In this second post of my series presenting international addresses in and around Aix-en-Provence, let’s start directly with an Ethiopian restaurant situated in the city center of Aix, Chez Ama. Living in the US pushed me to change my diet and to become flexitarian, so whenever I see a restaurant that has a vegetarian option, I’m definitely exited to try it! I was pleasantly surprised by what was, at first sight, a very simple dish: Misir Wat – Ethiopian spiced red lentil dhal. This is a staple dish through Ethiopia and one of the most popular vegetarian dishes in Ethiopian restaurants. It was served with cabbage salad and “injera”, a fermented flatbread made from teff flour. Teff is an ancient grain from Ethiopia, about the size of a poppy seed. It is an excellent gluten-free flour alternative. It tasted delicious and it really made me leave Europe for a moment! Perhaps one day you will stroll by, but not have time for a meal at Chez Ama, be sure to still stop to in to taste their coffee, as they are also a micro-coffee roaster.
Kimbap, Bibimbap, Tteokbokki, Japchae or Mandu…have you tried any of these delicious dishes yet? You don’t need to travel far to taste these authentic Korean dishes. I was so happy to discover a place which reminds me of Korean Town in Manhattan where I often went while living in New York. Naya is a Korean- Japanese family-owned restaurant hidden in old-town, with a very intimate atmosphere. While waiting for your order, you can watch the chef preparing food behind the counter, which opens to the restaurant, or you can shop some typical Korean products or read different ads on the board, attesting to the cultural life of the Korean community living in Aix.
With the upcoming blooming season of lavenders, many will likely head North from Aix, to admire the fields in Valensole. If you have the time, you can stop in Manosque, to try authentic food from the Reunion Island, at La Case Creole. Sausage Rougail with chayotes, served with rice and lentils, and the stuffed peppers all tasted as savory as if I was eating them directly from my family from the Reunion.
For my next recommendation, we stay connected with the Indian Ocean as I will share where to purchase some typical ingredients and prepackaged food from this region. During a recent interview last February with my Chinese friend Zheng, I discovered China Market, situated at the industrial zone Plan de Campagne. In addition to a big variety of products from different Asian and African countries, you can also find frozen samosas, bonbons piments, sausages, spices, tea, beers, … delicacies my Mauritian spouse would dream to find in New York!
I’m closing this post with the stores La Corbeille d’Orient – one situated downtown Aix and another at the entrance of Pertuis. Here I have even found candied lemons in chili paste directly from Mauritius! These stores have various ethnic products from the Orient, Asia and Africa. They also have some Polish dill cucumbers! This leads me to unveil my theme for the third volume: Eastern European restaurants and shops! Be sure to stay tuned and follow this new FB account!
I will be happy if you share your findings too – using a comments section below, adding them in KITNDO, or simply using #deliciousorigins on your Instagram.
By Martina Hornakova, Founder of KITnDO