food of algeria traditional dishes

What is the food of Algeria? Like many countries in Northern Africa, Algerian food is influenced by French, Turkish, Mediterranean, Arab & Berber flavours. The staple food from Algeria is Couscous, a semolina-based pasta usually served with a meat and vegetable stew. However, the food of Algeria is so much more than couscous – this is an exciting cuisine, incredibly tasty and full of flavour.

Algerian food is built on a stable foundation of meats (excluding pork), vegetables and grains. There are many layers of flavour to this wonderfully diverse cuisine. We tried many Algerian dishes during our visit to this huge country. The best recommendations of what Algerian food we should try came directly from the incredibly welcoming Algerian people.

So, what is the food of Algeria all about? Here are 10 Delicious Dishes to Try

1. Rechta

rechta algerian food

We love Rechta. Delicious Algerian food that we enjoyed more than once.

This dish would be on my top favourite foods of Algeria list, we enjoyed it a few times during our visit. Rechta is a traditional Algerian dish prepared with thin noodles and chicken broth with vegetables. The simplicity of this dish is what we enjoyed the most, yet the broth packs loads of flavour. The noodles are quite delicate and light, while the broth is made with chicken, onions, garlic, oil, chickpeas, ras el hanout (a blend of many spices), cinnamon, and root vegetables.

The dish is especially popular during special occasions and events such as Eid al Fitr (the end of Ramadan), and weddings.

2.  Mahjouba

food of algeria mahjouba

Mahjouba is simple, yet delicious food of Algeria

Mahjouba is a much-loved Algerian crepe. The best ones are often cooked in the home, however, these are very popular street food of Algeria too. Mahjouba are essentially flaky crepes made with semolina, then stuffed with a jammy tomato-based filling of tomatoes, chilli peppers, onions and herbs. These delicious crepes are typically eaten for breakfast and they’re best eaten hot accompanied by some fresh mint tea.

3. Chakhchoukha 

Chakhchoukha food of algeria

Chakhchoukha – Popular food of Algeria

If you ask Algerian people the one dish you should try, they’ll probably tell you to try chakhchoukha. At least from our experience, this was the dish that we were recommended many times. But, don’t confuse this dish with shakshuka – this is another common dish in Algeria and around the world, but chakhchoukha is much heavier. 

So, what is it? Chakhchoukha is an Algerian food or dish prepared with torn pieces of thin, flatbread known as rougag. The rougag is topped with Marqa, a flavourful tomato-based stew of lamb (or chicken), onions, peppers, chickpeas, and spices.

4. Brochettes

brochettes food of algeria

Barbecue brochettes – Food of Algeria you need to try

Barbequed meats are popular in Algeria, and brochettes are something you need to try. Brochettes are skewered meats (lamb, chicken, sausage or chicken liver) that are barbequed over coals and usually served with harissa (spicy sauce) and crunchy baguettes. Brochettes are sometimes marinated or prepared thoughtfully with pieces of lamb fat in between the chunks of meat for extra flavour. 

Starting from 30 DZD ( 0.15c) per piece, this is the food of Algeria that many Algerian people enjoy daily.

5. Tajine Zitoune

tajne zitoune food of algeria

Tajine Zitoune – A flavourful dish and popular food of Algeria

Tajine Zitoune is a popular dish in Algeria, particularly during Ramadan. The dish is made with Kefta (minced lamb, beef, chicken or fish meatballs seasoned with fresh herbs and spices), potatoes, mushrooms, vegetables, lemon juice and dried olives.

It is traditionally made in a Tajine, a terracotta or earthenware pot that is placed over a flame to cook the ingredients inside. This dish is best eaten with rice or freshly cooked Algerian bread, perfect to mop up that flavourful sauce. 

Look for this dish being served on the daily menu board in many restaurants in the capital city of Algiers.

6. Couscous

food of algeria couscous

Couscous is quintessential food of Algeria

Food from Algeria that you are bound to try while you’re here, probably more than once. To the Algerian people, couscous, like bread, accompanies many of their dishes. 

Couscous is tiny grains of semolina and the dish is traditionally made in a metal steamer called a couscoussier. The stew cooks on the bottom, while the small grains are placed in the perforated basket on top. These cook in the steam that rises from the rich stew below. This Algerian Lamb Stew and Couscous recipe is incredible.

Couscous is usually prepared for lunch on Fridays, the weekend or a day of rest in Islamic countries. On this day, families come together for the most important meal of the week. 

7. Rfiss

rfiss food of algeria

Rfiss – Sweet food of Algeria.

A sweet dish and food of Algeria that originates from the region of Constantine. Rfiss is essentially made of baked semolina galette. The galette is sliced and placed in a processer to ground it into crumbs, similar in size to couscous. 

Other ingredients used to prepare Rfiss are rose water, milk, sugar, honey, butter, walnuts and powdered sugar to serve. Rfiss is commonly served with laban (fermented milk) or fresh Algerian tea. 

We enjoyed this dish much more than we anticipated (I’m not a huge fan of sweet food), yet it wasn’t nearly as sweet as I expected. And yes, the laban was the perfect drink to accompany this delicious food of Algeria.

8. Zviti

zviti food of algeria

Marty is enjoying Zviti, spicy food of Algeria. Notice the tall wooden mortar in the middle of the table with Zviti inside.

As we explored the fascinating region of Ghardaia in Algeria, I asked my guide from AlgeriaTours16 to take us to a local restaurant to enjoy typical Algerian food. We tried Zviti, spicy food of Algeria, among a few other tasty dishes.

Zviti is a dish made of a semolina galette called Rakhssis. It’s cut into little pieces and then ground in a tall wooden mortar called ‘Mehrez’. Grilled peppers, tomatoes and other ingredients are added to create Zviti. This food of Algeria is then served in the ‘Mehrez’, which sits in a hole carved in the middle of the table. Zviti is a shared dish and each person is given a long wooden spoon to scoop out the food and enjoy.

9. Dobara

food of algeria dobara

Dobara is tasty Algerian food, especially popular during wintertime.

This food from Algeria and other North African countries is especially popular during the winter. It is a traditional dish consisting of fava beans or chickpeas (or sometimes both) drowned in a delicious vegetable stew. Beware, this stew is spicy as it contains harissa paste. We loved this simple, yet warming dish, ideal to enjoy with some fresh crusty bread.

10. Msemen 

msemen food of algeria

Msemen – Algerian food

A traditional North African flatbread made with a blend of semolina, flour, sugar, salt, yeast, warm water, clarified butter, and oil. The dough is kneaded until it becomes velvety, then pieces are pulled away and flattened into small squares.

It’s cooked on a skillet or fried in a pan until it becomes crisp and golden on the outside and cooked through on the inside. Msemen is commonly eaten with butter, jam and cheese alongside tea or coffee. In saying that, you will also find it stuffed with vegetables and meats and consumed like this also. 

You guessed it, as with most of the food of Algeria on this list, Msemen is always most enjoyable when it’s served hot. This is a recipe we’re keen to learn how to prepare and recreate back home.

We hope you enjoyed learning about the most delicious food of Algeria. Planning a trip to this diverse country? Don’t miss our post about 8 AMAZING places to visit in Algeria and read our advice about Essential  Things you need to know before you go. We created this list to help you better prepare for travelling in Algeria and give you our top tips to ensure your trip is as easy as possible.

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