DAHLAK RESTAURANT

Description

In the restaurant "Dahlak" you will find the traditional dishes from Eritrea, a country in North-Eastern Africa.

Haimanot and Andom’s adventure began more than 17 years ago. It started as a restaurant at various festivals in Bergamo and Brescia as a way to make the Eritrean cuisine known. Since 2006 it has been based in the Borgo Palazzo area and is a place where you can get to know their traditions and enjoy their typical cuisine.

Together with the Urban District of Commerce we met them and this is their story:

"To welcome us in their restaurant in Borgo Palazzo are the beautiful smiles of Haimanot and her husband Andom. Twenty-six years of marriage behind them, three children (two of which are living internationally), almost forty years of life in Italy, many of which have been in the kitchen.

They are both from Eritrea and met in Italy. He arrived at the end of the seventies as a political refugee, while she was passing through Europe on a business trip.

The story of Andom is like that of many other men and women fleeing from a country at war. It was his mother who suggested that he flee, because she already had two sons in the army and did not want the third to risk his life. In his early twenties, Andom left for Sudan, where the brothers were. He wanted to bid them a final farewell. He walked for three days and could only say goodbye to one of them.

Once in Italy, the Patronato San Vincenzo’s welcome, mixed with his tenacity and good will, he managed to settle in. He immediately began studying again as his diploma was not recognised by the Italian state and then he wanted to learn the language well. Twenty-four years old, he entered the classroom for the last three years of high school. "I was closer to the teachers than to other students," he says under his moustache.

Then he met Haimanot, a love that is sealed by four marriages. Civil and religious matrimony in Italy, in Asmara by her family and then in Andom's mother’s village.

They laugh while telling this and they say that their union is indissoluble... it would be impossible to divorce that many times!

As we talk to them they exchange glances, they make fun of each other and Haimanot often repeats “What are you talking about? Do you see that you do not remember anything?” He smiles softly, looks at us and says “See, she's the boss.”

Haimanot is the queen of the kitchen - during our meeting she gets up several times to check the cooking and speak with the suppliers. She tells us that it was this passion that led her to Dahlak (name of the restaurant and an archipelago of islands, one of the seven wonders of Africa).

It was she who insisted on cooking a traditional dish at a Unity party. She wanted to make it known, she wanted many people to taste it.

When they told her that the following year they could participate, she said she didn’t sleep for twelve months because of the fear of not being able to do it.

From then on, people continued to ask them “But after the party where we can eat Eritrean food? Where is your restaurant? Why can’t we eat your dishes in winter?”

So, for those who trust and entrust, life is this thing here: answering a question, welcoming something that comes into your hands and trusting that everything will be fine.

Then prudence, perseverance and hard work will do the rest.

Certainly the restaurant was what allowed them to support and let their children study. For example, the eldest, after studying Languages at Ca’ Foscari in Venice, is now in Korea for a Masters in international relations. It was above all an opportunity to spread a precious culture of 'sharing'.

Eating together, with hands, from the same plate, educates about caring for others, teaches altruism and attention to the little ones.

Andom tells us that, as the food is eaten, starting from the edges of the plate, only a part remains in the centre. This is always intended for the youngest in the family. “They have to grow and it's right that he or she will eat more than the others.”

At the restaurant, they insist that people try to eat like this. They know that the shared table is always a place of relationships and that it is precisely here that the most beautiful relationships are formed.

Like the ones that Andom built in Italy, today he has solid ties with those who welcomed him and supported him on his arrival. “I was lucky, they gave me confidence and work and now we are like brothers.”

We farewell them, only after having tasted a typical dish - which Haimanot prepares before our eyes in her impeccable kitchen that seems new - and tasted together, slowly, their spicy hot tea.

This is their welcome, for us a thank you and, undoubtedly, a goodbye.”

 


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In the restaurant "Dahlak" you will find the traditional dishes from Eritrea, a country in North-Eastern Africa.

Haimanot and Andom’s adventure began more than 17 years ago. It started as a restaurant at various festivals in Bergamo and Brescia as a way to make the Eritrean cuisine known. Since 2006 it has been based in the Borgo Palazzo area and is a place where you can get to know their traditions and enjoy their typical cuisine.

Together with the Urban District of Commerce we met them and this is their story:

"To welcome us in their restaurant in Borgo Palazzo are the beautiful smiles of Haimanot and her husband Andom. Twenty-six years of marriage behind them, three children (two of which are living internationally), almost forty years of life in Italy, many of which have been in the kitchen.

They are both from Eritrea and met in Italy. He arrived at the end of the seventies as a political refugee, while she was passing through Europe on a business trip.

The story of Andom is like that of many other men and women fleeing from a country at war. It was his mother who suggested that he flee, because she already had two sons in the army and did not want the third to risk his life. In his early twenties, Andom left for Sudan, where the brothers were. He wanted to bid them a final farewell. He walked for three days and could only say goodbye to one of them.

Once in Italy, the Patronato San Vincenzo’s welcome, mixed with his tenacity and good will, he managed to settle in. He immediately began studying again as his diploma was not recognised by the Italian state and then he wanted to learn the language well. Twenty-four years old, he entered the classroom for the last three years of high school. "I was closer to the teachers than to other students," he says under his moustache.

Then he met Haimanot, a love that is sealed by four marriages. Civil and religious matrimony in Italy, in Asmara by her family and then in Andom's mother’s village.

They laugh while telling this and they say that their union is indissoluble... it would be impossible to divorce that many times!

As we talk to them they exchange glances, they make fun of each other and Haimanot often repeats “What are you talking about? Do you see that you do not remember anything?” He smiles softly, looks at us and says “See, she's the boss.”

Haimanot is the queen of the kitchen - during our meeting she gets up several times to check the cooking and speak with the suppliers. She tells us that it was this passion that led her to Dahlak (name of the restaurant and an archipelago of islands, one of the seven wonders of Africa).

It was she who insisted on cooking a traditional dish at a Unity party. She wanted to make it known, she wanted many people to taste it.

When they told her that the following year they could participate, she said she didn’t sleep for twelve months because of the fear of not being able to do it.

From then on, people continued to ask them “But after the party where we can eat Eritrean food? Where is your restaurant? Why can’t we eat your dishes in winter?”

So, for those who trust and entrust, life is this thing here: answering a question, welcoming something that comes into your hands and trusting that everything will be fine.

Then prudence, perseverance and hard work will do the rest.

Certainly the restaurant was what allowed them to support and let their children study. For example, the eldest, after studying Languages at Ca’ Foscari in Venice, is now in Korea for a Masters in international relations. It was above all an opportunity to spread a precious culture of 'sharing'.

Eating together, with hands, from the same plate, educates about caring for others, teaches altruism and attention to the little ones.

Andom tells us that, as the food is eaten, starting from the edges of the plate, only a part remains in the centre. This is always intended for the youngest in the family. “They have to grow and it's right that he or she will eat more than the others.”

At the restaurant, they insist that people try to eat like this. They know that the shared table is always a place of relationships and that it is precisely here that the most beautiful relationships are formed.

Like the ones that Andom built in Italy, today he has solid ties with those who welcomed him and supported him on his arrival. “I was lucky, they gave me confidence and work and now we are like brothers.”

We farewell them, only after having tasted a typical dish - which Haimanot prepares before our eyes in her impeccable kitchen that seems new - and tasted together, slowly, their spicy hot tea.

This is their welcome, for us a thank you and, undoubtedly, a goodbye.”