10 Traditional Foods to try when visiting Morocco
Morocco is a culturally rich and vibrant country, and not surprisingly, their food is a reflection of that.
Traditional dishes were influenced by several cultures and their cuisines, such as Arabic, Berber, Andalusian and Mediterranean.
The great thing about this is that you, the visitor, will be treated to a delicious and unique fusion of flavours.
Spices and herbs are used freely to give dishes very distinct tastes. And, the slow cooking method that is very prevalent here, using the tagine, helps to create some very delicious dishes.
I know from my own travel experiences with friends and family, that it’s not always easy to be open to new foods.
But for the love of God, try and be a little bit adventurous would ya. HAHA
Seriously though, food is such a big part of the identity of many/ most countries, so if you don’t try at least some of the traditional offerings, then you’re missing out on the essence of the place you are visiting.
To help you out, I’m giving you some suggestions for foods that left an impression on me, during my trip to Morocco.
Some I absolutely loved, some just deserve to at least be tried once for the experience.
Seek them out and taste them with an open mind.
Remember you’re on an adventure. Make the most of it.
10 Traditional Foods to try when visiting Morocco
Chicken with Preserved Lemons and Olives
This is a classic Moroccan dish and I ordered it more than once because it was just so good.
Preserved lemons are lemons that have been pickled in salt and their own juices.
Used in dishes such as this one, they impart a strong lemon flavour without the usual sourness or bitterness.
The addition of spices and olives makes for one very delicious dish.
Definitely a must try!
I think this is probably the signature dish of Morocco. It’s definitely the most widely known one.
But what is it exactly?
Basically it’s a stew, made by slow cooking meat, fish or vegetables with a traditional mixture of moroccan spices (cumin, coriander, saffron and paprika).
The ceramic pot that the food is cooked in is actually called a Tagine. It’s designed and shaped in such a way as to retain moisture, which not only keeps the meat and vegetables moist and tender, but also locks in all the amazing flavours.
Look at the beautiful Moroccan Tagine and other pieces of pottery, I just love the colours and patterns.
This is a savory and flaky pastry that’s filled with shredded chicken or other meat, such as pigeon, as well as nuts and spices.
What makes this food interesting is that although this is a savoury food, the top is dusted with sugar and cinnamon, giving it a very unique flavour.
Apparently Pastilla is often served as a dessert in Morocco everyday life, which has me a bit confused since it’s filled with meat.
But hey, I’m not the expert here.
I had it for lunch several times, and loved the chicken filled ones.
Worth trying for sure.
Here’s a different one and they served it with rice, so definitely not a dessert at this restaurant. LOL
These are Morocco’s version of what you might know as kebabs.
They are one of the most popular street foods and you can find them everywhere.
Chunks of chicken, lamb or beef are seasoned and grilled on very long skewers.
The Brochettes are usually served with a side of rice, fries, salad and also on Moroccan bread.
They were delicious, and definitely a must have.
You’ve heard of couscous most likely, maybe you even make it at home sometimes, like I do.
But I want you to know that the couscous in Morocco is definitely tastier.
Couscous is a North African staple food and it’s served as a side to many dishes in Morocco.
It’s made from semolina grains cooked in water and flavoured with spices such as saffron and cinnamon.
Freshly squeezed orange juice
The oranges in Morocco were incredibly sweet and absolutely delicious.
We were spoiled with freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast every morning, and it was just so good.
My tip for you is this: Do not leave Morocco without trying the OJ.
And if you want to find out more about the beautiful place pictured below, check out my post Chefchaouen~The Blue Pearl of Morocco
Bread, in several different forms was usually served along with our meals.
The one pictured in the photo below is called Khobz and it was so good.
But truthfully, I loved them all.
Don’t deny yourself. These carbs are worth it.
Eat. The. Bread.
If you love olives, you’ll be happy here.
I am a big fan, so it was great see them used so often in Moroccan cuisine.
They are underused in North America in my opinion, which is unfortunate, as they can add so much flavour to a dish.
There’s quite a variety of olives to be sampled and I really enjoyed them in the chicken dishes, and also served with herbs and spices, as appetizers.
The food stalls and shops in the Medinas have beautiful displays of olives and other pickled and preserved foods.
Mint Tea ~ Maghrebi
I feel like Mint Tea might be Morocco’s national drink. LOL
But seriously it was offered to us everywhere we went.
Now, I drink mint tea quite often at home, it’s one of my favourites.
So I assumed I knew what I was getting, but I was wrong.
Moroccan mint tea is made from not only mint but also green tea, and it’s served sweetened with sugar.
It wasn’t what I was expecting.
I found it a bit too sweet for my taste, and I’m also not a huge fan of green tea.
So I didn’t love it. But it kinda grew on me.
You can ask for it to be served unsweetened, which was better.
But you know what I did love?
I even bought one to bring home with me.
You won’t have any difficulty finding tea to try, as I am certain you will be offered some soon after your arrival to your hotel or riad.
It’s a tradition in Morocco to greet your guests with Maghrebi, as a sign of hospitality and friendship.
And, often the tea components are brought out on a tray and the tea is prepared in front of the guests.
Give it a try and judge for yourself.
And to finish this list off here’s my least favourite food option…
Yes, it’s camel meat.
I had every intention of trying it.
You can find camel burgers, sausages and meatballs on many restaurant menus.
Of course, after seeing this stall in the Fez Medina, I was completely turned off and just couldn’t bring myself to order it.
But, you know what? You do you, if it’s something you want to try go for it.
By all accounts it’s actually quite good.
Yes, alcohol is available in Morocco, despite it being a mostly dry country.
It was pretty easy to find in Marrakesh especially.
We tried a Moroccan wine one night, and were pleasantly surprised by how good it was.
It was a lovely white wine called Zellige…worth ordering.
Of course, there are many, many more traditional Moroccan foods that I’m certain are worth trying, but I just didn’t have time to get to them all.
These are just a few that I really enjoyed, or that I found worth noting.
There’s no shortage of interesting choices to be found at all the amazing food stalls and shops in the markets and the medinas around Morocco.
My tip for you is to stay open minded to trying new things, don’t let your current taste buds limit you.
You never know what new favourite food you might discover.
Some interesting Moroccan desserts
A word of caution…
It is not unusual for tourists visiting Morocco to become ill from what they’ve eaten.
Food poisoning and travelers diarrhea is a common concern.
And if you’ve ever experienced it, you know it’s not fun.
So take some precautions and arrive well prepared, with meds you are familiar with, and that you know you can safely take.
For example, Pepto Bismol can be a life safer. Bring it with you, and take a couple of tablets, several times a day as a preventative measure. It’s been proven to cut the effects of food poisoning by 50%.
Be careful where you eat, take note of how food is handled and served.
If you’re concerned about the hygiene of a place, skip it or at the very least stick to ordering only well cooked foods, instead of raw choices like salads or raw vegetables.
Also, important, drink only bottled water. I know it’s not great for the environment, but in this case it’s the safer choice.
It’s a real downer getting sick on vacation!
However don’t be afraid to eat out, even at the markets. It’s all part of the experience, and that’s what you came for after all.
Planning a trip to Morocco?
Check out these posts for useful information, and beautiful photos:
How to spend 3 days in Marrakesh~what to see and do
Surprising places to see in Marrakesh
Dont skip Fez when visiting Morocco
Memories of Chefchaouen~The Blue Pearl of Morocco
Guess what? You can buy a Tagine and all kinds of Moroccan spice mixes on Amazon.
Click on the images for more information
Wow, so much interesting food and the pottery is truly beautiful!