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Tunisian Couscous

Tunisian Cuisine: A Foodie’s Guide

In this article, we’ll explore the diverse and flavourful cuisine of Tunisia, a North African country with a rich culinary history. From traditional dishes to modern interpretations, we’ll take you on a journey through Tunisia’s food scene, highlighting the unique ingredients, spices, and cooking techniques that make Tunisian cuisine so special.

Table of Content

I. A Brief Overview of Tunisia’s Cuisine

II. What Makes Tunisian Cuisine Unique

III. Traditional Tunisian Dishes

IV. Tunisian Street Food

V. Experience Tunisian Cuisine

A Brief Overview of Tunisia’s Cuisine

Tunisia’s cuisine is a reflection of its diverse history and cultural influences. Located in North Africa, Tunisia has been shaped by a variety of civilizations, including the Berbers, Arabs, Ottoman Turks, and French. This rich history has resulted in a cuisine that is both flavorful and complex.

What Makes Tunisian Cuisine Unique

One of the defining characteristics of Tunisian cuisine is its use of spices and herbs. Harissa, a fiery chili paste made from red peppers, garlic, and spices, is a staple ingredient in many Tunisian dishes.

Tunisian harissa was officially inscribed on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.

Other common spices used in Tunisian cooking include cumin, coriander, and saffron.

Tunisian Harissa
Tunisian Harissa

Another unique aspect of Tunisian cuisine is its emphasis on seafood. With its long coastline along the Mediterranean Sea, Tunisia has access to a wide variety of fresh fish and seafood, which is often incorporated into dishes like tajine and couscous.

grilled seafood at Djerba fish market
Grilled Seafood Platter at Djerba fish market
mary and melissa - tunisia morocco nov 2022 - seafood lunch in hammamet
Seafood Meal in Hammamet

Traditional Tunisian Dishes

Tunisian cuisine is a fusion of different culinary traditions and flavors, resulting in a unique and delicious cuisine that is worth exploring. Here we will highlight some of the most common traditional Tunisian dishes:

Couscous

Tunisian Couscous
Couscous is known as Tunisia’s national dish, and is made of small, steamed balls of crushed durum wheat semolina that could vary in fine, medium, or large sizes. It is traditionally served with a stew made with vegetables and a protein (either chicken, lamb, fish, octopus, or lamb). Tunisian couscous is one of the most important authentic Tunisian foods that locals eat multiple times a week. Be sure to try this famous and delicious national dish on your tour!

Ojja

Tunisian Ojja
Similar to shakshuka, the Tunisian Ojja is a blend of olive oil, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, harissa, and egg. It is served in various vegetarian or meat variations which include lamb, beef, or seafood. A popular meat variation is Ojja with merguez which is a spicy fresh sausage prepared with lamb, beef, or a mixture of both. Ojja is typically served with bread used to dip into this stew. Tunisians typically enjoy a spicy ojja with a nice kick to spice things up, but many restaurants can also serve it mild. Be sure to let the server know when ordering at a restaurant.

Brik

tunisian brik
The Tunisian Brik is a fried pastry stuffed with egg and parsley. This is a classic you’ll find in many Tunisian restaurants. It is a thin sheet of pastry called malsouka that is typically filled with an egg, potatoes, and parsley. Some restaurants serve brik with tuna, chicken, or seafood fillings. Harissa can also be added for that extra kick. The brik is then folded and deep-fried into a delicious pastry.

Lablabi

Lablabi
This chickpea soup is available only during the Tunisian winter. Crumble hardened bread into small pieces in a bowl. Chickpea soup is then scooped into the bowl and then flavoured with garlic, cumin, olive oil, salt, and parsley. There are options to garnish it with an egg, tuna, or even cow tendons. Tunisians enjoy lablabi with lots of harissa, so be sure to let the server know your tolerance level for spice. Eating lablabi is a great way to warm up during the winter.

Tunisian Street Food

The Tunisian street food industry is not dominated by major fast-food franchises. Rather, you will find many independent street-side restaurants and vendors scattered throughout Tunisia. Over the years, Tunisia has developed its own version of fast food with Tunisian pizzas and sandwiches. 

While visiting Tunisia, be sure to sample some of these popular fast-food items.

Pizza

Tunisian Pizza

Makloub

makloub

Tabouna

tabouna

Libanais

libanais

Experience Tunisian Cuisine

Tunisian cuisine is often enjoyed as part of a communal meal with family and friends, thus creating a sense of warmth and hospitality that is characteristic of Tunisian culture. Exploring Tunisian cuisine offers a unique and delicious culinary experience that is sure to delight any food lover.

One of the best ways to experience Tunisian cuisine is of course to visit the beautiful country of Tunisia! At Mosaic North Africa, we provided private tours to hundreds of travelers and they have great things to say about the food in Tunisia. Start planning your Tunisia holiday today by browsing through our popular Tunisia tours or contact our Tunisia Travel Experts today for assistance.

ivanl@starwars.tours

Ivan works in the marketing department for Mosaic North Africa. He now lives in Tunisia with his wife and three children. Previous to this gig, he taught band & orchestra in a California public school.

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