Trying out local food has always been a favorite part of most travelers. The excitement of trying out new dishes that taste foreign to their taste buds is an adventure in itself. Moroccan dishes are one of the reasons why tourists are attracted to the place, and they are never disappointed. Here are some top 10 foods that you should eat while you are here.
The first on the list is Tagine, whose name was derived from a cooking pot made of clay and with a cone-shaped lid. It is a traditional slow-cooked stew of different varieties, since it can be a combination of different meats and fruits, seasoned with the best Moroccan spices. This is a must-try because it is classic Moroccan food, and you can never really say that you have been to Morocco if you haven’t eaten this. The best way to eat it is to do what the locals do – dip pieces of khobz (a round flat bread) to get all the flavors. And here is the fun part – you can get it practically anywhere. A piece of advice though – homemade Tagine is best, as compared to the ones you get from the restaurants.
Couscous is originally from Morocco. Its name originated from the Berber word Seksu, meaning “well rolled”. It is normally served with vegetables and chickpeas over the meat in one, big communal plate with everyone eating on the same plate. In Morocco, instead of using utensils (spoon & fork), we use our right hands. Not the left, but only the right hand. You must only eat the section that is in front of you because it is impolite if you get the other people’s portion. Using our hands, we roll the couscous into a ball to eat.
A classic dish in Morocco, crispy yet mouthwatering, Pastilla is a traditional Andalusian Moroccan dish. The traditional filling is pigeon (now they mostly use chicken instead of pigeons), roasted almond, sugar, cinnamon, and eggs wrapped up in a pie. This is a must in every special occasion in Morocco. If you are a fan of a sweet and salty combination, then our Pastilla is the best choice for you while you are here.
Harira is another delicacy and is also known as Morocco’s national soup. This is very popular as a starter. This is also our food during the fasting month of Ramadan. It is a famous tomato and lentil soup in Morocco. This soup, along with others, is used traditionally for breakfast. This is basically made with lamb but chicken thighs or gravy beef can also be possible, chickpeas, plenty of tomatoes, a few herbs and of course it will not be completed without spices. Its taste and aroma are truly enticing and if you are a soup lover, then this should be in your bucket list.
5. Maghrebi Mint tea
OK this one is not a food, we all need a drink after eating all that food mentioned above. In Morocco, this is more than a drink. Drinking tea is the evidence of our hospitality and friendship and you will really feel that upon drinking this. We always offer this drink to welcome visitors in our homes. This Moroccan beverage is a combination of green tea, spearmint leaves, and sugar. It has a really smooth and sweet taste. Even if you’re not fond of drinking tea, this tea is such an important part of Moroccan culture, it is worth trying at least once while you are here.
If you are a vegetarian, then you must really try Zaalouk. This is technically considered as a salad in Morocco, but we also use this as a spread so we can avoid having to live on boring bread alone. It is made of aubergines (eggplants for America) mixed with delicious Moroccan spices and it has a velvety texture. Sometimes, we prepare it with pumpkins or carrots. This can be eaten as a side dish, or it can also be a dip. By the way, this is best served chilled.
7. Spicy Sardines
Morocco is the largest exporter of tinned sardines in the world, so it is only proper to try it while you are in our country. We usually stuff them with chermoula paste, which is a green paste made of cilantro and parsley and flavorful spices (cumin, turmeric, paprika, chili powder, and more), and then we coat them in flour and fry them. This is a truly tasty snack for people who love sardines, and maybe even for those who don’t.
Kefta could be any kind of ground meat, it’s really your choice. You can choose from beef, lamb or chicken. The ground meat is mixed with different spices (cumin, paprika, onion) and some herbs (coriander and parsley). Traditionally, we put a lot of these ingredients to make them have a stronger taste and they are grinded altogether. Kefta kebabs are best served with salad and couscous.
9. Kaab el Ghazal
In its literal sense, Kaab el Ghazal means “gazelle ankles” and from reading this, it may be a little weird to eat it, but in Morocco, these are delicious cookies, shaped like the crescent moon. These are more popularly called Gazelle Horns or Cornes de Gazelle in French and are mostly served for special occasions. The pastry is filled with almond paste and smells orange-y (because of the orange flower water) and baked until it is almost golden. In some occasions, you can eat this with a dip in orange flower water and afterwards you can also dust it with sugar (in that case, it will now be called Kaab el Ghazal M’fenned).
Just in case you are in Morocco during the cold season (check our advice for the best time to come to Morocco), this soup is the best to eat because it gives the body energy. This is made from dried and peeled fava beans (broad, yellow beans), garlic, olive oil and some spices (we just love spices!) and it is often breakfast food during those cold winter nights. Bissara is a light and digestible dish and it can be served as an entrée or a main dish. Originally, this dish is eaten by the less-fortunate people, but it has become very popular among people from all walks of life.