- I would try kitfo, raw meat doesn’t scare me. Can you make a meal out of it though?

    • I’ve had it twice and must say that it is my least favorite raw beef. German, Belgian, French tartare, carpaccio, raw kobe are all superior. I often order a large portion as a main.

      Please note I refuse to take your meat-comment-bait!

  • I like Ethiopian food. I particularly like tibs.

    Though I have to admit disappointment with about 90% of the Ethiopian I’ve tried outside of a few specific areas (DC, Israel, LA). I suspect because most of these non-hub Ethiopian spots tend to serve a predominantly white deadlock patchouli crowd who have fried their palates on kambocha. These places are culinary equivalent of a hackey sack. Maybe hold off further experimentation until you are able to have some Doro Wat down in the District?

  • User has not uploaded an avatar

    You can definitely make a meal out of it, if you’re not scared to gobble down a good amount of raw meat. This convo is really taking a turn for the worst…

    Also agree 100% with Steve that the offerings in DC are better.

  • my main Ethiopian experience was actually in DC!

  • I usually get the vegetarian mesob at Dahlak and I have never been disappointed. It is actually Eritrean & Ethiopian food.

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