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Vegetarian travels through Tunisia

Updated on December 5, 2009

Vegetarian in Tunisia can be made easy

Oases in Tunisia
Oases in Tunisia

My Tunisia Recommendations

The Rough Guide to Tunisia 8 (Rough Guide Travel Guides)
The Rough Guide to Tunisia 8 (Rough Guide Travel Guides)

The Rough Guide is great to direct you to secret gems, help keep you on budget, and get you to those off the beaten path wonders.


Vegetarian travels through Tunisia

Travelling while being a vegetarian isn't always easy, especially in countries of other cultures and languages. Some cultures don't understand the term 'vegetarian', and will often offer chicken or fish instead of red meat.

Prior to my trip to Tunisia, I was anxious about how easily I would find being a vegetarian while there - I wasn't sure what my meals would consist of. In the comfort of the buffet-dinner resort hotel, being a vegetarian was easy. These resorts are designed for travellers who are fussy eaters and offer everything from pizza to pasta, crepes, and many salad and cooked vegetable options.

There were absolutely no problems being vegetarian and finding enough to eat while at the resorts. On a day out in Tunis, we stopped for lunch along the street in a small take-away food shop serving chapattis. Here they offered an omelette & cheese chapatti, and for only 1.10TD - a great deal, and very tasty!

After 3 days of buffet breakfasts and dinnners at our hotel, we took a small independent tour with only 3 other people plus a driver and a guide. This was where there could be a challenge in being vegetarian. However, somehow I managed without problems. We were taken to restaurants which catered to tourists, however at the same time served more authentic cuisine - most often couscous was on the menu.

Markets in Tunisia

Spice market in Tunisia - hot chillies and dried anchovies
Spice market in Tunisia - hot chillies and dried anchovies

Couscous is a typical Tunisian food

A typical Tunisian menu that seems to be served to tourists is a couscous soup, couscous in a spicy tomato broth. Followed by couscous with roasted meat and vegetables. Followed with a Brik - pastry with vegetables, egg, or meat diced up inside. The desert tends to be seasonal fruit.

I managed through all these meals and felt some success. However - I chose not to be strict with my vegetarian diet at this point. I didn't ask what type of broth was used with the soup, nor if a broth was used for the couscous. There was roasted chicken laid upon the mountain of couscous, but I scooped couscous out of an area which didn't have any meat laying on it.

Is this considered successfully following my vegetarian diet? Is it possible to travel to new places and maintain such a diet without being offensive? It is a personal decision and likely not easy for those, like myself, who tend to be strict vegetarians at home, and have to relax the rules a bit while travelling.


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      Port El Kantaoui 6 years ago

      Enjoyed the article.

      Surprising, in a way, for a Muslim country to be difficult to find vegetarian food in. I went to Tunisia myself a while, back, but as a pescaterian, not a vegetarian! Obviously, given the plethora of fine foods, that was not a problem. But on the one or two days where i did want to eat just veg food, it was troublesome. I was in Port El Kantaoui, with all manner of fresh fish at its marina, and could only find salads as my base.

      But even the most famous salad, the Radhka, still has tuna in it!

    • bridgetriley profile image

      bridgetriley 7 years ago from San Francisco

      Such a smart idea for discussion! I experienced the same things in Portugal. When I was in the very cosmopolitan Lisbon, it was no problem. But once I travelled to the smaller towns, my options were paltry. I learned to really make the most of breakfast and lunch, and face facts that dinner was going to be difficult to impossible. Never really felt that I was missing out because I still feasted on all the marvelous pastries and fruits and wines. Thanks for the tips for Tunisia!

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      Michael Hayes 7 years ago

      Thank You for your article.

      I am in Tunis, Tunisia right now and yes I am a Vegetarian for 25 years. I have travel to over 45 countries and I am finding Tunisia to be a challenge.

      I am at odds with your article. When I travel I don't look to stay in the cocoon of a resort. Resort are fine but most travelers like my self take to the streets to eat.

      Tunisia is not Vegetarian friendly. I am enjoying my visit and I am eating a lot of bread and fruits and nuts.

      But as for Veggie restaurants I have not found one.

      I have made it clear in French that I am Vegetarian and then they suggest the Chicken. In truth it is all a part of the Adventure of Travel.