Nothing says “Welcome to Tunisia” like a traditional Tunisian feast!
Tonight marks the first night of our 6 day Tunisian adventure. We spent our night at Dar El Jeld, a restaurant located in a traditional medina-style house in the heart of the medina in Tunis. This was truly one of the most beautiful restaurants I have even eaten in. Upon entering, we were greeted with the smell of jasmine and divinely tiled walls. We made our way through the main room and into a private room for our dinner.
The first course took the form of a number of dishes. The first thing to arrive was the freshly baked bread and local olive oil. Professor Jedidi shared that Tunisia is currently in olive oil production season so the oil at the table would be especially fresh. It was a truly exceptional first bite in Tunsia! The bread was followed with a shrimp and octopus salad, a chopped lettuce salad, a pepper dish topped with chunks of tuna, and, the table favorite, harissa. Having tried numerous takes on harissa throughout my life, I can confidently say nothing could quite compare to the harissa at Dar El Jeld. Throughout the course, Tunsian ‘dumplings’, or briks à la viande, stuffed with various meats were brought to the table.
After a much needed break to digest the delicious food that had been coming our way for what seemed like hours, we were each handed a plate of couscous topped with either lamb or vegetables, depending on dietary restrictions. Each bite brought rich new tastes unlike any food I had ever had.
Last, but certainly not least, came an array of desserts and fruit. The desserts consisted of small bites that contained various configurations of marzipan, dates, nuts, and rose. Each bite was more delectable than the last, but my two favorites were the pistachio-based and rose-based desserts.
If tonight’s delicious food and fabulous cultural experience is any indication of what lies ahead this week, I can truly say that I cannot wait to spend time with this group!
— Nimra Khan ’20