Eating from the same plate is one of the most common dietary social customs in Ethiopia. The custom also carries strong significance in Ethiopian social culture.
If one Ethiopian (let’s say Mr. A) is already eating in the restaurant when his buddies enter the restaurant, they all wash their hands, order their share at the counter, go back to Mr A’s table, and eat together with Mr A no matter how small Mr A’s food is left. It is also quite common for friends to order all their shares to arrive on one big plate, which usually comes with different dipping sauces.
The other alternative is removing the existing empty plate, and putting the newly arrived order in place at the middle of the group and resume eating all together while chatting, laughing and discussing about life, business, education, religion, culture etc… When the bill arrives, they either share the bill or one of the members with higher earning pays the entire bill and they leave the restaurant.Paying for one another is also one of the most common dietary social culture in Ethiopia.
Inviting someone during lunch, dinner or coffee/tea hours is one of the regular customs commonly exercised in Ethiopia. When one goes from one corner of the country to another, there is always warm welcome and smiles even when they do not have anything to offer.