Tunisia Food and Drink
Tunisian food combines Arabic, Berber, European and Middle Eastern elements. Dishes are cooked with olive oil, spiced with aniseed, coriander, cumin, caraway, cinnamon or saffron and flavoured with mint, orange blossom or rose water; many are accompanied by harissa, a spicy chilli and garlic condiment.
On the coast you'll find fresh seafood, while in the southern Sahara region menus often feature Berber specialties, most notably rustic, wholesome stews. Roast chicken and baked lamb dishes are popular throughout the country, as are dishes featuring couscous. Salads form an integral part of the diet all year-round, are simple and lightly dressed.
If you've a sweet tooth, you won't be disappointed in Tunisia. There is a dizzying array of Middle Eastern-style sweets and cakes to choose from, often containing plenty of nuts and drenched in honey or syrup. There are also delicious pastries left over from the years of French rule, so expect plenty of melt-in-the-mouth croissants and pains au chocolat.
Couscous: Ground semolina served with meat, fish or vegetable sauce.
Harissa: A hot paste derived from chillies, tomatoes, spices and olive oil.
Salade mechouia: Roasted vegetable salad, particularly peppers, sometimes topped with boiled eggs slices.
Tajine: A kind of spiced quiche, served cold, not to be confused with the Moroccan dish of the same name.
Brik: The Tunisian version of Turkish borek, a deep-fried filled pastry. Common ingredients include tuna, egg, onions, capers and parsley.
Merguez: A heavily spiced beef sausage.
Filfilmahshi: Peppers stuffed with beef and harissa.
Lablabi: Chickpea soup with lashings of garlic and cumin.
Marqa: A slow-cooked stew of meat and vegetables, particularly tomatoes and olives.
Ojja: Tunisian scrambled eggs, usually spiced with harissa, as well as tomatoes, peppers and sometimes meat.
Not a requirement, but waiters and taxi drivers are usually tipped a few coins; waiters in tourist restaurants are accustomed to 10%.