You never visit a country without eating its streetfood. No matter what diet you’re on, savoring what locals usually eat when they cannot go back home is an incredible experience for your taste buds. 

 

When it comes to experiencing the vibrant and diverse tapestry of Tunisia's culinary landscape, there's no better way than to delve into the world of local street food. As you meander through the bustling markets, winding alleyways, and lively squares of this North African gem, you'll find a treasure trove of street food options that are lovingly crafted by locals. These are not just meals; they are a glimpse into the heart and soul of Tunisia itself.

 

WildyNess team compiled a list of the must-try street foods in Tunisia, so every visitor doesn’t miss the opportunity to explore the local culture through its unique flavors, stories, and traditions. So, grab your appetite and prepare to savor the culinary heritage of Tunisia, one delicious bite at a time.

 

Lablebi 

 

Lablabi, also spelled as "Lablebi" or "Leblebi," is a popular street food dish in Tunisia. It's a hearty and flavorful stew made primarily from chickpeas and seasoned with various spices. 

 

Primarily made with chickpeas, spices, stale bread, olive oil, boiled eggs, and garlic, you can add some toppings according to your personal preferences. You can customize it with various toppings, such as olives, capers, tuna or hard-boiled eggs. 

 

Lablebi street food

 

If you’re vegan, don’t worry! The egg is optional, and you can ask for it not to be included in your bowl. 

 

Rich in spices, you will enjoy a blend of cumin, coriander, paprika, fresh garlic cloves and of course harissa, the Tunisian spicy chili paste.

 

As a first timer, Lablebi offers a whole culinary experience as it’s a dish that involve you in the process. When you step to the Lablebi store, you will be handed a bowl and pieces of stale bread. You will then tear the bread into small pieces in the bowl and handed it back to the guy. This is when the other ingredients will be added. 

 

Always served hot, lablebi brings comfort to Tunisians during the cooler months. As delicious as filling, you can enjoy it as a breakfast, brunch dish or lunch. 

 

Don’t eat it late in the night, as you need a few hours to process it. 

 

 

Kafteji 

 

A delicious vegetarian street food in Tunisia, Kafteji consists of deep-fried vegetables, like tomatoes, pumpkin, potatoes and bell peppers, seasoned with spices such as cumin, coriander, and chili peppers. 

Garlic is often sautéed in olive oil and added for extra flavor. 

 

Kafteji food tunisia

 

Some variations offer the choice to include liver or chicken (escalope) alongside the dish for those who prefer a non-vegetarian option, making it a versatile and flavorful street food enjoyed throughout Tunisia.

 

Served with parsley and onion finely chopped in top, it’s time to dip the bread in it and enjoy the mix of flavors. 

 

The option to include liver or escalope provides versatility for those who desire a meat accompaniment. Being one of the most popular and flavorful dishes among street food in Tunisia, kafteji can be eaten hot or cold and also can be served on its own or as part of a sandwich, often a baguette type bread. 

 

 

S’han Tounsi 

 

A perfect Mediterranean dish, S'han Tounsi is known for its vibrant flavors and colorful presentation. It is a salad-based dish that combines a variety of fresh ingredients and the most popular salads in Tunisia.  

 

tunisian plate

 

The base of S'han Tounsi consists of a traditional Tunisian salad made from a medley of cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions, offering a refreshing and crisp foundation. It also incorporates Méchouia salad, which brings a smoky and roasted character to the mix. Diced potatoes add a satisfying and starchy element to the dish, providing a contrast to the vibrant vegetables.

 

To elevate the dish further, a mixture of fried potatoes, tuna and poached egg is added next to the salad trio. It’s a refreshing street food dish that can be enjoyed as a lunch or dinner. 

 

 

Ojja 

 

Another popular street food perfect for vegetarians, Ojja is a popular Tunisian street food featuring spicy tomato sauce and eggs as its core components. Known as shakshuka in certain regions globally, Tunisian ojja is a dish where eggs are prepared within a zesty tomato stew, and enjoyed alongside a baguette. 

