Sunday, August 7, 2022

Food & Drinks in Morocco

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Food in Morocco

Moroccan cuisine is often described as one of the best in the world, with countless dishes and variations that proudly bear the country’s colonial and Arab influences. Unfortunately, being a tourist in Morocco, particularly if you are on a budget, you are often restricted to a small selection of dishes which seem to be dominant on the menus of every café and restaurant in the country. Most restaurants serve dishes that are foreign to Morocco, considering that Moroccans can eat their local dishes at home. With the exception of large cities, Moroccans do not generally eat in restaurants, so international cuisine choices such as French, Italian, and Chinese are common.

Traditional cuisine

  • Couscous, made from semolina grains and steamed in a sieve-like dish called a couscoussière, is the staple food of most Moroccans and probably the best-known Moroccan dish. It can be served as a side dish with a stew or tajine, or mixed with meat and vegetables and presented as a main course. Almost all Moroccan restaurants keep up the tradition of serving couscous on Fridays.
  • Tagine (or tajine), a spicy stew of meat and vegetables simmered for many hours in a conical clay pot (from which the dish derives its name). Restaurants offer dozens of variations (starting at MAD25 in a budget restaurant), including chicken tajine with lemon and olives, honey-sweetened lamb or beef, fish or prawn tajine in a spicy tomato sauce. There are many variations of this dish.
  • A popular Moroccan dish among Berbers is Kaliya, a mixture of lamb, tomatoes, peppers, and onions, which is served together with couscous and bread.
  • A popular delicacy in Morocco is the pastilla, where thin pieces of flaky pastry are layered between sweet, spiced meat filling (often lamb or chicken, but preferably pigeon) and layers of almond paste. The pastry is wrapped in a plate-sized pastry, which is baked and dusted with icing sugar and cinnamon. The preparation is very time-consuming, so pastilla should be ordered a day in advance. Restaurants that serve pastilla to order can only serve the industrial version, which comes from a freezer (but they will still charge you the price of a handmade one).
  • Many convenient eating places offer stews such as loubia (white beans), adassa (lentils) and ker ain (sheep’s foot with chickpeas).
  • Fish from the southern beaches are typically quite fresh ( they were caught during the very same day) and also cheap!. A mixed fish platter can be had for about MAD25 at stalls in fishing village markets, while a huge platter of grilled sardines costs about MAD15 to MAD20. If you buy fresh fish at the fish market, a kilogram of fish costs between MAD5 and MAD20 (the latter for a small type of tuna). Most restaurants in the fishing villages have a grill in front of them and will grill any fish you bring them for MAD30 (including fries, salad and of course bread). Fish can be gutted on request at the market. A small tip of MAD1 to MAD2 is appropriate for gutting.
  • Sfenj: These deep-fried donuts made from unsweetened yeast dough, dusted with sugar, are a popular and very filling snack that can be had all over the country for MAD1 each. They want to be eaten very fresh. Look out for stalls with a huge bowl of hot oil.

Many cafés and restaurants also offer cheap petit déjeun breakfasts, which essentially include a tea or coffee, orange juice (jus d’orange) and a croissant or bread with jam from MAD10.

  • A Moroccan meal often starts with a hot dish of harira ( in French, soup marocene), a tasty soup made up of lentils, chickpeas, mutton, tomatoes, and vegetables. Surprisingly, among Moroccans, harira has more of a role as a nutritious meal for “bluebloods” than as a high-flying cuisine.
  • Soups are also a traditional breakfast in Morocco. Bissara, a thick porridge of split peas and a generous drizzle of olive oil, can be seen bubbling in the morning near markets and in medinas.

Snacks and fast food

Snackers and budget-conscious people get their money’s worth in Morocco. Rotisserie chicken shops abound, where you can get a quarter of chicken with fries and salad for about MAD20. Sandwiches (from MAD10) served in chicken fryers or small shops are also popular. These fresh, crispy baguettes are topped with a variety of fillings such as tuna, chicken, skewers and different salads. The whole thing is rounded off with the obligatory chips stuffed into the sandwich and a blob of mayonnaise squirted on top.

You may also see traders and vendors selling a variety of nuts as well as steamed broad beans and grilled corn on the cob.

Drinks in Morocco

While the country is predominantly Muslim, Morocco is not dry.

Alcohol is available in restaurants, liquor shops, bars, supermarkets, clubs, hotels and discos. Some Moroccans enjoy a drink, although it is frowned upon in public places. The local brew of choice bears the highly original name Casablanca Beer. It is a full-bodied lager that can be enjoyed with local cuisine or as a refreshment. Other typical Moroccan beers include Flag Special and Stork. There is also the local Judeo Berber vodka, which tastes mildly of aniseed and is brewed from figs. Morocco is also producing a wide variety of wines – several with remarkable quality. A bottle in supermarkets starts at MAD35 and goes up to MAD1000; a good quality wine can be had for as little as MAD50.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal, even if you have only had one beer

As a rule, you should not drink tap water at all in Morocco, not even in hotels, as it contains much more minerals than the water in Europe. For locals this is not a problem as their bodies are used to it and can cope with it, but for travellers from countries like Europe, drinking the tap water usually leads to an illness. Generally this is not serious, an upset stomach is the only symptom, but it is enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday.

