Category Archives: cultures

In Libya, sheep heads are a side dish

“So, I read about a specialty – bazin. Can I get that anywhere?”

I was in Tripoli, Libya, where we were running a video workshop with kids from around the country. The logistics for each workshop were different, and for this one, the organizer enlisted a rotating crew of work colleagues to serve as translators. I liked this set up, because it meant that we got to know a group of local young men and women during our time there.

That day, during a break, I was talking to Nabeel, who was built like a bodyguard but whose face welcomed you with a smile.


First stage of bazin, with lamb.

“You know bazin?” he asked, surprised.

I explained that I was pretty obsessed with food, and for each trip, even before learning about the politics of a place, I would research the food. Food, of course, is such a part of a places’s culture. And this way I would know what to expect during the trip and what specialties I might want to try to find.

“Well, that’s one of those home-cooked dishes,” Nabeel continued, explaining that it was something that was cooked by hand, and consumed communally. “Most restaurants won’t serve it because you eat with your hands and you only want to do that with people you trust.”

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