 

Ojja tunisian street food

 

This stew typically incorporates peppers and onions, infused with the distinctive Tunisian blend of cumin, coriander, and caraway spices. For a varied taste, you have the option to include various meats, such as the traditional merguez sausage seasoned with harissa or a medley of seafood known as “fruits de mer”.  For those who like chicken, you can also spoil your taste buds with ojja escalope. 

 

 

Providing a satisfying and spicy culinary experience, it's also known for its therapeutic benefits for colds or sinus infections.

 

As it can be really spicy for those who are not familiar with spiciness, we highly recommend articulating your preference to have it not spicy before ordering. 

 

Hot and spicy, Ojja can stimulate your tears and make your face really reddish. 

 

 

Bambalouni 

 

 

It consists of, similar in concept to donuts, but with its own unique twist. Here's a description of Bambalouni:

 

Usually referred to as the Tunisian donut, Bambalouni is a delightful Tunisian street food and snack that holds a special place in Tunisian cuisine. In practice, bambalouni is a deep-fried dough with a light and airy texture.

 

bambalouni tunisian food

 

With a golden brown color and crispy texture, Bambalouni can be enjoyed in various ways. Some people prefer it sweet and dust it with powdered sugar or dip it in chocolate.  Others may enjoy it with no topping at all. 

 

It’s very satisfying after a tour in Sidi Bousaid. If you’re visiting the blue and white town, we highly recommend try it there to enjoy a whole culinary and cultural experience. 

 

 

Fricasée 

 

Another popular and beloved street food in Tunisia, known for its delightful combination of textures and flavors. 

 

It's essentially a mini sandwich, but it's far from ordinary. Made out of a special dough that will be soft on the inside and crispy on the outside once deep fried, it comes in an oval shape that hollowed out to create a pocket for the fillings. 

 

fricassé tunisian sandwich

 

Fillings include a mixture of tuna, olives, smashed potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and harissa (spicy chili paste). As versatile as it can be, you can add and remove any ingredients you want, depending on personal preferences.

 

Fricassé is typically served hot and fresh, straight from the fryer. It's often wrapped in paper to make it easy to handle and enjoy on the go. 

 

Fricassé is a popular street food found throughout Tunisia, especially at local stores where you can also find brik. Its combination of crispy bread and a flavorful medley of fillings makes it a satisfying and indulgent treat. 

 

 

Brik

 

Typically made with one sheet of dough that will be fried after being stuffed, so it gets the crispy texture we all fall in love with. 

 

The sheet dough is called “Malsouka”, which is a home-made phyllo pastry. The pastry is filled with a variety of ingredients, with a common filling being one egg, tuna, chopped parsley, potatoes, cheese and some harissa combined with spices including black pepper and salt. Then, the pastry is folded diagonally to create a triangular shape and fried. 

 

brik tunisian food

 

Brik is also known for being a food staple in all Tunisian tables during Ramadan. In restaurants, you can have another variation of briks, served as appetizer and not to be found in brik stores. This variation shaped like a cylinder or roll. It starts with a single sheet of dough, and the filling is placed lengthwise along one edge of the dough. The dough is then rolled up tightly around the filling, creating a cylindrical shape. Cylindrical brik may contain a variety of fillings, including meat, vegetables, and spices.

 

 

Mlewi 

 

As a versatile and quick-to-prepare sandwich, Mlewi can be enjoyed throughout Tunisia. It's a traditional Tunisian flatbread that stands out for its unique dough made from semolina or wheat flour. As blank canvas for flavors, it is very versatile, allowing you to customize it with your choice of herbs, spices, and fillings. Filings may include tuna, eggs, chicken, salads, salami and any available choice you may want. 

 

mlewi tunisian bread

 

It can also be consumed with only salads and harissa to make it vegetarian.  Whether eaten as a light snack or a satisfying meal, Mlewi embodies the simplicity and deliciousness of Tunisian cuisine.

 

What sets Mlewi apart is its appeal to those with a sweet tooth. When you crave something sugary, Mlewi can be transformed into a delectable dessert. It serves as a canvas for sweet indulgences like honey or chocolate spread. Drizzled with golden honey or generously spread with creamy chocolate, Mlewi becomes a treat that satisfies sweet cravings with each bite.

