In this 39th episode of “Alf Thneya we Thneya”, we take you on a gourmet tour to the city of Sfax.
The cap of this capsule, sponsored by the Arab Tunisian Bank, is put on the typical restaurants of the medina. Some restaurants and addresses often popular, that we thought little known but are famous and very well sides on all travel guides including Tripadvisor.
To listen to the capsule:
The gourmand tour that we propose begins of course with the king of the skewer, “Saffoud Abid”, which opens its doors from 5 am until 5 pm in the medina of Sfax. Inaugurated in 1934, “Saffoud Abid” is today a brand in its own right. It’s a chain of 10 restaurants.
Abid offers skewers made of small pieces of meat and lamb liver simply seasoned with salt and pepper and decorated with finely chopped parsley and a slice of lemon. Although the restaurant offers many sauces and various dishes, the kebab is undoubtedly the star product of the house. But what is the secret of this success?
While some mention the quality of the meat, the majority of customers believe that its unique taste lies in the fat recovered from grilled meat on a vertical skewer, and without contact with fire, and that is called Sfax “Laassal” ( honey). This fat becomes in itself a separate set. It is served in some restaurants Abid with Harissa while in others, it is the harissa itself that is diluted in this fat to make a tasty sauce and unique! This could perhaps shock the most delicate and those who attach great importance to their line, but frankly, they do not know what they’re going through next! The taste of this harissa becomes truly unique.
Today, Abid is unquestionably the king of the skewer. His “business” has grown so well that he has been selling mobile bbqs inspired by his experience and know-how. Abid also hosts parties through a very competitive catering service.
In Sfax, a gourmet tour can not fail to include fish and seafood. A visit to the city’s fish market is a must.
The gourmet stop is of course a visit to “Am Ali”. Almost obligatory detour, “Am Ali” is known to serve varieties of fish that can not be found anywhere else like “el far” or “guebbene” … The only chic at “Am Ali” are the private rooms intended mainly for families and groups wishing to stay calm, to enjoy the unique taste of fresh fish. The rest is in the plate and the good mood of the boss!
The other fish destination of our gourmet tour is the restaurant “Fritures Jmal”. The restaurant, which has been around since 1908, offers old-fashioned fried dishes, such as those previously prepared by the grandmothers at home; Tomatoes and peppers fried, potato round and thinly cut by hand, fish flavored with salt, pepper, cumin, garlic …. Everything is cooked to the minute and the order. The sauces, they cook more calmly in pots and copper pots.
Lovers of traditional and typical cuisine know that there is a common point to all these restaurants and it leads to a variety of unique breads well known in the medina of Sfax; the “leffif”. A traditional bread made by the piece and mainly produced in one of the oldest bakeries of Sfax and all Tunisia.
Founded in 1834, the bakery of the “Abdennadher” family has stood the test of time through 5 generations. It’s been more than a century and a half that the family produces bread “arbii” according to an old and unchanged recipe.
Entering the den of this bakery in the old town is a privilege. The visit allows to discover the hierarchy within the bakery and we discover that there is in particular a Commander, ‘Errayes’, as in a boat, whose job is to bake and bake the breads a To one, professional cook, it ensures that the bread reaches its ideal of cooking, crunchy and golden while being soft inside.
Bread is sacred and producing it is a duty to the community. After a career in the media and hotels, Ridha Abdenadher, current boss of the bakery and employs more than 12 people, decides to take over the torch on his father who has himself learned from his dad. He explains: “The bread is in us, our life is punctuated by its production, we start work at dawn to get out the first fresh breads at 6 am Between the moment we mix and knead, perfume and let rest then model and chisel the top of each bread, it takes at least 1h30-1h45 to get out the first batch of the day.”
For further information: “Alf Thneya we Theneya”, in partnership with Arab Tunisian Bank is broadcast every Friday, Saturday and Sunday on Express FM (103.6 Mhz in Tunis, 104 Mhz in Sfax, 100.2 Mhz in Bizerte, 106 Mhz in Cap Bon, 91.1 Mhz in Sousse, 104.5 Mhz in Mahdia and Monastir).
Photo Credit: Pierre Gassin