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Bunna: An Experience in Ethiopian Cuisine

Posted by Susanne on Jun 10, 2015

I have always enjoyed eating Ethiopian cuisine and recently was fortunate to experience a charming vegan Ethiopian restaurant called Bunna Café, in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. Nestled between small industrial businesses, Bunna is almost unnoticed, except for a tiny sign that hangs from the awning of the restaurant. The picture is of a jebena, a beautiful coffee pot used in the Bunna coffee ceremony.


Coffee is an integral component of the Ethiopian economy and diet. The daily ritual of brewing coffee takes place three times per day in the form of a ceremony where coffee is first roasted on a flat stove. Beans are then prepared for grinding in a mortar and pestle and then coffee is mixed with spices and brewed in the jebena.


Coffee is served with various snacks and allows for the community to come together and discuss the news of the day or share time together.

We visited Bunna on a very hot day, so I opted to order my Bunna iced. It was served sweetened with sugar and the taste of the freshly roasted coffee combined with cardamom and cloves was refreshing and delicious.


We also tried an Espris, a smoothie drink made of three layers of pureed fruit: mango, avocado and papaya. It was amazing.


We arrived at Bunna as soon as it opened for lunch and chose the feast for two, comprised of 8 different items and a plate of injera, the spongey sourdough flat bread. Ethiopian food is eaten with no silverware, so the injera serves as both the base for the various dishes as well as the device for picking up the food by tearing tiny pieces of it and wrapping it around bites of food.


Injera is typically made from teff, or other grains, and the batter ferments for several days before it is baked, giving it a tangy sour flavor.

We were served a combination of hot and cold items, including Gomen – steamed kale with carrots and various herbs, Yater Kik Alicha – yellow split peas simmered with garlic, ginger and herbs, Shiro – ground chickpeas simmered with garlic, ginger and herbs (my favorite), Misir Wot – red lentils cooked in a spicy berbere sauce, Yatakilt Alicha – cabbage, potatoes carrots and turmeric, Keysir Selata – sautéed beets, carrots and potatoes, Kedija Selata – kale, lime, tomato, onion and avocado salad and the special vegetable of the day , Fasolia – green beans and carrots cooked with various spices.


Everything was delicious and before we knew it, there was nothing left!

If you are ever in Brooklyn you should take time out to visit Bunna and hopefully you will be fortunate enough to witness the Bunna ceremony.


The food is amazing and very inexpensive. Just make sure to bring cash to pay for your meal. As they say at Bunna, Everything = Eshi - It’s all good!

The Chopping Block doesn't currently offer any ethiopian cooking classes (let us know in the comments if you'd like to see one on our calendar), but if you are interested in learning more about vegan food, check out our upcoming vegan cooking class complete with a new summer menu:

Vegan Voyage at Lincoln Square

Vegan Voyage at Merchandise Mart


Topics: ethnic, Travel, vegan

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