Tunisian food and drink combines Mediterranean, Berber, Arab, Turkish, and Italian influences for a spicy and interesting fusion of flavours. It’s usually inexpensive and always tasty, with a strong focus on fresh, locally produced ingredients.
Food in Tunisia can be characterised by olive oil, spices, tomatoes, seafood and meat, which is usually lamb. You can also pick up plenty of fresh fruit at the markets. Dishes tend to me much spicier than in other parts of North Africa, and that’s because harissa is a popular ingredient here. This hot red pepper sauce is (made with red chilli peppers and garlic) often served as a starter with olive oil, olives and fresh bread, and it’s not for the faint hearted!
Other popular favourites include couscous (Tunisia’s most famous dish), tajine (a rich, slow-cooked stew made in a special tajine pot) and lablabi (a typical Tunisian broth). Seafood is a firm favourite in coastal towns, where you’ll find dishes like grilled fish and stuffed cuttlefish on the menu.
Got a sweet tooth? Then you’ll love the French and Turkish-inspired treats like gateaux and croissants, plus loukoum, known to us as Turkish delight and baklava (honey-soaked pastry with nuts and almonds).
Tunisians love their coffee, and a decent espresso isn’t hard to come by. It’s sometimes served with a shortbread or date biscuit on the side. If you’d prefer something weaker, choose a café au lait or a sweet capucin nouveau (made with condensed milk.
But the most popular Tunisian beverage is mint tea, and locals tend to drink it many times a day. Granulated black or green mint is used to create a dark infusion, which is poured from a steaming pot into small glasses. It’s strong and aromatic, and you can use honey to sweeten it if it’s too strong for you.