While Morocco is full of amazing things to eat, you’ll be hard pressed to find them in a restaurant – going out for dinner just isn’t part of the local culture. There are a few restaurants that stand out, but the best Moroccan food is made at home, where women spend hours gathering fresh ingredients and cooking. So when you have the opportunity, book a private dinner in your riad or enjoy a mid-trek lunch in a Berber village in the Atlas Mountains. Ready to dig in? Here’s a list of (my favorite) 10 foods and drinks you can expect have in Morocco. Bon appetit!
You’ll eat so many tagines (stew-like dishes slow cooked in cone-shaped earthenware pots) during your trip to Morocco that you’ll probably be totally sick of them by day 3. The one exception for me was the Kefta tagine, which includes cumin-spiced lamb meatballs and eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. The best one I had is pictured above, made by the talented cook at Riad 144 in Marrakech. The best way to eat a tagine? Skip silverware and take a scoop with a piece of homemade bread.
I should have mentioned this soup first because it’s literally my all time FAVORITE Moroccan dish. When I see harira on the menu, I order it. It’s always slightly different but consistently incredible. The most memorable harira I tasted was the one I cooked myself. Note that I use the term “cooked” lightly here, as in, I chopped a few vegetables while watching the amazing cook at Riad Les Trois Mages demonstrate in a private lesson. It took about four hours to make and was worth every minute.
Another dish I fell in love with in Morocco consists of steamed vermicelli mixed with meat and sweetened with raisins, cinnamon, almonds and powdered sugar. I never thought sugary pasta would be good, but the beautiful restaurant Dar Moha in Marrakech proved me wrong!
So this might be a recipe for disaster (disclaimer: The Blonde Banana will not be held responsible if you spend tomorrow lying on the bathroom floor), but head to the street for some of the best Moroccan food. In Marrakech, Djemaa el Fna has a dizzying array of food stands where you can sit and watch your meal be made right in front of you before you eat it. As pictured above, vendors will come at you from every angle trying to lure you into their stalls – don’t feel pressured, it’s better to walk around and see which one looks best to you.
Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
Plentiful and cheap, freshly squeezed OJ is the perfect way to keep hydrated throughout your trip to Morocco. Just make sure you ask for a plastic to-go cup when getting it on the street – many vendors don’t properly clean the reusable glasses.
How can I never have thought of something so simple before? Chop onions, green peppers, tomatoes and cilantro and toss with olive oil and cumin to make a traditional Moroccan salad. The one pictured was fresh from the gardens of the Berber village in the Atlas Mountains where we had lunch during a donkey trek – they had made or grown each ingredient themselves, including the oil.
Get ready to carb load each morning in Morocco – eggs, omelettes and other typical American choices are nonexistent at traditional breakfasts. Typical foods you’ll eat include msemmen, a pan-fried dough pancake, and beghrir, a spongey crepe. Make sure you don’t forget to use the variety of homemade jams and oils at the table – my favorite being amlou, a Moroccan dip consisting of toasted almonds, argan oil and honey. You’ll hit the gym next week, right? Pictured above is the brunch spread at La Sqala in Casablanca.
Orange, Banana and Cinnamon Dessert
Healthy, simple and delicious, this dessert is another one that is fortunately so easy to replicate back home. I’ve made it a couple times and want to thank Morocco for the inspiration!
Much like tagine, you’ll have enough mint tea in Morocco to last you a lifetime. Every time we sat down, someone was bringing us mint tea or inviting us to tea – it’s a huge part of Moroccan culture. It’s refreshing and tastes great but is usually heavily pre-sugared – you might want to schedule a dentist appointment for your return. Pictured above is the mint tea served on the rooftop of Cafe Henna in Marrakech.
Another traditional Moroccan dish, pastilla, is similar to a pie containing fish, chicken or meat. Pigeon meat is the most popular but if that makes you shudder, the other options are quite good too. Moroccans further demonstrate their carb addiction with this dish, which features a crisp, flaky crust sprinkled with powdered sugar – the perfect combination of savory and sweet.
As much as I enjoy Moroccan food, I was thoroughly over it by the end of both my trips and craving something that didn’t consist of bread, tagine, and more bread covered in sugar. Chawarma, meat roasted slowly on a spit and served with pita, is a cheap and tasty Mediterranean option available in most Moroccan cities. Above is the chawarma dish I had at a casual restaurant in Casablanca, served with onions, cabbage, hummus, and baba ganoush.
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