6 Moroccan dishes you need to try and where to find them

in travel •  8 months ago 

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Anyone who’s been to Morocco would say that the cuisine was one of the highlights of their trip. There is no denying the sheer diversity of the local food scene but most importantly, Moroccan recipes are hard to replicate.

Cooking is an art there that requires time and efforts. It is also extremely creative, blending all kinds of spices and herbs without ever being too hot. The key could be summed up as putting all the right amount of everything in order to bring the flavours out of the ingredients and take a simple dish to the next level. Because let’s face it, freshness is good, but freshness with a Moroccan twist is even better.

Here’s a list of the dishes we most enjoyed during our time in the Moroccan Kingdom.

1. Couscous




This traditional recipe has to top the list because it is simply too iconic. Even though it can be found in different versions across North Africa, the Moroccan’s is said to be one of the best. The Couscous Royal is especially famed as it combines a variety of meat, from lamb to hot sausage, and tasty veggies complimented by a flavourful sauce.

Originally, the couscous was a holiday dish bringing families together on Fridays, the Muslim day of prayer. Nowadays, it can be found in most tourist restaurants but it does taste ten times better if you can manage to get yourself invited at a traditional home.

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WHERE: Chez Said, not too far from the Bab Boujloud and within the Fes medina, is a very touristy spot but still delivers a pretty solid couscous royal, contrary to many other places that water down the sauce to render a very bland version of an otherwise tasty dish (approx.. 45DH).

2. Tajine




Tajine comes a close second since it is almost as iconic as the couscous. After seeing hundreds of small, medium and big tajine pots all around the country’s flea markets, you will definitely crave to try it on a bigger scale. It is truly satisfying to see the waiter bring the clay tajine pot to your table but what’s even more satisfying is the first whiff you will get out of it: a blend of cumin, cinnamon and other delicate seasoning.

The first bite into the piece of lamb or fish you’ve ordered will also be a treat, since the key to a good tajine is its slow cooking method, meaning that all ingredients have time to deliver on all their flavours. Popular tajines can come with an endless list of side ingredients: olives and lemon confit, eggs, not to forget the Holy Grail of tajines that is the lamb with prunes and almonds.

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WHERE: Being a dish that requires time to cook, a tajine is typically the kind of dish that can be ordered at a ryad. However, there are a few restaurants that do it right and the Amal Center in Marrakesh is one of them. This non-profit association gives disadvantaged women an opportunity to thrive through cooking and the end result is incredible (approx. 150DH).

3. Pastilla




If you’re looking for a dish that bursts with flavour at every bite, stop looking and have a pastilla, especially if you’re an almond and cinnamon lover. This traditional pie has no counterpart in that it is sweet and savoury at the same time, blending spices that you would expect to find in a dessert with the distinctive taste of chicken, or pigeon in its birthplace of Fes.

To top it off, pastilla comes in crispy layers of dough that perfectly enhance its rich and intense aromas. It is a dish of champions that will fill you up pretty fast though, and it usually comes with some salad on the side, so you can expect to share it if you think your stomach won’t take it.

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WHERE: The Nid’cigogne restaurant in Marrakesh probably doesn’t serve the most traditional version of the pastilla, since it first originated in Fes, but it still does a good job. Plus, you will get to enjoy a superb view on the Moulay Al Yazid Mosque and catch a glimpse on a family of storks living nearby (95DH).

4. Msemen




Having said that Moroccan cuisine takes time to cook it to perfection, it is fair to assume that street food isn’t huge in the country. There are some exceptions though, and the msemen are one of them. These local crepes may look unassuming, not to mention the fact that they’re sold in tiny stalls with no tourist in a five-mile radius, but they’re the ideal snack for lunch time. You can buy them raw, without any topping, as they’re tasty enough on their own. Yet, it would be a pity not to try them with cream cheese for another level of awesome.

This dish will take you far away from the intricate spices of tajines and pastillas but there are enough sorts of msemen to give you a nice change of pace, from red spicy ones to thick buttery ones.

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WHERE: Most markets will have a stall selling these inexpensive snacks but you will also find a variety of msemen stalls on the Avenue Mohamed V in Rabat(approx. 3DH per msemen with cheese).

