Food is a major part of Moroccan culture. Its diverse and intense flavors perfectly capture Morocco’s multiethnic background, tumultuous history and rich heritage – and they’re an integral part of the country’s renowned hospitality. Best of all? Moroccan food is absolutely delicious.
Influenced by Arabic, Berber, Andalusian, and French traditions, Morocco’s cuisine is filled with intriguing flavor combinations that will surprise you with every bite. Think fresh sardines seasoned with a tasty combination of parsley, coriander, cumin and a dash of chili. Or an unexpected rich pigeon meat pie coated with cinnamon and sugar icing.
It’s said that Morocco’s traditional dishes are tastiest when served at home. So, eat with a family if you can or at least a family-owned restaurant during your journey through Morocco. If you can’t then some of the best food can also be found in riads.
Our favorite Moroccan food!
Morocco’s most famous dish is actually named after the conical clay pot in which it’s cooked. A staple in every menu – from roadside stalls to top notch restaurants – tagine consists of a warm stew of tender meat and vegetables seasoned with a blend of spices and always served with a side of khobz (bread). Slow-cooked chicken with green olives and lemons is arguably the classic base but make sure to try the kefta variety where minced lamb or beef is rolled into balls, cooked in a tomato and onion sauce, and topped with an egg.
Also called seksu, couscous is another staple in Moroccan cuisine that dates back to the 13th century. Traditionally, it’s a time-consuming process to prepare as fine wheat pasta is rolled by hand before being steamed over a stew of meat and vegetables. To serve, the couscous covers the meat in a pyramid shape with vegetables pressed to the side and a sauce served separately. Couscous is usually saved for special days and holidays such as weddings, funerals and the end of Ramadan, but it can always be found in any restaurant throughout Morocco.
Before getting to the tagine or the couscous, though, every Moroccan meal will begin with a vegetable salad and khobz to warm up your appetite. And to spice things up, a side of zaalouk is traditionally served to add some flavor to your entrée. This smoked eggplant dip seasoned with garlic, cumin, paprika and a dash of chili powder is the perfect addition to your Moroccan meal.
When you’re on-the-go in the morning, there’s nothing better than Morocco’s most beloved street food. For a few pennies at a food stall, this hearty soup of dried broad beans will also come with a delicious side of freshly baked khobz. Typically served at breakfast, with olive oil, cumin and sometimes paprika dusted on top, b’ssara is sure to leave you feeling satisfied until lunchtime!
But it’s not all stews and purées: Morocco’s long coastline also means that the national cuisine is filled with tasty fish recipes cooked with the freshest catch of the day. Chermoula is one of the local favorite ways to season it – its tasty combination of herbs and spices is perfect to marinate the fish before grilling or to use as a dipping sauce.
This traditional Berber soup has many variations throughout Morocco but the most basic recipes will include flour, lentils, chickpeas, tomatoes, a blend of spices, some pieces of lamb or chicken and a squeeze of lemon juice. Usually served as a starter, this hearty soup is actually filling enough to be a meal in itself and it’s traditionally used to break the fast at sunset during Ramadan.
A Fassi (from Fez) specialty, b’stilla is thought to have been originally brought over to Morocco from Andalucía by the Moors. An elaborate pie, b’stilla creates an intriguing mix of salty and sweet with pigeon meat cooked in spices and topped with a layer of toasted and ground almonds and cinnamon, all wrapped in warka pastry. Traditionally served at weddings and other celebrations, b’stilla has also become a street food staple and it’s the ultimate Moroccan sweet-savory combination!
Jokingly referred to as “Berber whiskey”, mint tea is Morocco’s national drink. It is woven into the country’s most ancient practices of hospitality and serving it is an art form. Gunpowder tea is flavored with sprigs of fresh mint and heavily sweetened with sugar chipped off a sugar cone. It’s usually poured from metal teapots into glasses from a great height to create a bubbly froth called “the crown” which is meant to make it more appealing.
So which dish are you most looking forward to trying? Journey Beyond Travel can help arrange a culinary adventure in Morocco. Stay in beautiful riads with great meals, take a food tour, and enjoy dining under the stars just for starters! Contact us today to start planning.