I love it when you read about a new place, you go there, try it, and it actually exceeds your expectations.

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There's an Ethiopian joint in East Lansing?

Yup and I've driven past it a million times. Altu's Ethiopian Cuisine is on Michigan Ave. just east of that Biggby's and PNC Bank.

McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
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What's Ethiopian food like?

I have a friend of mine who is vegetarian and when we grab a bite to eat, I try to be mindful and go to a place that serves more than a salad as their vegan option.

I had read about Altu's in City Pulse and mentioned it to my friend. He lit up like a Christmas tree and was very excited. I knew it was a win for him so I asked how would I enjoy it? He said I would be fine.

McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
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I did some digging online and straight from the source, here is how they describe their entrees at Altu's.

There is a lot of variety in the food available at Altu’s. You will find thick stew-like dishes; vegetarian or meat, mild or spicy. (Altu's)

When we ordered, we started with the Sambusas.

McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
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These are completely vegetarian, filled with lentils and spices, and deep-fried golden brown. And delicious.

My friend got the vegetarian combo pictured below.

McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
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You get to choose four of the 8 options that they have. So if you're vegetarian, this spot definitely has something for you. I know he got lentils and lima beans. I can't make out the other two but I do know that there was a small salad and cabbage as well. That spongy, rolled thing is a sourdough flatbread and it's called Injera. You're supposed to tear pieces of that and use it to scoop up your meal as that's how the food is traditionally eaten in Ethiopia.

I got the meat and veggie combo.

McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
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From left to right, salad, spicy beef stew, collard greens, a drumstick from the chicken stew, and cabbage. Served on and with Injera.

I ate with my hand and scooped the stew up with pieces of Injera. If you don't like the bread you can substitute rice.

They have this unique hot sauce called Zhug/Zhoug (pronounced zoog). It's got cilantro and jalapenos in it. I am mad I didn't get more info on it but it's very tasty and has a good kick to it. If you don't like cilantro, you're gonna pass on it. But I had collard greens so I needed some hot sauce of some type. This did not fail and I highly suggest you ask for it. Flavor and heat. Not burn your face off heat but it's got "personality" if you catch my drift.

McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
McConnell Adams TSM Lansing
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I truly enjoyed my first time at Altu's. We got there early Saturday afternoon (about 5 pm) and just barely beat the rush because right after we finished our meal, it got really busy.

This little gem (and the best-kept secret) has a loyal and hungry following.

Please give them a try. You won't be disappointed.

Find out more about owner Altaye Tadesse from an awesome article in the Lansing City Pulse.

Click the link and peep their FULL menu HERE.

More photos here and here.

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