Bottled water is widely available. The most popular brands of water are Oulmes ( which is carbonated) and Sidi Ali, Sidi Harazem and Ain Sais Danon. Nothing with a high mineralisation is produced (so far?).

Every traveller is offered mint tea at least once a day. The Moroccan people, even the economically the most humble, are supplied with a teapot and a number of glasses. Although the offer is sometimes more of a lure into a deal than a hospitable gesture, it is polite to accept. Before you drink, look the host in the eye and say “ba saha ou raha”. This means “enjoy and relax” and any local will be impressed by your language skills.

Note that a woman travelling alone may feel more comfortable having a drink or snack in a patisserie or restaurant, as cafés are traditionally for men. However, this does not apply to couples.

How To Travel To Morocco

With plane There are flights to Casablanca from New York, Montreal, Dubai and many different European cities, including seasonal charter flights to Agadir. Many European airlines fly to Morocco. Some of these airlines include Iberia, TAP Portugal, Air France, Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish Airlines, Norwegian, BMI, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Air Berlin,...

How To Travel Around Morocco

With train Trains are generally the best option due to their speed, frequency and comfort. However, the network is limited and only connects Marrakech and Tangier via Casablanca and Rabat. A branch line to Oujda starts in Sidi Kachem and connects Meknes and Fez with the main line. People are incredibly...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Morocco

All visitors to Morocco require a valid passport, but visitors from the following countries are not required to obtain a visa prior to arrival: Schengen Member States, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Ivory Coast, Croatia, Republic of Congo, Guinea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, Libya,...

Destinations in Morocco

Cities Rabat - The capital of Morocco; very relaxed and stress-free, highlights are a 12th century tower and minaret. Agadir - It is best to visit Agadir because of its beaches. The town is a fine example of modern Morocco, with less emphasis on history and culture. A few cents on...

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Hotels in Morocco are a matter of choice and suit every budget. Classified hotels range from 1 star (basic) to 5 stars (luxury) and are classified as auberge, riad, rural gîtes d'étape or hotel. Stays usually include breakfast, and many include dinner. Places to stay Auberges are located in the countryside...

Things To See in Morocco

Morocco is only a few hours away from many major European cities, and visitors will be amazed by the wonderful colors, smells, and sounds of Islamic Africa. Imagine bustling souks and spice markets, stunning mosques, whitewashed seaside towns and medieval city centres. From the snowy mountains of the High...

Things To Do in Morocco

Tours Marrakech is a good starting point for exploring the High Atlas Mountains or organising one to four-day Sahara treks. Hammams There are two types of hammam (steam baths) throughout Morocco. The first one is a sightseeing hammam, where visitors can be pampered and rubbed out by experienced staff. As these are only...

Weather & Climate in Morocco

The country's Mediterranean climate is similar to that of southern California, with lush forests in the mountain ranges of northern and central California giving way to drier conditions and deserts further inland in the southeast. The Moroccan coastal plains have remarkably moderate temperatures even in summer, due to the...

Money & Shopping in Morocco

Money in Morocco The Moroccan dirham is used as the local currency, and its ISO 4217 symbol is MAD ( also sometimes abbreviated as Dh, Dhs, DH, or درهم, or دراهم, the plural of Dhm). It is split up into 100 cents (c). There are coins in denominations of 5c, 10c,...

Festivals & Events in Morocco

The biggest event in the Moroccan calendar is the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during the day and break their fast at sunset. Most restaurants are closed at lunchtime (with the exception of those catering specifically to tourists), and things generally slow down. Travelling during this time is...

Traditions & Customs in Morocco

Greetings among close friends and family (but rarely between men and women!) usually take the form of three kisses on the cheek. In other circumstances, shaking hands is the norm. Touching your heart with your right hand after shaking hands signifies respect and sincerity. When approaching someone or entering...

Internet & Communications in Morocco

Phone Public telephones are found in city centres, but private telephone offices (also called teleboutiques or telekiosks) are also common. The international dialling code (for dialling out of the country) is 00. All numbers are ten digits long, counting the initial 0, and the whole number must be dialled within...

Language & Phrasebook in Morocco

Arabic and Berber are official languages in Morocco. However, local Moroccan Arabic, a dialect of Maghreb Arabic (spoken in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria), is very different from Standard Arabic, so even native Arabic speakers from outside the region would not understand the conversations of the locals. However, all Moroccans...

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An ethnically diverse country, Morocco is rich in culture and civilisation. Many people throughout Morocco's history have come from the East (Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Jews, Arabs), the South (Sub-Saharan Africans) and the North (Romans, Andalusians). All these civilisations have influenced the social structure of Morocco. It hosts various forms of...

History Of Morocco

Prehistory and Antiquity The region that today constitutes Morocco has been inhabited since the Paleolithic, between 190,000 and 90,000 years before Christ. In the upper paleoliths, the Maghreb looked more fertile than today, more like a savannah than an arid landscape. 22,000 years ago, the Aterian was replaced by the...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Morocco

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