In the towns with fishing ports you can find the fishmarkets with the catch of the day. The best time to go to the fishmarket is early morning. I don't know much about fish, but looking at all the different kind of fishes and octopus intrigues me.
The fishmarket in Houmt Souk in one the white buildings in the souq area looks very nice.
What to buy: I never bought fresh fish myself at the market. I went to the local restaurants instead to have my fresh fish meal. For eating fresh fish I went to the local restaurants.
In every souq in Tunisia you can find the diffferent types of carpets and in many colours. If you really want to buy a carpet take your time, look around, don't feel urged to sell a carpet too soon and bargain ! That's part of the game !
I bought myself two woven carpets first the third time I came to Tunisia. Two different types, a bright new one and an old traditional Berber one.
The main carpet selling centres of the country are Tunis, Kairouan, Tozeur and Jerba.
What to buy: There are different types of carpets, basically there are the woven and knotted ones. The traditional carpets are the woven ones. The Mergouns have geometric designs in bright colours. The kelims have traditional Berber motifs on a woven background. The best known knotted carpets are the classical Kairouan carpets in Persian style. The price is according the number of knots.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
If you are looking for something to bring home frorm the country, go to the souq and you have a big chance to find something nice or interesting.
But also when you have not the intention to buy anything, it's nice to stroll around in the winding streets of the old medina along the souqs. And who knows you will buy something anyway at the end after a lot of bargaining....
What to buy: Carpets, leather, brass & copper, clothes, perfume, spices, jewellery, pottery or a chica (waterpipe)
Fixed Price Shops: Fixed Price Shops
Check out these shops before going to markets or haggling shops to ensure you know the highest price you will ever have to pay.
What to buy: Pottery, pipes (for smoking in moorish cafe), spices (especially harissa)
What to pay: This will be the benchmark for all other haggling. Start well below this price, and walk away if vendors go any higher.
DEFINITELY COME HERE FOR SHOPPING YOU WILL FIND THE BEST BARGAINS AND SOME OF THE BEST QUALITY ITEMS.
THERE ARE MANY SHOPS ALONG THE COAST HOWEVER; I LIKED THE EXPERIENCE OF THE MEDINA.
What to buy: SILVER JEWELLERS, TRADITIONAL TUNISIAN WEAR, ALMOST EVERYTHING CAN BE BOUGHT HERE.
What to pay: BARTER
Any: Olives and olive oil
Tunisia has always been an olive growing country. When Tunisia was a part of the Roman Empire, olive oil was together with wheat the main export towards Rome and Tunisia was considered as the main food purveyor of Rome, "the food basket of Rome". Tunisian olive oil is very tasty but as it might brake in your luggage, Iwould not advise you to bring a bottle home. But olives are also prepared in several ways as pickles. They taste very good and are easier to bring home. They usually are not found in duty free shops of airports.
What to buy: In 2003-2004, the world main olive oil producers were :
Spain 1 410 000 tons
Italy 675 000 tons
Greece 367 000 tons
Tunisia 230 000 tons
In 2003-2004, the world main olive oil exporters were:
Tunisia 180 000 tons
Italy 180 000 tons
Spain 125 000 tons
Turkey 40 000 tons
However, Tunisian oil shows seldom under its name. Until now, it is mostly exported in bulk to countries that incorporate it in their own oil for domestic use or for export. Tunisians begin to try to sell their bottled oil directly abroad.
Anywhere but not in duty-free shops: Oranges
Oranges and more specifically, "Maltaises de Tunisie" (Maltese from Tunisia) are an excellent variety of oranges. They are not very large fruits, regular, with a thin skin. They are very tasty and can be taken either as whole fruits or as juices. Freshly pressed, they give the best orange juice I know.
They are imported into France but I do not know if they are sold in other European countries. The crop is from mid-january to march.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Any, including airports duty free shops: Boukha and Thibarine.
Boukha is a traditionnal spirit (37.5°) prepared by Tunisian Jews. In Judeo-arab dialect, Boukha means “alcohol spirit”. It should be pronounced "burrhah" in about the same way than "buch" in German.
The brand Boukha Bokobsa was created in 1880 by the Bokobsa family in La Soukra, near Tunis. It is obtained by the distillation of the fermented brew of “figues de Barbarie” (prickly pears) from Tunisia and Turkey. Boukha is first of all an aperitif that is drink iced, but it can also be tasted as a digestive at room temperature or in cocktails. It is served in every bar of international hotels and only in some local bars. You can buy it in the airport duty free shop.