5. Harira




Let’s keep exploring the Moroccan street food scene and delve into a healthy soup widely consumed in the Maghreb region. The harira is a tasty concoction of lentils, tomatoes, herbs like parsley and coriander, spices like saffron and ginger, with some olive oil or lemon to blend everything together. It can be served as a starter but also as a main dish, since you can ask for a refill practically anywhere. This hearty soup makes for an enjoyable comfort dish and a rather light one too, which can give a break to your stomach after eating a couple tajines in a row.

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WHERE: Go to the stall 75 on Plaza Jemaa el Fna in Marrakesh to get some savoury harira along with fresh dates and pastry. Given that everything is overpriced on this very (extremely) touristy spot, this is about your only chance to eat something local with the locals. Plus, you will pay a reasonable price which is in itself a true achievement there (approx. 5DH).

6. Moroccan pastries




No proper Moroccan food list would be complete without mentioning the local pastries. Beware if you’re not a sweets person since the sugar overload is real. Honey, almonds, cinnamon, orange blossom water, are some of the key ingredients and they taste so good put together that it would be a shame to skip dessert, even if you’re not usually into sweets.

Sure, you’ll have to eat these pastries with a lot of moderation as one bite will be enough to melt your body into a gigantic piece of sugar. Fat is also on the menu as most pastries are made of fried dough, such as the briouats and chebakya, but you cannot leave Morocco without trying them.

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WHERE: Pastries are sold in every market and you’ll even be able to watch the whole process as they are usually being cooked right in front of you. There is an array of great pastries for a fair price at the entrance of the Fes medina. Don’t forget to sip a cup of mint tea while you’re at it!



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I've clearly been missing out in life bu not trying out Moroccan food. All the dishes look great. But the one I really have my eye on is the Pastilla, hmmm!

Lol and the Mint tea, you have me there! I love me some tea!

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The mint tea is just so good and you can have it at every place since it's like the traditional drink of the country.

Glad you enjoyed the Pastilla part :D

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I could get used to getting served mint tea everywhere I go.I dont know much about the country so i'm gald to find people who can teach me. I've only been to north africa once and that was to Egypt.

I really do want to go to Morocco to attend this one day - http://theoasisfest.com/

Much love from South Africa, followed you so I can keep in touch

Hiya, just swinging by to let you know that this post made the Honorable mentions list in today's Travel Digest #320. Please drop by to check out all the rest of today's great posts and consider upvoting the Travel Digest if you like what we're doing.

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@haydae You show us today delicious dishes from the culinary culture of Morocco. They all look spectacular. It provokes me to make a rich meal of seeing so many varied and excellent dishes. The couscous with that combination of meats and vegetables with a rich and thick sauce is a real wonder. The tajine with its pleasant aroma melted my palate. The almond tablet should be a delicacy accompanied by a varied salad with lettuce, tomato and ojas de llerbabuena. Excellent also to enjoy a soup that never should lack in our table with so natural ingredients. Excellent post. A great greeting.

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Thanks @yeninsfer glad you enjoyed our post, indeed every food we ate in Morocco was spectacular and good! One of our best trip for food !

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Thank you for showing us a variety of dishes typical of the culture of this beautiful country. It is charming on a trip to enjoy delicious, pleasant, natural and varied food. The sweets also give even more joy to the trip and stay in the beautiful country of Morocco. A big greeting.

I just finished eating Marang Fruit and now I saw this delicious foods again!
Is it possible not to be full and always hungry? Lol!

Hello Haydae!
The photos themselves are delicious! How would you feel it the moment you ate them, super super super delicious?

By the way, have you traveled the Philippines?

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Don't worry every time we see food we get hungry too even if we ate a whole pizza before ;D
It was super delicious! But a lot of the time the food was super super hot so you have to wait before eating it even if the food is just in front of you!

We were supposed to go to the Philippines but at the last moment we canceled our plans, and now we are trying to reschedule a trip there in the next 2 year.

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Oh! That would be great!
Here in the Philippines now we have super typhoon 'Ompong'( local name). I hope you would travel here during summer time March, April and May. Typhoon season is from June - November.

I love the plate of couscous that is so loaded up you can barely see the couscous! The food all looks delicious and I would have to be rolled out of that country I think. I'm also interested to see all the unique plates and tables. What a fascinating place. I think I would be eating a lot of the soup with dates and pastry. That looks so yummy to me :)

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Haha it's so true for the couscous! It is so loaded up that it can be really hard to have a spoon with all the ingredient mixed in it XD
If you ever go to Morocco you can eat as much soup as you want since it's one of the cheapest dishes in the country !

