The Edmond Sun

Food

March 24, 2009

Queen of Sheba provides taste of Ethiopia

EDMOND — I have been hearing about an Ethiopian restaurant owned by Edmond residents Begib and Mimi Younis. I always knew Oklahoma has a lot to offer for just about any palate, but I had no idea the Queen of Sheba restaurant would be as authentic as the people who own this fine eating establishment.

Begib and Mimi are both from Ethiopia, and moved from their country over 25 years ago when Ethiopia was still under socialist rule. They first move to Florida, and soon realized with three boys they wanted a better life for their family, and found that Edmond was where they wanted to raise their children. So three and half years ago they found the perfect location and began cooking traditional Ethiopian cuisine.

I had been anticipating my visit to Queen of Sheba, and couldn’t wait to take in this one-of-a-kind experience. Mimi met me and took me into the main dining room. The space is covered with traditional Ethiopian artwork, posters and handmade items. The tables were set with brightly colored linens and no salt and pepper shakers. Trust me, you won’t need them. I started with a traditional Ethiopian wine, Tej (honey wine). Although sweeter than a dessert wine, it compliments the spiciness of the meal.

Never having tried Ethiopian cuisine, I was intrigued to find out how healthy the food was. From lentils, collard greens, potatoes, lamb and sautéed beef, every dish pops with flavor. Every dish offered is meticulously prepared and slow-cooked for hours. The traditional bread Injera, a large crepe/pancake, is served with every meal. The bread takes two days to prepare before it can be cooked and served.

Not knowing what to order, I chose the Queen of Sheba Messob, which is an array of beef, chicken and lamb, as well as vegetarian dishes. In addition, no silverware is offered. Following tradition, meals are eaten with Injera bread; the bread is torn and used almost like tongs to eat the food. Hot cloth napkins are provided to help clean your hands while eating.

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