In our new Globe Trotter series, Viral Travel reviews all the best places to see, eat and stay at in every country of the world!
This week we visit: Tunisia
Tunisian cuisine has a mix of Arabic, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and French influences. Everything is cooked with olive oil, spiced with aniseed, coriander, cumin, caraway, cinnamon or saffron and flavored with mint, orange blossom or rose water.
Near the coast, you’ll find fresh seafood while in the Sahara region menus often offer Berber specialties, most commonly rustic-style stews. Roast chicken and baked lamb dishes are popular, as are dishes with couscous. Salads are simple and lightly dressed.
Instead of desserts, there is an array of Arabic sweets and cakes, usually filled with nuts and honey or syrup. Also, pastries are a legacy of the French and you’ll find those croissants and pains au chocolat everywhere.
Specialities include couscous (ground semolina served with meat, fish or vegetable sauce), Harissa (chilli paste), Salade Mechouia (roasted vegetable salad), Tajine (a kind of spiced quiche), Brik (the Tunisian version of the Turkish borek), Merguez (spiced beef sausage), Filfil mahshi (peppers stuffed with beef and harissa), Lablabi (a chickpea soup with lashings of garlic), Marqa (a stew of meat and vegetables), and Ojja (Tunisian scrambled eggs, usually spiced with lashings of harissa).
Although Tunisia is an Islamic country, alcohol is not prohibited. It is sold in bars, restaurants and some supermarkets. Tunisia produces a range of palatable table wines, sparkling wines, beers, aperitifs and local liqueurs.
Vegetarianism is a strange concept here, and vegetarians may struggle to eat within the country. Although there are salads, soups, egg-based dishes and stews in Tunisian cuisine be aware that many ‘vegetable only’ dishes will have used a chicken stock as their base.
Regional drinks include Thé à la menthe (mint tea), served with pine nuts, Ahwa arbi (Turkish/Arabic coffee), Boukha (aromatic spirit, distilled from figs), and Thibarine (herb-based liqueur).