These local crepes may look unassuming, not to mention the fact that they’re sold in tiny stalls with no tourist in a five-mile radius, but they’re the ideal snack for lunch time. You can buy them raw, without any topping, as they’re tasty enough on their own.

I might have to skip the rest as i'm fairly fussy with what i eat but i do have a sweet tooth. The crepes look great and i'm sure that i could find a few nice toppings to go with them. And maybe some pastries after. Never a bad call.

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Yep you are totally right those crepe are always great even without toppings !

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I'm getting hungry now since we are talking about food. I wouldn't mind having a plate of them in front of me now.

howdy from Texas haydae! I love this, this is a great post because it is bring dishes to us that most of us have never heard of but look so wonderful even though foreign! The only thing is, where are the photos of the pastries? Did you eat them before you had a chance to take pictures? lol.
I'd love to try all the dishes but probably the Pastilla looks the best to me. So you guys travel all the time or just on vacation for these exotic destinations?

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Glad we can help steemit travels and foodies communities discover new stuff :D
Lol. To tell you the truth the pastries where so good but also so full of honey that we didn't manage to get good shots since our hands were so sticky!

We just go on vacation when we have time, maybe someday we will be full time travelers ^^

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howdy again haydae! thanks for getting back to me..full time travelers? you mean like when you retire you will just travel all the time?

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Well full-time travelers are mostly bloggers with successful Instagram or blogs that can travel around the world and lives from their content creation.

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well howdy haydae! oh ok, now that makes sense, if you can make enough off of your blog then you have the freedom to travel, got it. thanks for the explanation!

The Couscous and Tajine were words that played at the back of my head for years but never bothered to learn about the meaning of what they were. I mostly heard them from some travel blog years ago but the meaning never stuck. I got my answer here and it's a delicious revelation. Most of what you said I can only imagine but as an enthusiast for cooking something up in the kitchen, I'm now interested in exploring Moroccan Dishes.

This was a specific food travel guide and I appreciate the level of effort you've put into leading people to where the best dishes are served with honest opinions too.

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It's true that there are some dishes that you keep hearing about without having a clear idea what it is. Glad this post helped you figure out what tajines and couscous are and that it made you want to try them for yourself. Both these dishes probably take a lot of time to cook on your own but I'm sure that must be a great challenge. :)
Thank you for sharing your opinion anyway.

@haydae Now i feel hungry after i saw all the delicious food. I stay in a multi culture country. So the food looks familiar and feel like home to me. But I haven't come across these food. Couscous really attracted me:) Is it spicy? It look delicious. If have chance,hope i can travel to Moroccan and grab all these delicious food. Thank you for sharing, your article very useful for anyone who love to travel. So that they won't miss any good food in the country.

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That's right, when you live in a multicultural country most dishes from all around the world ring a bell but you can find a lot more hidden treasures on the spot, of course.
The food wasn't too spicy but rather fragrant if I might say so.
Thanks for sharing your opinion anyway and do not hesitate to share your experience if you get the chance to visit Morocco. :)

The harira seems like a tasty delight I love the fact that it looks like a meal that can be eaten for either breakfast, dinner or lunch.
Tomato is basically used to prepare the soup Sonoma expecting that it may have other type of spice since it contains saffron.
Would've made for something different if it has meat inside of it.
But I like the fact that the soup looks nourishing, never actually heard of this food from morocco, I think I like it best

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Yes it's a really special dish and a filling one, even though there's not a single piece of meat within. It is not the most popular food for tourists but one of the most authentic we've had!

I have never really heard much about Moroccan cuisine maybe its not too popular because it requires quite an effort to make. They all look really delicious especially that couscous, there is a whole lot going on there, I bet there will be an explosion of different flavors once it reaches one's mouth.

The Pastilla looks like it will taste really delicious as well, so also the tajine. I do looks forward to trying out these dishes someday, somehow. Well, for me to get an authentic feel of it, I would need to travel there....

Thanks for writing this post, I believe its gonna help out a lot of people that would love to travel there, knowing where to get the best food definitely is important to enjoying one's travel.

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Yeah I guess you're onto something here: Moroccan cuisine does take a lot of time and efforts so I guess that's why it's hard to come across great traditional food when you're abroad. As you put it, tajines, couscous and pastilla really are flavourful with a lot of fragrance and spices blending together.
Thanks for sharing anyway and hopefully, this post will be helpful to some fellow travelers discovering Morocco.

