The Best Street Food in Marrakech: A Culinary Adventure
Embark on a culinary adventure and explore the vibrant street food scene in Marrakech. Moroccan food is not only delicious but also rich in history and culture. From the bustling food stalls in Jemaa el Fna square to the hidden gems in the winding alleys of the Medina, you'll find an array of mouth-watering treats awaiting you. Discover the incredible flavors of traditional Moroccan dishes and the stories behind them in this comprehensive guide to the best street food in Marrakech.
Tagine: A Moroccan Classic
Introduction to Tagine
Tagine, a traditional Moroccan dish, is synonymous with the country's rich culinary history. The dish is named after the unique cone-shaped pot in which it is cooked and served. Tagines are popular among tourists due to their beautiful presentation and delicious taste. They can be found everywhere in Morocco, from street food stalls to five-star restaurants.
How to Eat Tagine
There's a particular way to eat tagine. Use your right hand to take a small piece of Moroccan bread and scoop up the dish's contents. Traditionally, forks and knives are not used to eat tagine, and it's typically eaten communally, with everyone sharing from a single pot.
Common Types of Tagines
Kefta Tagine: Resembling Shakshuka, this tagine features a tomato sauce base with meatballs and poached eggs.
Tagine du Poulet: Chicken tagine is often served with preserved lemon (a Moroccan classic) and green olives.
Tagine D’Agneau: A favorite among many, this slow-roasted lamb tagine is often served with fruits like prunes or apricots and a sprinkle of almonds.
Tagine du Berber: Named after the Berber people indigenous to Morocco, this tagine is lighter on meat and heavier on vegetables, typically including potatoes, zucchini, carrots, and peas, plus a protein.
Pigeon Pastilla: A Sweet and Savory Delight
What is Pigeon Pastilla?
Pigeon Pastilla is a Moroccan dish that combines sweet, spicy, and savory flavors in a unique way. The pigeon filling is spiced with cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and saffron, while the dough is similar to the flaky filo dough found in baklava. To add to the sweet-savory combination, B’stilla is usually served sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Where to Find Pigeon Pastilla
While you can find pigeon pastilla at street food carts, it's recommended to try this dish at a higher-end café as it's more of a special occasion food.
M’semen: A Moroccan Pastry Delight
Introduction to M’semen
M’semen, or Msemmen, is a Moroccan pastry that resembles a combination of a French crepe and an Indian paratha. It's a delightful treat that can be filled with either sweet or savory ingredients.
How to Choose the Best M’semen
Always make sure you're getting fresh M’semen that's being fried right in front of you, as the taste is significantly better when it's freshly prepared. One M'semen typically costs 5-10 DH (less than $1).
Moroccan Mint Tea: An Essential Experience
The Importance of Mint Tea in Morocco
Mint tea is an integral part of Moroccan culture, served with every meal and offered on every occasion. It's almost impossible to leave Marrakech without trying this refreshing beverage.
The Mint Tea Ritual
There's a whole ritual around tea in Morocco. First, steep a mix of black tea leaves and dried mint, then add a large cube of sugar to the pot. To incorporate the sugar and tea together, pour the tea from up high (the higher, the better), repeating the process three or more times by pouring the cup of tea back into the teapot. The frothiness created by this high pour is said to make the tea less bitter.
Bissara Soup & Moroccan Lentil Soup: Satisfying Staples
Sometimes written as Soupe de fève, Bissara soup is made from the puree of dried fava beans and is always served with a side of crusty Moroccan bread. It's typically a simple dish, eaten at breakfast, and can be found at street food stalls and shops in the souks.
Moroccan Lentil Soup
Moroccan lentil soup is a popular dish worldwide, similar to an Indian Dal. It's a tasty, spicy, filling, and incredibly cheap meal. In Morocco, a typical meal may consist of lentil soup and mint tea, totaling less than $1.
Fresh Pomegranate Juice: A Moroccan Favorite
Where to Find Fresh Pomegranate Juice
While you can find mixed juice vendors in Jemaa El Fna square, locals prefer the orange and pomegranate juice vendors in the streets of the Medina. The juices are made right in front of you, ensuring they're not watered down. There are no set locations for the juice vendors, but they can often be found in Place Des Epices square in Marrakech, near Café des Epices.
Couscous: The National Dish of Morocco
The Tradition of Couscous
Couscous is the national dish of Morocco, typically served only on Fridays, the Muslim holy day. It's eaten communally from a large platter. At tourist restaurants, you can find couscous served any day of the week, but some local spots offer only couscous on Fridays.
What is Couscous?
Couscous is a dish of steam-cooked meat and vegetables, similar to a tagine, but with a base of tiny balls of semolina (similar to pasta). Instead of a tagine, couscous is cooked in a special pot called a Couscousiere. The proper way to eat couscous is with your hands, rolling the semolina into bite-sized pieces.
Cinnamon on Oranges: A Simple Yet Delicious Dessert
A common and simple pairing in Morocco, cinnamon on oranges is often eaten as a dessert. One of the best places to try this delightful treat is at Café Des Epices in the Old Medina.
Mechoui: A Marrakech Must-Try
Introduction to Mechoui
Mechoui is a whole slow-roasted lamb that's sold by weight and eaten with Moroccan bread. The shops in Mechoui Alley, located next to the olive stalls off of Jemaa el Fna square, have been cooking lamb for generations.
Chez Lamine: A Famous Restaurant in Mechoui Alley
Chez Lamine, the most famous restaurant in Mechoui Alley, is owned by a man whose father used to make Mechoui for the late King Hassan II. The restaurant offers Mechoui by the kilogram, as well as Tangia and whole sheep's heads.
Moroccan Pastries: A Sweet Treat for Everyone
Moroccan pastries, also known as sweetmeats, are a delight for anyone with a sweet tooth. Common ingredients in these treats include pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, dates, figs, rosewater, and sugar. Be mindful of nut allergies, as these pastries are often cooked together, leading to cross-contamination.
Marrakech is a food lover's paradise, offering a diverse array of Moroccan food to delight your taste buds. From tagines to pastries, there's something for everyone in this culinary adventure. Don't miss out on the opportunity to explore the vibrant street food scene in Marrakech and discover the incredible flavors of traditional Moroccan dishes.