For more, look at the Boukha Bokobsa web site.
Thibarine is very sweet liquor, sometimes said to be made of fermented dates, which is wrong. It is made of grape spirit and various aromatic plants from the South. It tastes a bit like the "French Chartreuse Jaune". BTW, it is also made by monks, the monks of Thibar, while Chartreuse is made by monks of the Grande Chartreuse, near Grenoble. You can buy it too in the airport freeshop.Related to:
- Wine Tasting
Any, including airports duty free shops: Wine
Vine was already cultivated in Tunisia during the Roman times. Tunisian wines were highly appreciated in Rome. After the Arab conquest, cultivation of vine decreased and was kept mainly for grape. It was later developed for wine by French and Italian settlers. Most of the vineyards are in the Cap Bon (85%). There are 3 qualities : table wines, AOC and the best, AOC premier cru. The best Tunisian wines are the reds, such as Château Mornag, Haut Mornag, Carthage, Magon rouge, etc… They are strong and powerful. Rosés are lighter and should be drink very cool : Tyna, Sidi-Raïs, Koudiat, Rossel. There are few whites : moscat of Kelibia is very fruity and should too be drink ice cool. The monks of Thibar grow a sparkling wine but I do not recommend it as sparkling wines are tastier when the vine grows in a colder region. The restaurants of most (if not all) international hotels serve wine. Some local restaurants do too, but far from all of them. You will find wines in duty free shops of airports.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Art of haggling
The souks are where you test your ability to haggle, act, drink mint tea, roll your eyes and beat shopkeepers down to a price where honour and dignity are respected on both sides. Pay too much, and the shopkeeper will despise your stupidity. Offer too little and he will despise your greed. The secrets of success are good will, a sense of humour and especially patience. Now where are you going to put that silver coffee pot that you didn’t really need and which always drips anyway!?
Medina je trgovacki centar, a zapravo je mjesto na kojem se odvija cjelokupna društvena aktivnost lokalnog stanovništva, kako danju tako i dobrim dijelom noci. U Tunisu svi s necime trguju ako ne robom onda sitnim uslugama ili muljažom koja je nacionalni sport. Ponekad je to zabavno, ponekad zamorno a boga mi oce i film puknuti kada u tome pretjeraju.Related to:
- Family Travel
Carpets in Tunisia.
What to buy: Ask your tour guide to take you to the carpet dealers. Usually these businesses deal with tours and cruise ship passengers. We went to one that was situated in the top of an old house and we were served tea while they brought out all kinds of rugs and carpets for us to see.
What to pay: You will spend a lot less for really lovely rugs, than you would back home. They will usually ship your larger items home for you.
What to buy: I am not generally very big on shopping, and the items that Tunisia offers, hand made rugs, leather and pottery, is not really up my ally. But as in most countries you need to haggle a bit to get the price down to an acceptable level.
Shopkeepers are not as aggressive as in many other places, if you decline an offer to take a look in their store or say that you just want to look for a while they generally leave you be.
What to pay: Make sure you know what you should pay before you start haggling or you will be ripped off. The key to getting a good deal is to keep a friendly atmosphere and be prepared to spend some time at it.
Every bloody where: You Want...good price...Asda price....you like ?
Tunisia : See the quaint local markets and buy the quality handicrafts from local people.
Complete tommy-rot. All you will find is loads of pushy salesmen who double glazing companies would'nt touch with a bargepole.
The ceramics are cheaply produced tat for the main part which might suffice for a bar-b-que or as garden ornaments.
The leather is made from whatever animal they claim it to be that day from camel to panda.
At Least Do This:
Look at the quality, show great distaste and bargain like your life depended upon it - then walk away if they really want the sale .... they will persue you
What to buy: Nothing
What to pay: Nothing
Sidi Bou Said
There are many shops along the main "souk street" in Sidi Bou Said. There are enough tour buses coming through to this area that the prices can be quite high. If you are really set on buying something, it is a good place to look. Then go to the main souks in the old medina of Tunis to find it cheaper. There are a good number of galleries located here some with fixed prices and all are great quality.
What to buy: You can find fine watercolor or oil paintings, well made ceramics-all hand painted, or intricate woodwork.
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