Libya: Food in Tripoli

August 31, 2010

I now love Libyan soup. Good thing that I do because it's the precursor to every dinner. Libyan soup is a tomato-based broth with chunks of chicken, lamb or beef.‚  Onions, orzo, chickpeas, parsely (or cilantro) are mixed in along with something called "Libyan spices." After you ladle the soup in your bowl,‚  squeeze a bit of lime juice on top. The soup is rich and flavorful, and perfect with a chunk of bread.

If you go to someone's house, you might be offered some almond milk. Meals include dates, olives and salads. We eat a lot of jaj, or chicken, and couscous. The jaj goes great with super-thin, short pieces of noodles tossed with roasted nuts. Another favorite is bureek, a turnover with crispy dough, usually filo. The inside is minced beef with spices or potato with spices. For desert, I've eaten cakes with nutella and pistachios sprinkled on top. My new favorite‚  is aseeda. It's made of dough that's heavily stirred on the stovetop. When done, aseeda looks like a huge donut - but tastes nothing like a donut. But it's very doughy. Aseeda is eaten communally on a large plate with butter and honey. I ate it with Yusra and her family as a

late night Ramadan snack. It's so good, but a little bit goes a long way. Even as my stomach began to hurt, I couldn't stop eating aseeda.

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