Robert Shetkintong is a distinguished diplomat currently serving as the Indian Ambassador to Ethiopia. He holds an M. Phil degree in Political Science. He has been involved in diplomacy since 2001, bringing over two decades of experience to his role as an ambassador.
Which Ethiopian dish do you enjoy the most?
When I first arrived in Addis Ababa on the early morning of October 13, 2020, I found myself waiting for three hours until the shops opened. During this time, I eagerly sought out a nearby butcher’s shop to indulge in some delicious Kitfo. I also have a strong desire to experience the flavors of a Beye-aynetu platter, which offers a delightful assortment of various Ethiopian dishes.
It’s worth noting that my daughter Sarah has developed a deep fondness for Firfir, while my wife thoroughly enjoys her Ful breakfast. As for my son Raymond, his taste buds are particularly drawn to the flavors of Shiro and Doro Wot.
If you were to compete against an Ethiopian athlete, who would be your choice?
If given the opportunity, I would choose to run alongside Haile Gebrselassie, one of the greatest runners from Ethiopia and the world. While I may only be able to keep up with him for a maximum of two kilometers, it would still be an incredible experience to share the track with a legend.
It would also give me time to convince Haile to do business with India.
Which restaurant in Addis Ababa do you consider the best?
Ethiopian cultural restaurants are the best. We thoroughly enjoy exploring various dining establishments, especially those that beautifully showcase Ethiopia’s rich culture and cuisine all under one roof. These cultural restaurants provide an authentic and immersive experience that we truly cherish.
In addition to the vibrant Ethiopian culinary scene, Addis Ababa also boasts a diverse selection of Indian restaurants that have captured the hearts of locals. The Ethiopian people have developed a deep appreciation for Indian cuisine, owing to the shared love for flavorful spices.
Sangam was the city’s first Indian restaurant. Now, Konark, Vraj, Om Bistro, Indian Spice, Chillies Addis, Jewel of India, and Namaste Addis are among the remarkable Indian restaurants available in the city.
Shaheen restaurant at Sheraton Hotel is renowned for its excellent Indian dishes, while Hyatt Hotel’s newly appointed Indian chef creates mouth-watering Indian cuisine that is truly irresistible. If you’re looking for another fantastic restaurant with an Indian menu, Zaika is definitely worth a visit. Even Seven Lakes Hotel in Bishoftu features an Indian restaurant that adds to the extended culinary experience available in the area.
What is your holiday wish for the people of Ethiopia?
In Ethiopia, we eagerly anticipate this time of year to celebrate the Ethiopian New Year and Meskel festivities. Similar to India, Ethiopians value and cherish their connections with family, relatives, and communities.
Families come together around the goat fire, sharing both joys and sorrows, and expressing wishes for the well-being of their loved ones and the country. I join in the universal prayer that is on the lips of every Ethiopian—for peace, unity, and development in the country.
It is notable that around 40 Indian families from Gujarat have made Ethiopia their home for the past 3-5 generations. Over the years, they have been joined by investors, educators, and social workers. Presently, there are approximately 5000 Indian nationals residing in Ethiopia. We enthusiastically celebrate all Ethiopian festivals, including the Ethiopian New Year and Meskel celebrations.
On behalf of this community, I extend my warm wishes to all of you for a prosperous New Year and joyful Meskel festivities.
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