Ramadan nights in Tunisia are ‘sweeter’ than imaginable

Ramadan is a celebratory season. It’s a month of fasting, but there’s also an emphasis on charitable acts, family, friends, food and fun post-sunset. Any traveller who has been to Tunisia during Ramadan will vouch for that.

In today’s edition of the ‘Ramadan around the world’ series, we are exploring the fun side of Tunisia during the holy month when taking part in an iftar is a great way to enjoy the festivities and engage in the country’s culture.

Elyès Abdeljawed, a Tunisian resident of Oman, said Rumthan – the Tunisian way of pronouncing Ramadan – like in any other country, differs in some aspects from city to the countryside.

“If in Tunisia during Rumthan, be ready for a wide variety of irresistible sweets served when families gather, especially to watch Tunisian soap operas,” Abdeljawed said.

In general, iftar in almost every household in Tunisia includes lben (laban), deglet el nour (Tunisian dates), chorba frik (also called chorba ch’ir – a hard wheat soup) and brik (Tunisian version of börek, mostly triangular, stuffed with tuna/seafood or meat mixed with cheese, eggs and parsley).

“Some families substitute brik with tajine, which is a kind of quiche, not to be confused with the Moroccan tajine. Our salads are of very different forms and taste – green salad, grilled salad, Omek Houria, which is a carrot-based salad, steamed salad, rice salad and more,” Abdeljawed added.

For Tunisians, another essential for iftar is French bread – or Tabouna bread – made at home. “Mothers, helped by mostly their daughters, tend to start preparing for iftar two or three hours before Maghrib prayers.”

Following iftar, most men go out for a cup of Qahwa Arbi (Turkish-style coffee) or mint tea served at cafés across the country. “For dinner, which most Tunisian men prefer to have even after iftar, we have pasta, couscous, marqet loubya (beans), marqet jelbena (peas), mosli (oven-baked chicken, meat or fish with vegetables in a sauce) and…

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