 

 

Malfouf

 

Malfouf, also known as "Malfouf Sandwich," is a popular in Tunisia and can be found in many fastfood restaurants. It's a versatile and satisfying dish that can be customized to suit various preferences. 

 

 

Malfouf sandwiches are typically made using flatbreads or wraps, such as pita bread, lavash, or Arabic bread. These wraps provide a sturdy and convenient vessel for the fillings. It doesn’t taste like Mlewi, as it is thinner and can be wrapped perfectly to form a roll. 

 

The fillings for Malfouf can vary widely, making it a versatile sandwich. Common ingredients include a protein source like grilled chicken, shawarma, cheese or omelette. Additionally, Malfouf often includes fresh vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.

 

A variety of sauces and condiments are used to add flavor and moisture to the sandwich. These may include harissa, salad mechouia, and mayonnaise.  Unlike other middle eastern countries, you cannot find sauces like hummus or yogurt-based dressings as options. 

 

 

Baguette sandwiches 

 

In Tunisia, baguette-based sandwiches are a ubiquitous and cherished street food, celebrated for their delicious fusion of flavors and textures. Locally known as "kaskrout," these sandwiches serve as a delicious canvas for a variety of fillings, offering a delightful culinary experience.

 

sandwich in tunisia

 

One popular rendition is the "Kafteji Sandwich," where the heart of the sandwich is the Kafteji itself—a flavorful combination of deep-fried vegetables seasoned with spices like cumin, coriander, and chili peppers. These crispy vegetables along with fried potatoes are nestled within a fresh baguette, known for its crispy exterior and soft interior. To enhance the taste, a garlicky olive oil sauce is often drizzled over the Kafteji filling, providing both flavor and moisture. Optional ingredients like boiled eggs, olives, or harissa (spicy chili paste) can also be included, adding depth and complexity to this satisfying street food.

 

tunisian sandwiches

 

Tunisian sandwiches are sandwiches that prominently feature a filling that includes a Tunisian salad comprising fresh tomatoes and cucumbers, alongside tuna and the indispensable harissa sauce, which adds a spicy kick to the flavor profile. The combination of these elements within the baguette creates a harmonious blend of textures and tastes that has become a beloved staple of Tunisian street food culture.

 

 

Kaskrout Hlou 

 

 

Kaskrout Hlou is a delightful representation of Tunisian culinary traditions, where the nutty, dense sweetness of Halwa Shamia is complemented by the fruity sweetness of jam and the creaminess of butter. This unique sandwich showcases the rich and diverse flavors found in Tunisian cuisine, making it a memorable and beloved treat for those who have the pleasure of savoring it.

 

 

The foundation of Kaskrout Hlou is a fresh baguette, which provides a crispy exterior and soft interior to hold the delectable fillings. 

 

Halwa Shamia is the star of the sandwich. It's a sweet confectionery made from sesame, contributing a crumbly, dense, and melt-in-your-mouth texture. This traditional treat is known for its rich, nutty, and slightly sweet flavor. 

 

A generous spread of jam, often fruit-based, adds a fruity sweetness to the sandwich. Common jam flavors include strawberry, apricot, or raspberry. Then,  a  layer of creamy butter provides richness and enhances the overall flavor profile of the sandwich.

 

 

Zalabia

 

Zlabya, also known as "Zalabia" or "Jalebi," is a delectable sweet dessert with a history rooted in Persia but celebrated internationally, particularly in the Middle East, India, and Asia. This dessert is a delightful fusion of flavors and textures that captivates the taste buds.

 

zlabya tunisia

 

 

In Tunisia, Zalabia is a food staple usually cherished during Ramadan days. It can be found in fastfood small restaurant that usually sell fricassé, Bambalouni and brik.

 

Zlabya is created from a batter made by combining flour with yogurt or ghee, and often enriched with baking soda or yeast. This batter is then skillfully poured in circular patterns directly into sizzling hot oil. The result is a magical transformation as the batter crisps up, creating intricate, golden-hued, and labyrinthine shapes that are a feast for the eyes.

