Skip to content

Kitfo has Established Itself in the Hearts of many Ethiopians

Originating in the central Gurage region, about an hour and a half southwest of Addis Ababa, kitfo is finely chopped – or minced – beef that is massaged with niter kibbeh, a clarified butter infused with herbs and spices, and marinated in mitmita, a chilli powder-based spice blend. A spot like Addis Ababa’s Bekelech Kitfo, founded, owned and run for more than 50 years by the undisputed champion of kitfo, the indomitable octogenarian Bekelech Bere-Wak. The first thing we noticed is that Bekelech Kitfo does not look like a typical kitfo joint, which is often a round thatched-roof hut and goes for a “traditional” look with Gurage decorations. Instead, it sits in an eponymous three-star hotel that she built herself 10 years ago when city planners told her she could not just renovate her old restaurant because the zoning specified a hotel. Modern and sleek, this five-storey building’s lobby boasts crisp, white interiors and sparkly chandeliers, hardly what we expected.