Zeman's: The First Ethiopian Restaurant in Tucson, AZ
Ethiopian food is known for its use of spices, herbs, and sauces, as well as its unique way of eating. Instead of using utensils, diners use pieces of injera, a sourdough flatbread made from teff, a gluten-free grain, to scoop up the food. The food is served on a large platter, usually shared by a group of people, creating a communal and social atmosphere.
Some of the dishes you can find at Zeman's include doro wat, a spicy chicken stew with boiled eggs, tibs, a stir-fried beef or lamb dish with onions and peppers, and shiro, a chickpea flour stew with garlic and ginger. You can also try some of the vegetarian and vegan options, such as misir wat, a red lentil stew with berbere, a spice blend, gomen, a collard greens dish with garlic and ginger, and atakilt wat, a cabbage, carrot, and potato dish with turmeric. All the dishes are served with injera, which you can also order separately.
Zeman's is owned and operated by Zemenfes Haile, who moved to Tucson from Ethiopia in 2019. Haile, who goes by Zeman, said he wanted to share his culture and cuisine with the people of Tucson, and also provide a place for the Ethiopian community in the city to gather and enjoy their food. He said he learned how to cook from his mother, who taught him the traditional recipes and techniques of Ethiopian cooking.
Zeman said he is happy with the response he has received from the customers, who have been curious and adventurous about trying his food. He said he hopes to expand his menu and his business in the future, and also to educate people about Ethiopia and its culture.