The countries of Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia are all extremely diverse, having been greatly influenced through the years by many different immigrants, travellers and traders. Certain influences can even be traced back over two thousand years. The region’s cuisine certainly is one of the main attractions for visitors, and only the authentic will do. This is truly one of the world’s most interesting culinary destinations, and if you want to find out more, then read on.
Couscous is the staple of much of the region’s food, and you’ll find that it can accompany just about anything, in a similar way you’d see rice served in eastern countries. It’s often mixed with vegetables, and can be prepared in many different ways, which is great news for vegetarians. You’ll be eating a lot of it if you decide to visit the region.
Meats are also very popular, with lamb, beef and goat being the traditional dishes. As the majority of the North African population is Muslim, most meat is halal, meaning the animal has been slaughtered according to Sharia law. If you’re visiting, it’s a great chance to try meats such as goat that aren’t particularly common in western countries. If you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll also find that they serve parts of animals that are very rarely eaten outside North Africa.
Just about all savoury dishes are spiced, with things like cumin, ginger and paprika. Flavours are powerful here, which is great news if it’s your kind of thing. Markets sell a huge range of herbs and spices for those who want to try their hand at making authentic cuisine themselves. Encounters Travel offer several tours that will help you find the very best markets.
The Tajine is one of the most interesting parts of the regional cuisine. It is both a particular kind of cooking pot, and a dish in itself. Even more interestingly, the word can refer to several different dishes, depending on what country you’re in. The idea behind the traditional cooking vessel is that cooks can heat food at a medium temperature for long periods of time, while the cone shaped lid ensures that condensation and therefore moisture.
North Africa truly is a melting pot of cultures; if you want to try food that’s far from the mundane, then it should be high up on your list of destinations.