I spent ten days exploring the kingdom of Morocco and every day was filled with meals fit for royalty. In Morocco food isn’t just something you consume to keep you going, it’s an experience that typically brings friends and family together. Most meals in Morocco are served “family style”, meaning the dishes are big and made for many to share.
You can’t go to Morocco with a closed mind, expecting the ‘best of the west’ to be at your beckoning call. Here the cuisine is a fusion of Arabic, Andalusian, Berber and Mediterranean – making for a delectable mix of flavors.
While I toured Morocco with a more traditional organized tour (and organized meals), my friend Jay from The Dishelin Guide explored “off the beaten path” Morocco and got to dine on some street eats that have me ready to book my next flight back to Morocco! Jay and I teamed up to give you the best of the best of “ what to eat in Morocco ” and traditional foods you have to try when visiting Morocco!
As I explained in my post, 17 Experiences to Have in Morocco, tagine isn’t a specific dish but rather the clay or ceramic cookware that many dishes are prepared in – typically, in “slow cooked” style meals.
Photo of lemon, chicken tagine from Jay at The Dishelin Guide (www.dishelinguide.com).
This beef tagine was served ‘shakshouka’ style with cracked eggs over the tomato based meat stew.
Jay indulged in this lamb Kefta (or meatball) tagine.
All the Sweets
Morocco does so many things right when it comes to their cuisine and the sweet treats are no exception. From cookies to flaky pastries to “meskouta” (the word for cake in Morocco) – Moroccans sure know how to please with their post meal sweets. What I loved most about Moroccan desserts is that they were simple, often paired with fruit (like cinnamon dusted oranges, yum) and generally didn’t leave me feeling guilty for indulging in dessert after a larger Moroccan meal.
These pastries were filled with nuts and served in a honey syrup. *swoon*
Dining at Dar Moha in Marrakech was an experience and a half and the dessert did not disappoint.
This more traditional plate of cookies and pastries (paired with mint tea, of course) brought all the ladies to the court-yard.
If you visit Morocco and don’t try mint tea, at least once, did you really visit Morocco? Some speculate that mint tea was introduced to Morocco as early as the 12th century – others insinuate that it was only adopted in the 18th century – either way, they’ve perfected the sweet, minty rendition of green tea, right down the way that it is poured!
Mint tea is typically served hot in these short glasses, hold the glass as such to avoid burning your fingers!
Jay captured the infamous mint Moroccan tea pour, flawlessly.
I’ve tried olives from all over the world and all around the Mediterranean but nothing, I repeat, NOTHING has compared to the delectable olives I tasted in Morocco. The flavor of the olives, whether marinated or not, was addicting (we even had to ask, more than once, for extra plates of olives to be served at our table).
I, very seriously, regret not bringing home any Moroccan olives! My favorite was the light green with hints of tan in the bottom right corner.
Oh, Moroccan salad. <3 Whereas “salad” for Americans is typically a form of lettuce or greens topped with an assortment of veggies, fruits or nuts and a dressing, salad for Moroccan’s is the first course of any meal. Typically, a Moroccan salad consists of five to ten salad dishes, some of these dishes are served hot, others cold. Ranging from steamed lamb brain (admittedly, I skipped that dish) to a delicious eggplant dip, cold marinated cucumbers or tomatoes, steamed carrots, or even a simple plate of olives.
A typical Moroccan salad spread.
Some Moroccan salads are served all on one giant ‘family style’ dish.
Moroccan salad also makes for a great Instagram-worthy opportunity!
The closest I came to camel meat was a stall selling it in the Fez Medina. However, Jay was able to try some on his own! It won’t be so easy to find on a regular menu but you can do as Jay did and buy it at the butcher shop (I, clearly, missed my opportunity) and have it cooked for you right in the medina!
Jay describes the taste of camel meat as a “lean red variety similar to bison” and notes that it’s typically eaten “as a camel ‘burger’ which is really more of a meatball sandwich”. Jay also noted that some may be opposed to the idea of eating camel, however, they’re currently overpopulating the country and have no natural predators – so fret not when trying a camel dish in Morocco.
Pastilla is a traditional Andaulsian dish that is similar to a ‘pot pie’ and were regularly filled with pigeons! Modern adaptations to the pastilla typically consist of chicken or some sort of fish. The dish itself is a perfect combination of sweet and savory, the crisp, crepe like exterior is sweet as it’s garnished with confectioner’s sugar and cinnamon and the interior (whether meat or fish) is combined with onions, oil, and various spices. Unfortunately, the day we had pastilla on our menu, I wasn’t feeling too hot (or rather, I was feeling a tad too hot and I tend to lose my appetite when I’m in hot/humid weather).
Jay, on the other hand, explained that the sweet icing layer on the top of the chicken pastilla he tried was (understandably) “a little too much” for his taste – but that he fully enjoyed his sugarless-seafood pastilla which was filled with shrimp, squid, saffron and noodles – he even claimed it to be his favorite dish of the trip!
One of my sole regrets of my trip to Morocco was not tapping into this perfectly plated pastilla!
Jay, however, tore his pastilla apart! (In every good way possible.)
Couscous is a primary dish served in Morocco and is usually served with some form of a stew on top. Sometimes you can find couscous in the bottom of a tagine dish but we were informed that the couscous is cooked separately and then later added into the bottom of the tagine dish. With Berber origins of over 2,000 years old – it’s safe to say that they have gotten the couscous prep down to a science and if you’re a vegetarian this will almost always be a go-to for you in Morocco. As Jay noted, the typical veggies of carrots, cabbage and squash may be more on the soggy side. I preferred it this way as I combined it with the meat dishes from the tagine and dove into culinary heaven.
Couscous dishes so nice you’ll have to take photos twice! The dishes were so delectable we couldn’t wait for photo ops to dive in!
Dates (& more dates…)
Stuffed dates, candied dates, dates served with beef… Morocco is home to over forty-five different kind of dates and there’s no shortage on how to prepare or serve them. My favorite dates were stuffed with walnuts and served with a sweet milk on the side.
These stuffed dates were a welcome snack at Riad Maison Bleu in Fez, and were perfect for a courtyard photo-op.
I loved the sweet milk that was served with the stuffed dates.
And just in case you need a reminder, dates, dates and more dates!!!
While tourism reigns supreme for Morocco’s economy, a strong second is their agriculture business. Exportation of fruits and vegetables is the country’s second largest economy and it’s no wonder why. Every bite of fruit I tasted was the best I’ve had in my life and guess what? They don’t believe in GMO’s or pesticides.
A cart of fresh veggies making its way to the Fez Medina, look at how beautiful those turnips are!
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*Disclaimer: I was hosted in Morocco as a guest of the Moroccan National Tourism Office. My opinions, as always, remain my own.