Tag Archives: Algeria

Algeria’s typical dishes

We can not speak of traditional Algerian culture and lifestyle without first making a premise: Algerian cuisine boasts many differences between the coastal areas, therefore you can find the same diversity among the big cities such as the capital Algiers, and all the inland area; in the latter we can taste the real cuisine of Maghreb, without contamination. In coastal cities, however, the French cuisine has influenced a little all the traditional Algerian dishes. Not to mention the fact that, to satisfy all the tourists who arrive daily in Algiers and in other tourist cities, some restaurants even offer international cuisine.

However, even in these big cities, there are many restaurants that prepare traditional dishes exclusively belonging to Algerian tradition.

Of course, the couscous is somewhat “inevitable”, as in Morocco and Tunisia. In Algeria, the couscous is called KSEKSOU; then, according to the various ingredients, it can be a MASFOUF, a BARKOUKESS, etc…

We find flour as main ingredient of couscous in many other typical dishes, such as soups or desserts. One of these is the RFISS which is made from semolina, walnuts, dates, butter and orange blossom; then there is the KHFAF which is a semolina cake which, with the addition of honey, magically becomes the TAMMINA.

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Photo CC-BY-SA Wicanto

Again with the flour in ALGERIA they do MAHDJOUBA, coming with a filling of tomatoes and peppers; the semolina pancakes are called BAGHRIR.

The vegetables, especially in the period of Ramadan, are the main ingredients of many soups, but also of many salads as for example that of grilled peppers, the FELFA, or the mixed pickled vegetables called TBIKHA .

As for the meat, it can be cooked in various ways, but the most traditional preparation is stewing it with vegetables, in suitable pans  called Tajines from which also comes the name of these dishes.

The meat is the main ingredient of meatballs, always very spicy, which can be chicken, the MHAVET, or lamb, the METEWAN. The KEFTA look very much like hamburgers.

The chicken meat is prepared in many ways, and each dish has its own name: the YAHNI is the fried chicken; the stew chicken with chickpeas is called CHETITHA DJEDJ, the stew with egg and lemon is called SFERIA; instead RECTHA  indicates a dish of chicken and semolina.

All of these savory dishes are accompanied by the Algerian bread, which is prepared without yeast, and usually cooked on the plate; normally during lunch they not used the cutlery, as the bread is precisely used to take food from large serving dishes.

Algeria is the motherland of a typical drink made of fermented milk and is called LBEN; this drink usually accompanies the sweets. One of these sweets is the TCHARAK, a croissant stuffed with almond paste.

Other traditional drinks are coffee, prepared in the Turkish way, or tea  -usually mint tea. Algerian wines are excellent, both the whites and the reds and rosés ones; some of the best wines are produced in wineries located in the western region of Algeria, in the provinces of Oran and Algiers.

Bon voyage then and have a good tasting in Algeria (click here to book a ferry)!

Algiers: city’s highlights and visiting tips

Algiers is a city very rich and to discover. Those who think that it has nothing to offer to the tourists who decide to visit it is wrong, because there is so much story to know, besides the beauty in itself. Also wrong who sees Algiers as a city uncompromising and died during the night. Life in this city runs at all hours and we can say with absolute certainty that the nocturnal movement is a candidate to be the protagonist.

Before suggesting some ideal itinerary for the visit of the city of Algiers and provide valuable from the point of view of tourism, it is proper to make a small historical overview, which serves to clarify the reality of the city and how it has shaped its current structure.

History

Algiers is the capital of Algeria. In Arabic, the name of the city means “islands” and that’s because it refers to a series of small islands that are located not far from the coast, however, are not visible today as they have been incorporated in the port which, remember, is the most important of the whole country. Algiers, then, is emerging as one of the main ports of the Mediterranean Sea and the bay is very popular, because behind him you can see a piece of the Atlas Mountains.

The first settlement that arose in Algiers dates back to Phoenician and is dated 1200 BC therefore, we are talking about a city with the very remote origins. The city was born with a centre nearby, which was called Icosium, which was later conquered by the Romans in 146 BC after the Punic Wars. After the Romans, in the area succeeded different populations. The most important rule, prior to the French, was undoubtedly the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans of Suleyman the Magnificent expelled from the area Spaniards and Algiers became part of the empire. This until 1827, the year of the French conquest, which lasted until 1962. Since July 5, 1962, Algeria is independent and its capital is Algiers.

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Photo CC-BY by Poudou99

Algiers as it appears today

The city has almost 3 million inhabitants, and this makes it understand the magnitude and importance in the national context. As often happens in the cities of Arab inspiration, even Algiers is divided into 3 parts that are completely different from each other and that are very interesting to discover.

The lower part, the one close to the sea, so to speak, has undergone a lot of French influence, given that here was settled by the colonial officials. In this part of the city seems to be in France: there are huge boulevard, museums, churches and more. Going up, instead, to the mountains, you see a more Algiers Arab and authentic. Here we enter the so-called Casbah dating back to the sixteenth century, by the will of the Ottomans. The third part of the city, however, is home to the suburbs, built after the end of colonialism and still expanding.

What immediately strikes the Algiers are whitewashed buildings that give the town an air of ethereal and reflect the strong sun that only this area can offer. Thanks to its urban structure, Algiers itself as a city in motion, characterized by very steep (but really peculiar) alleys  and numerous staircases. 

Rock the Casbah

As you can imagine, the most interesting to visit, as already mentioned, is that of the Casbah that is the most traditional, the true soul of Algiers where there are the most important monuments of the city, starting from the mosques, museums, antique walls.

In the old town, which is in the Casbah, which we said to be the most characteristic, you can not avoid a ride through the narrow streets, stairways, climbs and descents. It is a wonder that the UNESCO has recognized its importance. As already mentioned, here are the main mosques, including the largest in the city: we are talking about the mosque Jamaa el Kebir which is among the flagships of Algiers. The building, constructed in 1018, consists of several aisles joined by columns and serves as a school of Sunni theology. Another mosque very beautiful and evocative is the Ketchaoua mosque, built in the late ‘700 and then transformed by the French in a Catholic cathedral. Only after the end of French rule has returned to be a mosque and, today, is the symbol of Algerian independence. But not all … among the monuments to visit ranks Bastion 23 which is a kind of fortress of Turkish origin, which was built during the period of Ottoman rule. Here lived the admirals Algerians and, therefore, is a building of great historical value.

In Algiers, there is also a large Catholic church, known as Notre Dame d’Afrique, particularly worthy of attention. Already from the name you can see the French influence and, in fact, was built precisely during the period of French domination.

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Photo CC-BY-SA by Algor95

Moreover, remember that it is a city that has 3 million inhabitants and, therefore, has to live at all hours, well aware of the tourists who decide to spend their holidays here. And speaking of the tourist, Algiers is all the will to invest in tourism. After the period of strong disagreements and clashes within the country, in cities have sprung up new premises and has done everything to accelerate development like setting the wi-fi, to enable the visitors to stay connected with the world and venues stay open until late at night every day of the week.

In short, Algiers is trying to shine as one of the stars of North Africa, after a history of domination that, we have to say, they have not made the justice he deserved.

Algiers could become one of the most popular destinations in the coming years because it has all the potentiality: it is very well connected by ferry lines, for example. For your ferry connections, with daily departures, if you want to know a bit more, please check the infos provided on http://www.ok-ferry.com/en/algeria-ferries.aspx