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Eating in Tunisia


Eating in Tunisia

Tunisian cuisine is very much in the Northern African Maghreb tradition, with couscous and marqa stews (similar to the Moroccan tajine, however what Tunisians refer to as "tajines" are nothing like the Moroccan variety) forming the backbone of most meals. Distinguishing characteristics are the fiery harissa chili sauce, the heavy use of tiny olives which are abundant in the country, and tajines in Tunisia (not to be confused with their Moroccan counterparts) refer to a type of omelette-like pie prepared with a ragout of meat and/or vegetables mixed with ingredients such as herbs, legumes and even offal, then enriched with eggs and cheese and finally baked in a deep pie dish until the eggs are just set, somewhat like an Italian frittata. Lamb forms the basis of most meat dishes. Local seafood is plentiful.
A fiery plate of Harissa
A fiery plate of Harissa
  • Shorba Frik - lamb soup
  • Coucha - shoulder of lamb cooked with turmeric and cayenne pepper
  • Khobz Tabouna - (pronounce Khobz Taboona) traditional oven baked bread
  • Brik - very crispy thin pastry with a whole egg (Brik à l'oeuf), parsley and onions and perhaps, meat too e.g. minced lamb or tuna (Brik au thon). Very tasty as an inexpensive starter. Eat it very carefully with your fingers.
  • Berber Lamb - Lamb cooked with potatoes, carrots in a clay pot.
  • Merguez - small spicy sausages.
  • Salade Tunisienne - lettuce, green pepper, tomato, onions, olives, radishes mixed with tuna.
  • Tunisian cakes - sweets related to Baklava.
  • Harissa - very hot spicy chili paste (somtimes milded with carrots or yogurt), served with bread as a starter at almost any meal.
  • Fricasse - small fried sandwich with tuna, harissa, olives and olive oil.
  • Bambaloony - fried sweet donut-like cake served with sugar.
  • Regrettably, Tunisia has a very underdeveloped restaurant culture and most food prepared outside of Tunisian homes is disappointingly bland and carelessly presented. These characteristics tend to apply across the price scale, though one can occasionally eat tasty couscous or "coucha" stew in some low-priced restaurants. One's best hope for good eating in Tunisia is to be invited as a guest in someone's home.

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    Tunisia Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.

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