Bayu’s Ethiopian Cuisine – San Diego

San Diego, California – Bayu’s has been open for just over a year at the corner of 5th and University in Hillcrest. Despite it’s forgettable facade, the doors open onto a nicely laid out dining room with white linen on the tables, big windows, a spacious bar, and a facsimile of a thatched hut covering some tables in the back of the dining room.

The restaurant runs full lunch and dinner service, but a big highlight is the weekday lunch buffet. Every day until 2:30 in the afternoon, $9.99 buys limitless access to a half dozen chafing dishes filled with the slowly stewed, richly spiced meats and vegetables that characterize this East African cuisine.

A quick primer on Ethiopian cookery: the majority of foods are slowly stewed and heavily seasoned. The overall flavor has commonalities with North African (particularly Moroccan tajine) flavors and the styles of curry popular in northern India. Due to the slow cooking methods employed, the resultant dishes are all tender and easily digestible, while the seasonings meld together and create heady aromas and complex flavors. Traditionally, Ethiopian food is served without the silverware that we have become accustomed to in the past couple hundred years. In lieu of forks and spoons, diners break off sections of injera (the spongy, sourdough bread that’s an Ethiopian staple) and scoop food up with the fingers; an act which requires a certain deftness, but which proves incredibly rewarding once mastered. Read More