They say that the longer a meal takes to prepare, the better it tastes. If this is true, Moroccan cuisine is the best in the world. Moroccan meals take hours to prepare and it's worth it. There are so many flavours and layers to each dish.
Eating out in Morocco can be intimidating. Often times when we go to a restaurant, we don't know where to begin and end up ordering a safe and boring dish. To prevent you from being safe and boring like us, we thought we'd round up the best Moroccan food for your next trip to the Middle East.
Moroccan Cuisine: A Cooking Course in Marrakech
We spent an afternoon preparing and cooking an incredible multi-course meal at Riad El Cadi in Marrakech. When we arrived they had tea and appetizers waiting for us as we smelled the rich aromas in the air. We couldn't wait to get cooking. But not until after our snacks consisting fresh nuts, olives and tea.
Love Moroccan Food? Check out a Local's Guide to Marrakech
Once we settled in, we got down to business and spent the afternoon learning about and cooking Moroccan Cuisine. Our night ended with a candlelight feast sitting in a candlelit courtyard enjoying and array of fresh Moroccan food. We gained a better understanding and new appreciation for this exquisite cuisine and we now have the confidence to order whatever we wished off of future Moroccan restaurant menus. It was one of the best afternoons we had in Marrakech. If you go, make sure you book a cooking class of your own.
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Read more about our cooking class at Moroccan Cuisine: A Feast for the Senses
The Best Moroccan Foods you must try
Tip: When eating Moroccan Cuisine, be sure to use your right hand. Often times you'll be scooping up dips, stews, and salads with fresh bread.
Some of the cheapest eats are on the streets, so be sure to go to the market or enjoy a kebab at a street side stall. My recommendation is to look for a spot filled with locals and join in. Moroccans are friendly people and they'll be happy to help you out if you look confused. I never shy away from asking, “what's good?”
Moroccan Cuisine – What to Eat and How to do it
To help you decide what dishes to start with when you do sit down at a restaurant, here are some must try Moroccan food dishes to get you started.
Check out: 11 Remarkable Things to do in Marrakech
Tagine is probably the most popular entrée you'll order in Morocco and it is magnificent. Tagine can either be chicken or lamb and it is a dish slow cooked in a clay pot with a myriad of vegetables, spices, and meats. The flavours infuse during cooking and everything comes out tender and delicious.
When we prepared our Moroccan meal, our feast started with many salads. If you are vegetarian, you are going to love dining in Morocco. We had so many different salads ranging from cabbage, carrots and even lemon and oranges to our favourite salad, eggplant (aubergine) zalouk. The eggplant is slow cooked and then puréed into a flavourful dip with garlic, spices and tomatoes.
Couscous is the staple side dish in Morocco similar to rice or quinoa. However, Moroccans mix flavours in their couscous including raisins, spices and vegetables. Remember, Morocco was a part of the spice route, so when you visit the country, be prepared for meals filled with flavours like you have never had before.
Moroccan cuisine must be the healthiest in the world. It's filled with endless vegetables, spices, and legumes. I love eating the array of stews with fresh bread. For the vegetarians out there, chickpeas are an excellent source of protein. Slow cooked with tomatoes and potatoes, this is the perfect dish served over couscous.
So it may not be Moroccan food, it is a staple in Moroccan cuisine. Morocco is a Muslim country so you won't find a lot of alcohol (although, Westerners will be able to drink wine and beer at restaurants and riads) The mint tea of Morocco is fresh and filled with leaves. We had the best mint tea at the main market of Marrackech (Djemaa el-Fna) where they put blocks of sugar cubes on top of min leaves. Once you order a cup, they pour hot water over the ingredients melding them all together.
Harira Soup is a popular starter dish in Morocco, but it is often eaten at lunch on its own as it has everything you need for a well balanced meal. This tomato based soup is filled with chickpeas, lentils, vegetables and meat. Add some bread to that dish and you have yourself a hearty and filling meal.
Nuts and Olives
You'll be able to order starters of olives at any eatery and often nuts are on the menu or easily picked up at supermarkets. Olives are usually tossed with spicy ketchup or preserved lemons. But the way we like them, is with nothing at all. Make sure to indulge in pistacios when in Morocco, they are so expensive everywhere else in the world. It's a treat to be able to munch on them at will.
Brochettes or Kebabs
If you are looking for a quick eat, stop at a streetside stall to enjoy a kebab. These skewers of chicken, beef, or lamb are spiced to perfection. They're quick, cheap and delicious. It's Moroccan fast food and a kebab will tie you over between meals.
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Baba ghanoush has always been one of our favourite dishes, even before visiting Morocco. This eggplant based dip is mixed with onions, tomatoes and various Moroccan spices. It's a delicious starter served with breads for dipping.
Briwat Rolls are layered filo pastries stuffed with sweet or savoury ingredients. They can be served as appetizers or deserts depending on what you put in them. These bite sized snacks come in different shapes like triangles, long spring rolls or squares. Speaking of desserts, make sure you try Moroccan dessert, there are plenty of delectable snacks to be had and they know how to enjoy a good sweet.
Moroccan Cuisine is some of the best in the world. If you get the chance, try to eat at a local's house. I said it earlier, Moroccans are very friendly, so don't be surprised if you are invited home for dinner by a friendly local. If you don't feel comfortable eating with strangers, there are many tours that offer home cooked meals as a part of their itineraries. I suggest booking a food tour or a cooking course like the one we did at Riyad El Cadi.