Azla Vegan: Bringing Ethiopian Gursha to LA

Azla Vegan is more than a hot new restaurant on the Los Angeles foodie scene. Azla, the business' namesake, and her daughter Nesanet are working at a crossroads of community, culture, and health. Here, diners can experience not only flavorful Northern Ethiopian cuisine, but also partake in the custom of gursha, filling injera (a spongy flatbread) with wot (thick, spicy stew) and placing it in a friend or family member's mouth. It is an act of bonding, Azla explains, "you are nourishing the other, through food and action."

Located in the Mercado la Paloma of South LA, Azla Vegan provides healthy vegan options with an ethnic flair. Azla keeps Ethiopian traditions alive and well in Los Angeles, such as the blessing of the bread seen here, but the restaurant also incorporates Latino and Rastafarian influences in a nod to the myriad of cultures present in the city. Nesanet muses that "food is this window to really build these interesting intersections. You might feed anyone of any ethnicity, diet, or socioeconomic background at the Mercado la Paloma." This much is evident in the restaurant's popularity with locals, as well as national attention ranging from KCET to the Food Network to Coachella.

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