Tunisia: Food Guide - Dining Out

Tunisia Food Guide - Dining Out

Tunisia is a melting pot of culinary influences and dining out in Tunisia offers many tastes and options. Bread is present at almost every meal, whether French stick or traditional unleavened tabouna. Couscous is perhaps the Tunisian speciality and the staple of the original Berber people. The long coast means fresh seafood plays a major role in Tunisian cuisine, but fish is not necessarily cheap. Spicy tagine stews with harissa and couscous are another favourite. Camel meat is commonly eaten and there is a buoyant trade in camels for meat.

In cities and larger towns, the French legacy is ever present, whether in styles of cooking or specific dishes. The Turkish and French legacy has also left a taste for sweet and often exotic pastries. Tunisia is particularly famed for its prized dates, but figs and citrus fruit are extensively grown and used.

Snacks such as a good kebab and soft drink can be found around medinas from as little as 2TD and budget café or restaurant food for as little as 5TD (plus drinks). A budget of 10-20TD per head should deliver a decent lunch or dinner with 30-50TD getting the high end of Tunisian cuisine.

Wine is widely available, despite being a Muslim country and Tunisia has a long history of producing wine. Imported spirits can be expensive and are a useful trade and barter item.
Tea and coffee are the staple local beverages and much time can be spent preparing and drinking them.

Food hygiene is generally good and common digestive problems suffered by visitors to Tunisia are not usually food poisoning but simple lack of immunity to indigenous daily germs. For increased safety, do not drink tap or still water and avoid ice in drinks, and avoid raw unpeeled fruit, vegetables and salads - and try to avoid giving offence in the process.

Some visitors still prefer to confine dining to their hotel but hotel food in Tunisia will often be heavily oriented towards familiarity for guests rather than true Tunisian cuisine.