North African food is relatively unknown to many Americans. Even for those that are somewhat familiar, tagines may be the first — and only — dish that come to the mind. For what it's worth, tagines are indeed amazing and a representative dish of North Africa. However, there are so many other dishes that are a part of this incredibly diverse cuisine. Even better, instead of flying all the way to Tangiers, you can try some of these culinary gems close to home at Nomad on 2nd Avenue in the East Village. 

Weichen Yan


Weichen Yan

Merguez is a North African style sausage made with lamb, or sometimes beef. It is packed full of spices like cumin, paprika, coriander and cayenne, as well as harissa. It's typically grilled, and can be added to tagines for extra flavors. Otherwise, it is usually served in a sandwich with fries. You can get it in a sandwich on house bread at Nomad with fries and salad. 


Pastilla is a North African style pie, encased in a dough similar to Phyllo. It is typically filled with poultry meat spiced with things like ginger, turmeric and sometimes saffron, and topped with powered sugar and cinnamon. The pastilla I tried at Nomad was filled with chicken marinated in Moroccan spices.


Weichen Yan

A staple in North African cuisine, couscous serves as the vehicle for soaking up all the delicious juices of this cuisine's flavorful stews. For example, it is often served as a side to tagines. Pictured here from Nomad is a delicious fish braise with saffron olive sauce atop a bed of couscous. 

So next time you're at a North African restaurant, get adventurous and order one of the above dishes!