Itinerary/Menu For Horn of Africa/Middle East

I depart this Sunday, March 7th From San Francisco to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and will finally arrive on March 9th around noon. I’ll spend a couple of days arranging visas and hanging out in Addis, before departing for Djibouti City on March 12th. After a quick overnight in Djibouti, I’ll catch a flight on Jubba Airways on the 13th to the northern part of the internationally recognized country of Somalia. Due to very infrequent flight schedules, I’ll be there 6 days until my flight starts backtracking countries on the 19th of March. I will have the opportunity to spend about a week traveling throughout Ethiopia before heading back to the Emirates to spend 5 days in Dubai. I will make my way back to San Francisco on the 30th to show up to the day job the next day.

As far as the important stuff, I am very excited about the meals to be had in this wheat deprived part of the world! Ethiopian food is one of my favorites and it’s a shame that the staple grain (tef – naturally gluten free) is very expensive and usually cut with bisquick/all purpose flour/etc. (all loaded with gluten) in the states. Eating Lamb Begee with a fork is a line that I am just not willing to cross. Injera (Ethiopian Bread made from tef), here I come!

I am a little nervous about the food options in Djibouti. Djibouti was formerly known as French Somaliland and has a huge prevalent French influence. If there is one thing the French are known for, it is their bread. I plan on stocking up on quite a few Lara Bars (gluten free!) just in case, but I am positive I will make this country work somehow.

Somaliland, the self-proclaimed, unrecognized state located in the northern part of the greater Somalia is known for its goat meat. This should be quite a fun time trying to play 20 questions with the waiters in Somali/Arabic. I am specifically excited about the prospect of the gluten free vegetarian opportunities.

Finally, Dubai. It amazes me that the degree to which a country is “developed” is almost always proportional to the amount of Wheat, Barley and Rye their diet consists of. The third world, hasn’t found gluten yet, but the first world seems to use it like it is salt. Dubai is rumored to have some fantastic South Asian food (chickpea flour is usually used – think Pakora) to hold me over. Obviously, I will be scouring the country looking for new options.

A quick comment about the airlines, I was able to select a gluten free meal on both Emirates as well as Kenya Airways. I was very happy to see this option, as the flight is almost 16 hours. Any suggestions are very much welcome…

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4 Responses to “Itinerary/Menu For Horn of Africa/Middle East”

  1. Sameera Says:

    Dear traveller,

    I found your blog after a google search. I am going back home to the horn of Africa and unfortunately, I am gluten intolerant. I want to ask you for tips. How did you cope with the intolerance specially in Djibouti and Hargeisa?
    I will stock on Larabars but what else? How do I tell the airline that I need to eat both halal and gluten free? Where the restaurants accomodating? Please let me know any meal that you ordered and that’s gluten free. Sorry for all the questions. Please email me I am leaving on Sunday, April 15 and will be away for 2 months. InshaAllah, I will bring with me one suitcase of rice pasta 🙂

  2. Sameera Says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks for your blog and the email reply.
    I have been now in Hargeisa for about a month…two months in the Horn of Africa. I tried to educate waiters about the gluten free diet as they have no clue about it.
    The good thing here is you won’t get tricked by restaurant meals…most food is from scratch and they haven’t learn to put flour everywhere like in Western countries.
    Also, people in Hargeisa are very friendly. They will let you in their kitchen to check the ingredients on their ice cream if you need it.
    Somaliland You will not have many choices…it is funny actually the same ice cream is sold in most restaurants but the good thing about it is that it says GLUTEN FREE with the international gf sign.

    It is soo much different from US and Canada where immigrant/Muslim owned restaurants usually get suspicious once you say you want to read the ingredients. Gluten is not common outside of Western countries but in Hargeisa, when you explain your allergy they take it seriously and want to make you happy…all you have to do is tell them your problem and ask to read the ingredients. Speaking Somali must help too.

    I know you said Ethiopian injera is gf in the Horn but I haven’t tried it yet…I am extremely careful about eating gf during my travels and until I meet the person who makes these injera, I will not consume any. In Ethiopia it is only teff but in Somaliland, I suspect some wheat flour…I heard about a good Ethiopian restaurant not far from where I am…but I am waiting to go there and ask all my questions before I eat there.
    Hope this will help your readers.

  3. http://technorati.com/people/De0353 Says:

    Thanks to my father who informned me about this blog, this blog is really remarkable.

  4. google plus adwords Says:

    Yes! Finally someone writes about bangers.

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