 

What truly elevates Zlabya to a delightful dessert is the final step. These crispy treats are generously doused in a thick syrup that takes on a range of delightful flavors. The syrup can be infused with the fragrant essence of rosewater, saffron, honey, orange blossom water, or the aromatic allure of cardamom. This infusion infuses the dessert with a sweet, floral, or subtly spiced essence, making each bite a memorable experience.

 

 

Lemon Juice with traditional biscuit

 

 

The Boulou biscuit is a delightful treat, featuring a crispy exterior and a soft, flavorful interior. It's either stuffed or topped with sesame seeds or crushed almonds, adding a delightful crunch. Traditionally enjoyed with a generous cup of lemonade, the biscuit takes you on a nostalgic journey, reminiscent of the carefree days of childhood. The simple pleasure of dipping it into the lemonade brings back fond memories and a sense of timeless delight.

 

After a tour in La Medina or the Downtown of Tunis, it’s very satisfying to have this as a snack. 

 

 

Almond paste or Juice (known as Rouzata or Ch’roubou)

 

 

Rouzata, a Tunisian beverage, is a delightful and unique almond-based drink perfect for quenching your thirst on hot summer days or celebrating special occasions like Tunisian weddings. Crafted from a blend of soaked almonds, water, almond extract, powdered sugar, and a touch of orange blossom water, it offers a distinctive taste profile: sweet, refreshing, milky, and featuring the robust flavor of bitter almonds. 

 

 

While not readily available in every café, you can often find the best Rouzata in traditional Tunisian bakeries that also offer lemonade and traditional biscuits. 

 

 

Half cooked eggs (Mraweb)

 

 

In the bustling streets of Tunisia, the morning air is often filled with the tempting aroma of "Mraweb," a beloved local delicacy of half-cooked eggs. This popular dish is skillfully prepared and sold by street vendors who have perfected the art of achieving just the right balance of silky yolks and gently set whites. These vendors, usually guys with stalls filled with eggs and some bread to make sandwiches, transform simple ingredients into a delightful and satisfying breakfast experience.

 

 For many Tunisians, indulging in Mraweb is not just a meal but a cherished moment of culinary pleasure, a delightful way to start the day with a taste of tradition.

 

Tabouna sandwich

 

 

Tabouna is traditional Tunisian bread characterized by its round, slightly flattened shape and often embellished with sesame seeds. It takes its unique flavor from the meticulous kneading of the dough, a crucial step in its preparation.

 

tabouna sandwich tunisia

 

Some eateries use tabouna as a substitute to the baguette. This way, it can be filled with a wide range of ingredients, allowing for a multitude of delicious combinations. Whether it's a medley of fresh salads, chicken, Kafteji, or the classic choice of tuna, Tabouna serves as a perfect canvas for creating Tunisian sandwiches that reflect the country's diverse culinary offerings. The mix makes the tabouna sandwich a bit different from other street food sandwiches that use baguette. You can feel the crispiness of some parts of the bread and the softness in other parts, which makes it very satisfying. 

 

Slata Mechouia

 

Slata Mechouia, whose name literally translates to "grilled salad," is a quintessential Tunisian dish celebrated for its vibrant flavors and the unique preparation method that sets it apart. 

 

The star ingredients of Slata Mechouia include onions, garlic, tomatoes, and hot peppers, which are traditionally grilled over an open flame. This grilling process imparts a smoky, charred essence to the vegetables, infusing the salad with an unmistakable Tunisian kick.

 

tunisian salad

 

Slata Mechouia serves as a culinary ode to the flavors of Tunisian summers. With each spoonful, you'll experience the satisfying crunch of fresh vegetables alongside the smoky undertones of grilled goodness. It's a delightful and flavorful dish that captures the essence of Tunisian cuisine and the spirit of the season, making it a perfect choice to savor during the warm and sunny days of summer.

