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Anyone who’s cruised the parallel thoroughfares of El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue has seen how African communities have imparted their culture, music, art, and cuisine onto the diverse palate of San Diego.

For several generations now, the so-called “City of Villages” has become home to transplants from countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, and Jamaica, and, in fact, was among the first U.S. cities to harbor South Sudanese refugees starting in 1991 (read more about Dep Tuany and his non-profit Water for Sudan here).

In order to showcase and promote African businesses and culture in San Diego, several El Cajon Boulevard establishments will be taking part in African Restaurant Week running from Friday, October 19 through Sunday, October 28.

“There are scattering of Ethiopian, Kenyan, Eritrean and Somali restaurants in San Diego, particularly in City Heights where refugees from other countries first move to when they arrive here,” reads the event website, AfricanFoodSD.com.

“A business district is a reflection of the local community, and African Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to celebrate the food, music and culture from this region of the world, that now has a growing presence in the San Diego's diverse neighborhoods.”

The week will kick off at 6:30 p.m. at the World Beat Center with a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony and drum call followed by an Ethiopian beer/wine tasting and food from participating restaurants: Awash, Asmara, Fatuma, Red Sea, Flavors of East Africa, Laylah's Patties & Jerk, and Island Spice.

The World Beat Center’s resident chef will host a free vegetarian cooking class before the night peaks with an African music dance party.

In addition to a variety of special meals hosted throughout the week, select restaurants will host free cooking classes on week nights and African dance/music on the weekends.


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Friday, October 19

African Restaurant Week Opening Event

Celebrating African Cuisine, Music & Culture in San Diego

7pm: Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony and Drum Call

7:30 – 10pm: Taste of African Cuisine

8pm: Free African Vegetarian Cooking Class

10pm: Live African Music

Admission - $10

World Beat Center - 2100 Park Boulevard


Saturday, October 20

9pm – 1am: Featuring Goade: Traditional Ethiopian Music at Awash

4979 El Cajon Boulevard


Sunday, October 21

8pm – Midnight: Featuring Goade: Traditional Ethiopian Music at Awash

4979 El Cajon Boulevard


Monday, October 22

6 - 7pm: Free Cooking Class: Introduction to Kenyan Cuisine at Flavors of East Africa

2322 El Cajon Boulevard

7 -9 pm: Coffee & Tea ceremony at Asmara

4155 University Avenue


Tuesday, October 23

6 - 7pm: Free Cooking Class: Introduction to Kenyan Cuisine at Flavors of East Africa

2322 El Cajon Boulevard

6 - 7pm: Free Cooking Class: Introduction to Somali Cuisine at Fatuma

4869 University Avenue


Wednesday, October 24

6 - 7pm: Free Cooking Class: Introduction to Ethiopian Cuisine at Awash

4979 El Cajon Boulevard

6 -7 pm: Free Cooking Class: Introduction to Jamaican Cuisine at Laylah’s

5712 El Cajon Boulevard

7 -9 pm: Coffee & Tea Ceremony at Asmara

4155 University Avenue


Thursday, October 25

6 - 7pm: Free Cooking Class: Introduction to Somali Cuisine at Fatuma

4869 University Avenue

7 -9 pm: Coffee & Tea ceremony at Asmara

4155 University Avenue


Friday, October 26

6 - 7pm: Free Cooking Class: Introduction to Ethiopian Cuisine at Awash

4979 El Cajon Boulevard

7 -9 pm: Coffee & Tea ceremony at Asmara

4155 University Avenue


Saturday, October 27

12 – 10pm: Re-Grand Opening of Flavors of East Africa

Featuring Traditional Dance from Kenya, Musicians from Ghana and Senegal, along with Lunch and Dinner Specials

2322 El Cajon Boulevard

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