Tunisian Sandwiches (Kaskruit): The Fast Food Culture in Tunisia
Tunisia has developed its own version of fast food with Tunisian sandwiches over the years. When you visit Tunisia, you will notice the fast food industry is not dominated by major fast food franchises, but rather there are little street side restaurants scattered throughout the country.
A Brief History of Tunisian Fast Food and Tunisian Sandwiches
Traditionally even the way of “renting” land was paid back to the government in allotments of 100kg of wheat. Every year the government discusses the equivalent value of 100kg of wheat for those who pay in cash.
At the center of the Tunisian fast food culture is the enjoyment of bread, which comes in all forms of shapes and sizes. Bread has existed in Tunisia since over thousands of years ago and has a rich history and local bread culture. and Tunisians have since developed it into many varieties of bread since ancient times. Although bread is a staple food item in Tunisia, there are also plate options for those who are gluten free or do not enjoy bread.
Sampling Tunisian Sandwiches in Tunisia
A visit to Tunisia is truly authentic when you sample some of the popular Tunisian sandwiches. If you visit Tunisia on a private tour with Tunisia Tours, all of our tours are half board (including breakfast and dinner) which gives you the opportunity to experience Tunisian local Cuisine during your lunches and any dinners not included in your hotel stay. You can mix and match ingredients if you enjoy your food mild or with some fire in it, with or without olives, etc. Typically, a lunch will cost around $2 to $10 per person.
However, with so many varieties of Tunisian sandwiches to choose from, it can be a daunting task to navigate through their fast food culture. Here is our comprehensive list of Tunisian sandwiches to help you experience the popular fast food in the country:
Note: Some of these sandwiches may appear to be the same thing for those who may be unused to the Tunisian refined taste. Each of these sandwiches are unique and we encourage you to spend time sampling different Kaskruit (Tunisian sandwiches) until you can refine your taste buds and tell the difference from each of these.
List of Tunisian Sandwiches in Tunisia
Bread consists of a fairly dense though slightly risen disc about 6 inches in diameter. Filled with an omelet (egg, maidnous, basil (onion)) it will include harissa, pepper, cumin, and cheese as well as Tuna fish (tun).
Kaftheji is a baguette filled with sauce, harissa, salata meshoui, eggs cooked in hot oil (deep fried) but still a little soft, French fries, and tuna. You can also get the kaftheji fillings on a plate without the bread which is also a popular fast food option among Tunisians.
Mlawi or Malfouf
Bread is a flat unrisen bread with oil and it is pan fried. Filled with harissa, salata meshoui, mayonnaise, cheese, and meat of your choice (salami, schwarma, turkey breast(escalope), or tuna).
Bread is a pizza dough which will rise slightly. Filled with harissa, salata meshoui, mayonnaise, cheese. These are put in a pizza oven open faced till hot, then removed and add salata, onions, meat of your choice (salami, schwarma, turkey breast(escalope), or tuna).. then the whole thing is folded in half and served.
Bread is a pizza dough which will rise slightly. Filled with harissa, salata meshoui, mayonnaise, cheese. You then add the meat of choice (salami, schwarma, turkey breast(escalope), or tuna) and vegtables (salata) if desired. This is folded and sealed before putting it in the pizza oven to heat this is the main difference between this and the Makloub. Sometimes it is painted with egg or oil to make the top turn golden.
Bread is a pizza dough which will rise slightly. Filled with harissa, salata meshoui, mayonnaise, cheese. You then add the meat of choice (salami, schwarma, turkey breast(escalope), or tuna) and vegtables (salata) if desired. This is folded and sealed before putting it in the pizza oven to heat. Sometimes it is painted with egg or oil to make the top turn golden. The main difference between this and the Chemy is the size which is slightly bigger to make it look like a baggette.
Matubga (also known as Berber Pizza)
The bread is 2 thin and small 7-8 inch diameter circles without oil and yeast. Filled with a paste consisting of onions, tomato, spices, dried red pepper. This is painted on one side and sealed around the edges and cooked in an oven.
Lablebi (pronounced le-ble-bi)
Bread is a baggette. Filled with harissa, salata meshoui, chick peas boiled with a little sauce. Meat is either tuna or sardines. Specialty of Bizerte.
Bread is a large flat unleavened round piece 12-15 inches in diameter without any oil. Filled with harissa, salata meshoui, mayonnaise, cheese, and meat of your choice (salami, schwarma, turkey breast(escalope), or tuna). The main differences between this and the Mlawi is that the bread does not have any oil and is slightly bigger allowing more fold. The final product is also put in an oven to heat it up.
Frikase (pronounced as fri-ka-se)
Bread is leavened and deep fried. Filled with harissa, potato, maidnous, olive, meat is tuna or salami.
This actually refers to the meat which is generally turkey and spices put on a spit and slow cooked. Can refer to a sandwich of any type with the main ingredient is shwarma.
Example: I would like a Shwarma libonaise, or a Makloub Shwarma.
This is only available early in the morning. The bread is a very light but deep fried in a circle or donut shape about 8 inches in diameter. It will sometimes be served with meat or egg inside.
The Bambaloni is similar to a Fatayer, but it is covered in sugar and served as a sweet fried doughnut.
The bread is a regular bagette. Filled with harissa, salata meshoui, salata, frites. The meat can be shwarma, salami, tuna, escalope.
The bread is leavened and a circular shape about 5 or 6 inches in diameter. It is typically cooked in an oven called a tabouna. Filled with harissa, salata meshoui, salata, frites. Meat can be shwarma, salami, tuna, escalope.
The Tunisian Brik is made of a paper thin sheet of non-rising disc around 15 inches in diameter. Filled with an egg, tuna fish, maidnous, harissa and spices. This is deep fried in oil until the egg is cooked but still soft. Some prefer their egg still runny. Brik is often served with a lemon.
Bread is a regular baggette filled with soft boiled egg, cheese, and harissa.
Definitions of Tunisian Ingredients:
Salata Meshoui: a mixture of grilled onion, hot pepper, sweet pepper, and spices which are then cut and ground up to make a salad / sauce.
Harissa: A paste made from Tunisian dried hot red peppers crushed or grounded and mixed with tomato sauce and spices. Every kaskruit includes harissa. If you want something not as hot, then it is important to say “Mush har (not hot)” and then reemphasize “blesh harissa (without harissa)”. This may confuse some as restaurants are so used to everyone wanting lots of harissa.
Salata: various types of fresh vegetables added to a sandwich