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Making them is definitely a labor of love, those people have passion for the cooking "art", tasting them will be an amazing experience.

It sure will be of great help!

Im a big foodie :-) (as you can see in my little blog) so it’s an fantastic thing for me to see your new and exciting dishes from an other culture 👌

Some day I travel also to Marrakesh And try to eat as much as I can in the street food scene 😀 as most I like the Harira soup, great ingredients and spices in it 👍

Greetings from Germany - Europe ✌️

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We just saw that, these are some pretty good-looking dishes on your blog too. :) To be honest, tasting the local cuisine is reason enough to visit Morocco so do not hesitate to go there if you get the chance!
Greetings from Normandy. ;)

I would love to try some of those 6 dishes, Thanks for your recommendations and for showing us a bit of the culinary culture of Morocco .. Excellent post !! Greetings from Venezuela

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Thanks for sharing and glad you appreciated this post! Moroccan food is really as tasty as it looks so I hope you'll get the chance to try it.

I love this type of posts that teach me new things about countries that I do not know, and that besides being food, they have a plus because my heart wins (although it sounds cliché to say it, it's like this <3) I have a desire to go to morocco and just to try each and every one of those dishes and drinks, all, because you see that none NONE has waste! thanks for instructing us in the culinary arts, great post!

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Thanks for your comment, glad you've liked our post! Traveling to Morocco is very rewarding since there's so much to see and taste there so I hope you'll get the chance to visit someday. :)

These look yummy. I don't know why i am beginning to feel hungry all of a sudden. A country's cuisine is their treasure. I have never travelled out of my country before but whenever i visit a place in my country, i make sure i try the local dishes.
If i ever find myself in morocco, i would love to try these out.

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Haha we might get an idea of why you're suddenly feeling so hungry! It's true that you can get a real sense of a place through its food, whether it's in your home country or abroad and that's part of what draws us to traveling too. :)

Hey @haydae, thank you for sharing this list of yummy food of Morocco. It is definitely one of my places to visit and I am very attracted to the Pastilla:

especially if you’re an almond and cinnamon lover.

YES! Hehe. Is Pastilla sweet and savoury all in one dish? I like the look of the dough. I have tried couscous and Tajine because there are some Moroccan restaurants in my country but I'm sure it won't be the same as the original. But I have not seen Pastilla, Msemen and Harira.

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It is sweet and savoury, that's the magic of it! Plus the dough is really crispy and tasty too so you definitely need to try it. It's true that most Moroccan restaurants serve the usual couscous and tajines and not much else, but that's an even better reason to come to Morocco right? :)

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Oh gosh... you are making me salivate!! I want to try the dough!! And interestingly enough, I don't find it in the Moroccan restaurants here. Yup, Morocco it is, my next destination! :) Thank you so much for sharing them with us. Happy weekend there @haydae!

Whoah! Great foods to try huh! I wish I can find them here in the Philippines. 😊 And the couscous looks especially tempting. Is that spicy? How is this cooked or prepared?

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I'm sure you do have a lot of delicious food in the Philippines too!
It wasn't that spicy, which was a good surprise since we can't really take spicy food. x)
To be honest, we knew how to eat it but not really how to cook it haha.

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we knew how to eat it but not really how to cook it haha.

Cheers to that! I myself is a happy eater but terrible cook. :D

Well yes, we have many delicious foods too. There are adobo, lechon, sinigang and more... I like sinigang the best. It is a soup with sour and savory taste. Main ingredients are meat (but I like it more when this is prawn or shrimp) and vegetables. :)

Ohhh, Love it and I'm very interested in getting to know foods from other countries, all the dishes look great but the one that caught my attention the most was the Tajine, it looks delicious, and everything really looks very attractive, I mean visually, thank you for sharing these things, it's great to enrich yourself from all possible cultures.

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The thing about Moroccan cuisine is that it actually tastes as good as it looks. :)
Thanks for sharing your opinion!

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Thanks god my lunch was ready when I stumbled upon your post or else I would have been drooling on my keyboard :)
I come from Greece where there is no lack of amazing recipes and unique flavors but the Moroccan cuisine is almost mythical and your post really tempting!
A trip to Morocco was already in my to do list but now is a little higher in that list!