5 countries in 5 dishes: typical gastronomy with Mandala Tours

At Mandala Tours, we consider gastronomy to be a primordial cultural element and a tourist attraction in itself. And for this reason, in our tours we integrate touches of local cuisine for your delight. Of course, each country has its own culinary tradition and distinct dishes, although there are also striking similarities in the geographical area in which we operate: Middle East and North Africa. Therefore, in this post we show you the most popular dishes in each of the top 5 destinations we can take you to.

Tajin, Morocco

Tajine is, for many, the most popular dish in Morocco. Also known as tajine or tajine, it is actually a dish that takes its name from the container in which it is cooked and does not have a unique recipe. It is a kind of stew, usually made of meat and vegetables, which is cooked in a small earthenware casserole covered by a conical chimney of the same material, which allows it to maintain its heat and juiciness. Another curious aspect of this dish is that it is usually cooked in street stalls, which adds to the charm of the experience.

Mensaf, in Jordan

Mensaf, also called mansaf, is the national dish of Jordan and, as such, is cooked on grand occasions, such as weddings or family events. But luckily for travelers, it can also be tasted in local restaurants. It is a lamb stew marinated in aromatic herbs, cooked in yogurt sauce and served with rice and nuts (pine nuts, almonds). It is eaten, by the way, with the hands and in large banquets, giving rise to a ritual so solemn that Unesco declared it Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Ful medames in Egypt

Egypt has a very varied gastronomy, but if there is an iconic and representative dish, that is the ful medames. It uses beans, a very common legume in the local cuisine, in this case mashed into a puree. In its most elegant version, it is served with slices of boiled egg, tomato, onion and chopped parsley, seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice and spices. And to help you when it’s time to put it in your mouth, you can’t miss the eish shamsi, a type of bread similar to pita.

Kofta, Turkey

Turkish gastronomy has had a powerful influence on the surrounding countries, which were part of the extinct Ottoman Empire. And some of these dishes have acquired a very international image, such as doner kebab or lahmacun. But kofta is a dish that enjoys enormous popularity among Turks, and consists of a kind of lamb or veal meatballs, which can also have an elongated or medal shape. The spices and chopped onion give it a distinctive touch, although the unique detail will come if it is cooked in a wood-fired oven.

Jraime, in Israel

Today’s Israeli cuisine, on the other hand, is the sum of numerous ancient and modern traditions, as a result of the Ottoman domination and the subsequent influx of Jewish people from all over the world with the creation of the State in the middle of the 20th century. To provide a certain counterpoint in this list of typical dishes, we add here the only fish dish, because after all this country has an important coastal strip on the Mediterranean. In this case, the jraime is a dish of pieces of fish (almost any fish will do, as long as it is fresh), previously fried and then cooked in a sauce of tomato, garlic and spices. Its popularity and importance in Israel lies in the fact that it is usually eaten to welcome Shabbat (Sabbath), the Jewish holy day.

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