The most important tip I can give you on Algeria local food, and the only one that will make you elevate from being a tourist to becoming a real traveler immersed in the local culture, is “Stay away from McDonalds“. When visiting Algeria, there is awesome local food to try. Head to the local eateries too, and go where the locals go. For me, the food, wine and and even the water is part of the travel experience.
What to Eat in Algeria
Algerian food is delicious. Note that some french dishes are variations from it. Fettate (Sahara specialty, in Tamanrasset) Taguella (bread of sand, a nomad specialty) Couscous (steamed semolina with sauce containing meat and/or potatoes, carrots, courgette, and chick peas) Buseluf (cooked lambs head) Dowara (stew of stomach and intestines with courgette & chick peas) Chorba (a meaty soup) Rechta (hand made spaghetti, usually served with a clear chicken broth, potatoes & chick peas) Chakchouka (normally, it has green peppers, onions and tomatoes; egg may be added) Mechoui (charcoal grilled lamb) Algerian pizza Tajine (stew) Merranean juices (grenadine, orange); very sweet green tea, and strong coffee. Qalb El Louz (dessert containing almonds) Baklawa (almond cakes drenched in honey) Ktayef (a kind of baked vermicelli, filled with almonds and drenched in sugar, syrup, and honey)
What to Drink in Algeria
The legal drinking/purchasing age of alcoholic beverages is 18. Algeria produces a selection of wine (not in big volume in more) and also beer. However, Algeria is a Muslim country, and you do not find alcohol sold everywhere, you have to know where to find it. Wine and alcoholic drinks are sold in the few bar restaurants in the big cities, high end hotels, and night clubs. Some bar restaurants can be found in nice parks, so if you are in a nice wooded park, look for the restaurants. The fast food restaurants open and affordable to the public do not sell beer, and the coffee shops do not sell alcohol.
If you visit Algiers or coastal cities, there are fish restaurants in almost every fishing port, the fishing is traditional and the fish sold is very fresh; usually, these restaurants sell alcohol but you have to ask (do not expect to see it, sometimes it is on the menu, sometimes not). Finally, you can buy your own bottle of Algerian wine to take home in discrete shops that sell alcoholic drinks. It is better to buy it at the Algiers airport. In smaller towns, buying alcohol can be challenging; you usually find them at the edge of the towns in sketchy areas and the conditions in which the alcohol was kept is sometimes questionable.
Some Muslims drink but they consider it a sin. Brown-bagging of alcohol is very common as you are not expected to publicly display those beverages in the streets. Consumption of drinks is social but private, thus it mostly occurs only indoors or in remote areas. If someone invites you into his home and does not offer alcohol, he expects you not to be drunk or smell alcohol, and does not expect you to bring your own bottle or even discuss drinking alcohol in front of his wife and kids.
Other local foods, or drinks that you recommend? Please add and comment.