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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Tunisia Social Profile
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Food & Drink

The Tunisian food is generally well prepared and appetizing. Tunisian dishes are cooked with olive oil, spiced with aniseed, coriander, caraway, cumin, cinnamon or saffron and flavoured with orange blossom, mint or rose water.

Restaurants catering for tourists tend to serve rather ordinary dishes and 'international' cuisine, and visitors are recommended to try smaller restaurants. Prices can vary and higher prices do not essentially mean better meals. Tunis and the main cities also have Italian, French and international restaurants. Self-service can occasionally be found however table service is much more common. Moorish cafes, with their traditional decor, serve very good Turkish coffee.

Although Tunisia is an Islamic country, alcohol is not forbidden. Tunisia produces an excellent range of table wines, sparkling wines, beers, aperitifs and local liqueurs.

Tunisian specialities:

• Dorado (bream)
• Couscous
• Tajine (a fish dish)
• Brik or brik à l'oeuf (egg and a tasty filling fried in an envelope of pastry).

National tunisian drinks:

• Mint tea with pine nuts.
• Boukha (wine, from figs)
• Thibarine (wine)

Tipping

10% for all services.

Nightlife

The theatre season in Tunisia lasts from October to June when local and foreign (mainly French) companies put on concerts and productions. International groups appear at the Tunis Theatre and in the towns of Sousse and Hammamet. There are many cinemas in the bigger cities.

There are nightclubs in the major tourist resorts, the beach hotels, and in the big city hotels. Belly dancing is a widespread cabaret feature and lively local bands often play good traditional music.

Casinos are also available in Hammamet, Tunis, Yasmine, Sousse and Djerba.

Shopping

Special purchases include copperware, articles sculpted in olive wood; leather goods, clothing - including kaftans, jelabas, burnuses, pottery and ceramics, dolls in traditional dress, beautiful embroidery, fine silverware and enamelled jewellery.

Carpets
are the most valuable of Tunisia's products. The 2 major types are woven and knotted (pile). The quality of all carpets is firmly controlled by the National Handicrafts Office, so be sure to check the ONA seal before buying any carpets.

Shopping hours:

Monday to Saturday from 7.30 am to 1.30 pm and 3.00 pm to 7.00 pm (in the summer).

Monday to Saturday 9.00 am to 12.00 pm and 3.00 pm to 7.00 pm (in the winter).

Weekly markets

A source of good purchases are the markets which are set up on particular days in the Tunisian towns and villages. The products of the region are displayed and include handicrafts, farm produce and 2nd-hand goods.

There are ONA workshops throughout Tunisia where visitors can buy items at fixed prices. ONA stores make a reduction of 10% on the price of goods purchased in foreign currency. No duty is payable on articles up to £900 in value which are shipped to European Union countries, only if supplemented by an EUR1 form. Visitors who make a purchase of more than TD5, anywhere in Tunisia, should ask for a sales slip and keep all the sales slips, along with bank receipts for any currency exchanged, for any customs inspections.