 

 

Assida Zgougou

 

Assida Zgougou: In the heart of Tunisian culinary traditions, there's a dessert that holds a special place of honor—Assida Zgougou. This rich cream pudding, made from crushed Aleppo pine nuts and flour, boasts a distinctive flavor and a deep, inviting color. It's a dessert deeply rooted in Tunisian culture, often gracing tables to mark the joyous occasion of Mawlid, the Prophet's birthday celebration. To craft Assida Zgougou, the crushed seeds of Aleppo pine and flour are carefully combined, diluted with water, and meticulously cooked over low heat until they transform into a luscious, velvety cream. 

 

assida zgougou tunisia

 

Adorned with custard, crushed almonds, nuts, and sweet embellishments, the decorated bowls of Assida Zgougou radiate a festive flair, making every bite a delightful and heartwarming celebration of tradition and culture, especially during the Prophet's birthday festivities.

 

 

Assida Bid’a

 

 

Assida Bidha is a delightful and straightforward Tunisian breakfast staple, celebrated for its simplicity and comforting flavors. This traditional dish is created using minimal ingredients and a straightforward cooking process. It primarily consists of two essential components: finely ground semolina or flour and water. These ingredients are combined in a casserole and cooked to perfection, resulting in a smooth and creamy texture.

 

Assida pudding tunisia

 

Once prepared, Assida Bidha is typically served with a drizzle of butter or olive oil, and it's generously sweetened with sugar or honey to create a harmonious blend of flavors that satisfies both the palate and the soul. This is humble, yet heartwarming dish exemplifies the beauty of Tunisian cuisine in its purest form.

 

 

 Couscous

 

In Tunisia, couscous is not just a meal; it's a cornerstone of culinary tradition, and you can savor its diverse and delightful variations in common restaurants across the country. When you order Tunisian couscous in these eateries, you can expect a hearty and flavorful dish that embodies the essence of local cuisine.

 

couscous tunisia

 

At its core, Tunisian couscous consists of fluffy, steamed couscous grains, typically served as the base. What makes it truly unique are the rich and savory accompaniments that complete the dish. Commonly, you'll find tender chunks of meat, often chicken, which have been slow-cooked to perfection, allowing their flavors to meld with aromatic spices.

 

Tunisian couscous is not only a standalone dish but also serves as a versatile side dish, much like rice in other parts of the world. In the corner restaurants and local eateries, you may find it accompanying succulent chicken, adding depth and variety to the meal. This culinary experience is more than just a dining occasion; it's a cultural exploration, an invitation to savor the heart and soul of Tunisia's rich gastronomic heritage, often enjoyed with family and friends in a warm and convivial atmosphere.

 

Oudhenin El Kadhi 

 

Oudhenin el Kadhi, literally translated as "Judge's Ears", is a delightful pastry found in eateries that sell Zalabia and similar types of sweet pastries. 

 

It’s made out of a harmonious blend of basic ingredients such as flour, eggs, oil, orange flower water, sugar, and a pinch of salt. These elements come together to create a supple dough, which is carefully rolled out and cut into thin strips. The magic happens when these strips are gently dipped into hot oil, where they undergo a mesmerizing transformation. Each strip is then deftly rolled around a fork, resulting in a distinctive shape reminiscent of 

 

They are then generously coated in honey or syrup, which infuses them with a luscious sweetness, or sprinkled with a delicate dusting of powdered sugar for an extra layer of decadence. To add a delightful crunch and texture, sesame seeds are sometimes used as a topping.

 

 

Don’t Miss Exploring Tunisia Through its Streetfoods 

 

From the savory delights of Kafteji sandwiches to the sweet indulgences of Zlabya, each bite tells a story of heritage, resilience, and the joy of sharing good food with family and friends. The passionate craftsmanship of Tunisian street food vendors is a testament to their love for their craft and their desire to introduce travelers and locals alike to the tastes and aromas that define Tunisia.

 

Let your senses guide you, and allow the flavors of Tunisia to captivate your palate, creating lasting memories of a journey that celebrated the simple, yet profound, joy of local cuisine. As we say in Tunisia, "Shehya Tayba!" (Bon appetite).