Tuesday, February 19, 2013

At An Ethiopian Market Stall

Hello :) I thought it would be fun to document my day at work on Wednesday...working at an Ethiopian market stall. I've worked at the stall, held in the EQ markets (just near Fox Studios) for at least a year now. Assisting at a market job is the kind of work you get by word of mouth. I have a friend who had a stall near him and mentioned I was looking for a job, and that's how it happened. So let's go...a day in my Wednesday life! And I realise it looks like all I do is take photos, but don't worry, I do work a lot too!

8:40 I usually get to the markets a bit early for a wander around the stalls, where I usually buy coffee (we don't eat till 2pm, things like this are necessary!) and fruit and vege. There's one organic stall I buy kale, broccoli & whatever else is in season from, usually picked the day before!

about 9-9:30 My boss Hali arrives around this time. So Hali, myself and another assistant unload the van with all the boxes, put the tent up, and make space for cooking. There's 7 big saucepans, where everything is cooked at the stall...except for the slow cooked beef which has already been cooking for a few hours that morning...mmmm.

 9:30-12 Preparation time. As our food, which consists of different curries, isn't the sort of thing you have for breakfast or morning tea, we don't serve food till 12. There's lots of jobs to do to prepare though, including filling 10L containers with water, boiling water for cooking, washing the lentils and rice, chopping shallots and lemons, and stirring the big, simmering, fragrant pots of curries...

One such job I usually do, is folding the injera (Ethiopian flat bread/pancake) into containers, ready to serve (there is also the option of rice). They are made that morning from four types of flour...rice, wheat, corn and sorghum. It has a sour savoury taste, and is divine when served with the curries as a base. We lay the pancake kinda flat, and layer each curry on top, folding the injera as we go. 

From this...

To this...

We serve 7 dishes, and you can choose how many you'd like for the same price. There's beef, two chickens, two lentils, salsa, and a mixed vegetable dish. Here are some of them simmering away.

The mild chicken (I find the spicy one a bit too hot!)


And my favourite dish, the slow cooked and very tender beef.

12-2 Serving time. A lot of office workers come down from Fox Studios for lunch, with the majority of them being regular customers, so we get a continuous flow of people for about 2 hours. Hali has had the market stall for 10 years now, so now it has become quite popular. Most of the time we sell out of food too, so before it all goes I make my lunch!

There's a selection of toppings. The chilli is probably the most famous, made fresh by Hali, it's super hot and I've slowly built up to one spoon of it. There's one guy who always requests 4 spoons of chilli, I do not understand! There's also shallots, lemons, and a yoghurt sauce with herbs and spices. 

2 is lunchtime! The exciting part, where I get to sit and eat. I usually opt for a injera with the beef, salsa and lentils. With all the toppings too. The food is amazing, I definitely look forward to this part of the day. 

2:10 Well after lunch, it's washing up time, then we pack away everything into boxes, before it's reloaded into the van. Quite the cycle.

4:30 The van is all packed up around this time, then it's home time...to rest! Phew.

And thats a day in the life of my Wednesday. It is exhausting, but I do really enjoy it! Well I hope you enjoyed this post, let me know if you're interested in knowing how my other two days at different market stalls look like...I'd be happy to document them.

Oh and just incase you wanted to check the stall out (called Taste Of Ethiopia), he's at EQ markets on Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday and is at the Bondi Junction markets every Thursday :)

Hannah x


  1. Hi Hannah,

    Being a bit of an Ethiopian food virgin, I found your post really interesting. I'd love to know about your other stalls!
    Thanks :)


  2. Keep "a day in the life of" Hannah coming. I know what you do but I still find this post extremely intriguing.

  3. I hope to come and visit soon. looks amazing!

  4. thank you for sharing I am waiting for more post.

  5. Oooh, I live nearby so I really have no excuse not to vist soon!