Tunisian cuisine is inexpensive and tasty. Meat and fish dishes with large amounts or vegetables make up most of the menu. Fruit – Tunisia is great for fruit lovers! Fresh locally grown fruit is readily available at the markets. Tunisians are big coffee drinkers, but the most popular Tunisian beverage is mint tea, which is drunk everywhere. Meals are accompanied by tap or mineral water
Tunisia food Tunisian drinks Brik Chorba Boga.
Tunisian cuisine is inexpensive and tasty. Meat and fish dishes with large amounts or vegetables make up most of the menu. And although couscous and some hearty soups such as chorba often have harissa added to them, it is also not an overly spicy cuisine and the harissa can always be left out. In fact, harissa is best served with olive oil at the start of a meal as an appetiser. But save some room because the French and Turks left behind many delicious desserts for the Tunisians and visitors to enjoy. So next to almond and chocolate cakes, gateaux and croissants you’ll also see loukoum (Turkish delight), baklava, and marzipan filled dates.
Brik – A popular Tunisian snack consisting of an egg fried in a thin pastry envelope, sometimes made with a savoury filling of tuna or vegetables. They’re at their best when eaten hot and fresh.
Harissa – A red chilli, pepper and garlic sauce added to many dishes. Often served with olive oil, olives and fresh bread as a starter.
Mechouia – A spicy mix made of mashed grilled vegetables including aubergines, tomatoes, courgettes and onions. Served as a starter with olive oil and garlic.
Lablabi – A typical Tunisian broth, normally enjoyed at lunch, made of chickpeas with added bread and seasoned with spices.
Chorba – A spicy and delicious chicken or lamb stock based soup made with rice shaped pasta or as chorba fric with barley granules.
Kamounia – A thick and tasty meat stew liberally seasoned with cumin and other spices. Not as common as couscous but well worth looking out for.
Couscous – This is Tunisia’s most famous dish individual steamed grains of semolina, served with meat or fish and vegetables in a tomato sauce.
Grilled fish – Tunisia has a wide variety of seafood but grilled fish and seafood can be pricey. Not surprisingly, the best is often found in small seaside villages.
Tajine – This baked omelette is more like an Italian frittata, made with potatoes, cheese and meat. It may be served hot or cold.
Stuffed cuttlefish with couscous – couscous comes in many varieties from sweet to spicy. This one is spicy and made with cuttlefish, vegetables and harissa.
Salade Tunisienne – A salad of green lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and olives, often topped with slices of hard-boiled egg, tuna chunks and sometimes prawns.
Baklava – Very sweet, baklava is a honey soaked Eastern pastry made with flaky filo pastry and filled with nuts and almonds.
Oudnin el-Kadhi – these traditional cakes are made from nuts and honey, and fried in oil.
Makhroud – These small semolina and date cakes are a delicacy of the Kairouan region.
Samsa Delice – very much like croissants but filled with a variety of dried fruit and fried in oil.
Zrir Tunisienne – This popular snack is a mix of various nuts and raisins.
Fruit – Tunisia is great for fruit lovers! Fresh locally grown fruit is readily available at the markets. May is good for strawberries; the first grapes arrive in June, pomegranates ripen in October and November is the start of the date season. Tunisia also grows a lot of citrus fruits and the season lasts from December until March. Prickly pears are also popular and often sold ready peeled from street stalls.
What to drink: Tunisians are big coffee drinkers, but the most popular Tunisian beverage is mint tea, which is drunk everywhere. Meals are accompanied by tap or mineral water as well as fizzy drinks (known as boissons azouz), from familiar to local brands. Although a Muslim country, Tunisia produces good red and white wines, an interesting liqueur and a home-brewed beer called Celtia. Fresh fruit juice is readily available in season.
Tea: The slow drinking of mint tea is a ritual that is practised several times a day in Tunisia. Granulated black or green mint (honey may be used in place of sugar), until it produces a dark infusion. This is poured, from a pot into small glasses, from a height, so as to create a froth. Fresh mint leaves or pine nuts are sometimes added to this. Tunisian tea is strong and aromatic and is not to everyone’s taste though it is thought by Tunisians to assist the digestion. Tea is not often served with milk, apart from its larger hotels or tourist centres and even these may use UHT in place of fresh milk.
Coffee: Tunisians can spend a long time over a small cup of coffee as they contemplate the world passing by and every small cafe and even the most humble local bars can serve an excellent espresso. It is often served with small shortbread or date biscuits. The coffee is strong, but is not always offered with glasses. Anyone wanting a larger cup of slightly weaker coffee with milk can order a cafe direct (similar to cappuccino) or a cafe au lait (a filter coffee with milk). Other popular types include coffee with condensed milk (Capucin nouveau), not to be confused with cappuccino and Turkish Coffee (qahwa arbi). This strong, sweet brew is made by boiling the coffee and is served with the fine grounds still in it.
Mineral Water: Unlike many African countries, tap water is clean in Tunisia and can be safely drunk anywhere in larger towns. Its taste, however, leaves a lot to be desired and many people prefer to drink bottled water which is cheap and readily available. The most popular mineral water- Safia- is produced in plain and sparkling versions (the latter is usually sold in glass bottles). They both taste good and should be considered indispensible when travelling around the country. In summer, a bottle of mineral water should always be taken on sightseeing tours of archaeological sites and open air museums to avoid the risk of dehydration.
Beer: Tunisia has only one brand of home-brewed beer – Celtia – which is produced on licence from Stella Artois and Lowenbrau. It is slightly less potent than European beers, but it tastes good nevertheless. In shops, Celtia is sold only in red and white cans. However, not all shops sell beer. Some restaurants serve beer in bottles but prices tend to be higher than restaurants that do not serve alcohol. The more expensive restaurants and hotels offer foreign beers to their guests, but even here the choice is limited. The most easily available are the popular brands of German, Danish and Dutch beer.
Wine: Tunisia has been producing wine for 2,000 years. New varieties of grape were introduced in the 1990s and in 2002 a new range of pricey wines was launched, including the Chateau Saint Augustin. Wine is produced in several regions. These include Cap Bon in the north, especially around Grombalia and Mornag, and in the vicinity of Jendouba in the west. The range of red wines is the safest choice and includes Chateau Feriani, Coteaux d’Utique and Lambolt. Noteworthy among the rose varieties are Tyna and Koudiat. The white Coteaux de Carthage is also very good.
Vodkas and Liqueurs: The only strong alcoholic beverage produced in Tunisia is boukha- a clear spirit made from figs. It contains 40 per cent alcohol and resembles a dry fruit-flavoured vodka. It is often served with fizzy cola. Laghmi is a palm wine that is fermented for 24 hours. It is not sold in shops, but it can be obtained from one of the oases during the palm season. Another alternative is Thibarine, a liqueur derived from dates and herbs that is produced in the village of Thibar (near Dougga) according to a secret recipe handed down by French monks. Cedratine, a liqueur made from lemons, is also popular.
Local Beverages: The Tunisians produce their own kinds of fizzy drink which is sold alongside brand names such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The most popular of these is Boga, which comes in two varieties. The dark one is a cola-type drink; the orange one is more like orangeade. Also popular are syrups that must be diluted with water. Flavours include pomegranate and rose essence. Fresh fruit juices are available in some cafes and in the resorts.