08 Nov Food in Morocco
Posted at 11:53h in Travel
Twelve days in Morocco is over and it’s time to sum up my foodie adventure here. The second day after we got here, my friend asked me if I like Moroccan food and I said ‘yeh, the tagine’s been nice but ask me again in two weeks.’ Well almost two weeks is over, while I can give tagine a break for a while, I can say I actually really like Moroccan food. I only knew about tagine before I got here. I think now I know a little bit more than that!
You will see pomegranate everywhere in Morocco. Unlike the ones back home, these poms are more pale in colour on the skin and more flesh but just as sweet and juicy!
Fresh mint everywhere for mint tea (and the tannery for tourists)
Where to eat in Morocco? This list basically highlighted where we’ve eaten and what’s been our favourite.
- Marrakech – Le Salama, Nomad cafe, Le Jardin
- Fes – The Ruined Garden, restaurants around the blue gate
- Chefchaouen – Casa Hassan, Beldi Bab SSour
My favourite meal in the entire trip not including the cooking class we did at Dar Attjamil with Fatima (check out my blog about the cooking class here) was in Chefchaouen, the last day of our trip in Morocco. Restaurant Beldi Bab SSour is a 5 minute walk from the main square. The lady at our guesthouse Casa Perleta recommended it because she said the ones in the square aren’t very reliable. We went there for lunch after unpacking and had a change of clothes as it was bucketing down so bad all our clothes and bags were soaked! This little restaurant offered something different, we ordered tangiya which is slow cooked beef and the waiter suggested kebab in souce. Oh my god… The dishes came saucy and bubbling hot and I knew I could finish all that bread with that sauce. The tangiya came with a piece of bone marrow made the dish extra creamy. Jared’s kebab in souce was so tender and you know that the beef has been cooked in many hours with great flavour.
It was that good we went back the second time just before catching the bus to Tangier. It was a Friday afternoon and we now know that most shops close on Fridays and most restaurant only offer couscous. I am not sure if the boss recognised us and made an exception or what, we were able to order the tagine with prunes and tagine enchovies. Oh boy, just what I needed before another long bus trip. The appetisers olives and the little chilli/olive paste were also perfect pair with the food. The fish was fresh, beef was tender and the portion was just enough to hit the spot. What’s great about eating in my small towns like Chaouen is a decent meal cost very little. Two tagine and two mint tea only cost 70DH (less than 7 euro). Happy tummy!! I told the boss if I were to stay in Chaouen one more night I will go back the third time!
I wrote about the three restaurants in Marrakech in my blog Two days in Marrakech. Read about Le Salama, Nomad cafe and Le Jardin!
Fes is also a foodie town, after you pass the blue gate which is the entrance of the medina you will find eateries on the street and on their terrace with great view overlooking the blue gate. The medina then separates into two main street, one sells tourisy items like tagines, plates, clothes, shoes and the other sells fresh foods. Among the stalls, you will also find fresh pastries, crumpets, beef jerky soaked in oil etc… For dinner, we visited the Ruined Garden – a Moroccan fusion restaurant. It’s better if you make a booking in advance to be able to sit outside in the garden with great atmosphere.
This is a communal bread oven. Every family makes their bread dough differently and in each morning, people come to the communal oven to bake their bread. Each family will also leave a unique mark on their bread to they can recognise their own batch. I think this is an excellent idea and it’s such a great sense of culture and community happening. It looks like a happy place.
There are some of the Moroccan dishes we’ve tried that made it to our favourite list and we will definitely try to replicate it when we get home.
Moroccan soup similar to tomato soup with noodles. It’s on every restaurants’ menu but it’s not always available. Some restaurants only offer it at dinner, some only offer during winter. We did manage to order it a few times and enjoyed it wherever we went.
I asked Salah – our Sahara tour driver if Moroccan eats hot foods as I swear Harissa is a hot sauce from Morocco but I’ve seen it no the menu. Turns out it’s a hot sauce / chilli that you have to ask for it. Many restaurants had their own version of harissa, but occassionally you will get a bottle that’s bought from the supermarket. Regardless, adding that little kick to a Moroccan dish did take the food to the next level.
The couscous soup reminds me of cream of mushroom, without the mushroom, or rice porridge but with couscous!!
Kebabs with fried and salad
In a few occasions, tagines were just too heavy i.e. too hot for the day or the portion looking too big. We opted for kebabs which usually comes with fries and salad. I don’t think the fries is an authentic part of the cuisine but generally the kebab is marinated with great Moroccan flavours.
- tagine anchovies
- tagine lamb with quince
- tangia Marrakech (lamb with preserved lemon)
Dates and flies
The flies situation is quite comparable to back home in Australia but I learnt why that is. October is date harvesting season. And I never knew that dates are grown in palm trees!! There were palm trees everywhere and there were dates everywhere hence there were flies…EVERY WHERE!!!!!
The most common spices you will see selling everywhere are turmeric (curcuma), saffron, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, pepper and ginger powder
Food to try next time
In recent years, my tummy has gotten quite sensitive. That doesn’t stop me from trying anything and I always take S. Bourlardii tablets when I am overseas but when it comes to street foods, I’d rather miss out then to potentially get sick so until I am brave enough, next time I might try some snails in soup that’s just selling off the street!