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The Local Cuisine of Morocco

Food is an essential part of any trip, and if you are planning to explore Morocco and are a foodie at heart, you have chosen the perfect destination. Let us give you an overview of the local cuisine in Morocco and the main dishes you have to try during your travels.
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Local Cuisine

Morocco is a food lover paradise; no matter your preferences, you will most likely find something you love and quite frankly can’t get enough of – it has happened to the best of us.

When embarking on your Moroccan adventure, it is good to have an idea of what to expect when it comes to food because, after all, you will be eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner there for the duration of your stay, so at least you will know what is on offer. Be sure to get in touch with your ‘ Local Destination Expert in Morocco’ and ask for some of their local favorites and specialties that they recommend you to try because sometimes the hidden gems are the best. 

In the meantime, we will dive right into the local cuisine of Morocco and the most famous and most delicious dishes on offer there that you cannot overlook.

Local Cuisine of Morocco

Local Cuisine

The streets of Morocco are filled with the smell of delicious food, and if you take a walk through the famous medinas, you will be captivated by the insatiable aromas of foreign herbs and spices, which you will want to take home – and you should. One of the best ways to get to know the cuisine of Morocco is, of course, to eat to your heart’s content, but also to try your hand at a local cooking class, and this we will get to a little later on, but first, let us explain the local cuisine. 

Moroccan food is an eclectic mix. It is one of the most delicious cuisines to try, with dishes inspired by Andalucian cuisine, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and South Saharan cuisine, to name but a few. The oldest traces of this nation’s cuisine go back to the 7th Century, so some of the dishes you will indulge in are steeped in tradition. Meats used in Moroccan cuisine include beef, lamb, goat, and chicken, but you won’t find pork here as it is a Muslim country, while the country produces a vast range of fruits and vegetables, which provide balance for the meals you will try there. 

As mentioned earlier, the smell of spices lingers all around the place, and it is enough to get you in the mood for food even when you are not hungry. And that is because spices are used extensively and taken seriously in Morocco, which typically means that meals burst with flavor. The most common spices you will find are turmeric, paprika, saffron, cayenne, cinnamon, and cumin, to name but a very small few, and the famous Moroccan spice mix called ras el hanout, which contains twenty-seven spices. So, if you can smell the spices already and fancy checking out the best dishes to try in Morocco, then here they are.

Best Dishes to try

You are in for a true gastronomical treat with these dishes, which are just a tiny few of what you will typically find around the country, and vary between regions.

Couscous:

Couscous

One of the most famous dishes that originates from Morocco, and one that you will find everywhere, is couscous, which is full of flavor and spices, of course. This is a dish that Moroccans take seriously. In homes, locals cook up a storm and make couscous weekly, using a mix of several vegetables alongside either lamb, beef, or chicken which is arranged on this massive plate of couscous. It can be found everywhere and eaten as a side dish or a main dish, which many people share from the same plate.

Moroccan Chicken Bastilla:

Moroccan Chicken Bastilla
Source: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1019971-moroccan-chicken-pie | David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

This savory pie is trendy in Morocco and consists of chicken that is cooked with a blend of spices (of course) such as cinnamon, saffron, ginger, and pepper, and layered with crispy phyllo pastry, which ultimately is a perfect mix of sweet and salty flavors. This is a traditional dish you will find around Morocco, and it cannot be overlooked if you want to try a hearty dish bursting with incredible flavors.

Tagine:

Tagine
Source: https://www.thespruceeats.com/chicken-tagine-with-preserved-lemons-olives-2394715 | The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Anyone that travels to Morocco is looking forward to their first tagine, and this dish is the most popular in the country for a reason. The plate, which features a range of healthy ingredients, is named after the tagine pot in which it is cooked, and it is served to you in this same pot, allowing all the flavors to follow along to your table. Tagine is generally cooked over charcoal, as tradition has it anyway, and includes a range of fruits, vegetables, and spices, making this an incredible meal to have on more than one occasion during your trip.

Kefta:

Kefta
Source: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1022578-moroccan-kefta | Julia Gartland for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Barrett Washburne

Also known as kofta, are Moroccan meatballs mixed with a variety of delicious herbs and spices, and the meat used is mainly ground beef or lamb. It is the basis of many other Moroccan dishes such as Kefta Tagine and makes an excellent kebab with salad, bread, and sauces. You will notice flavors of cumin, paprika, onions, coriander, parsley, and mint, which give it that unique Moroccan aroma and taste. These can be found in restaurants to street vendors all over Morocco.

Fish Chermoula:

Fish Chermoula
Source: https://www.demandafrica.com/food/recipes/chermoula-fish/

Morocco is lucky to have a vast coastline and access to some of the freshest fish, especially an abundance of sardines, which you will find plenty of on menus around the country. Fish Chermoula is based on fresh fish filled with a regional marinade, including ingredients such as parsley, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. It is the foundation of many Moroccan fish dishes, and it is undoubtedly one to watch out for, especially along the coast.

B'ssara:

B'ssara
Source: https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/food-dining/2013/07/23/recipe-for-ssara-moroccan-fava-bean-soup/TDvbZK87RK4HNVtpsGoqHO/story.html | KAROLINE BOEHM GOODNICK

If you happen to be in Morocco when the weather is a bit chilly, then make a beeline for the closest restaurant and warm up with a bowl of B’ssara, otherwise known as split pea soup, which has distinct flavors of cumin, paprika, and spicy chili pepper to warm you up.

Zaalouk:

Zaalouk
Source: https://tasteofmaroc.com/moroccan-zaalouk-recipe/ | Photo: Christine Benlafquih

This cooked eggplant and tomato salad is another vegetarian-friendly dish, which does not lack flavor, but we are sure that no Moroccan dish lacks flavor. It is made using pre-grilled eggplant, mixed with tomatoes, and seasoned with a generous helping of garlic and local spices. This nutritious dish can be served hot or cold, so it is ideal no matter what time of the year you are traveling to Morocco, be sure to get yourself a helping of pita to soak up all that sauce.

Best food tours in Morocco

Local Cuisine

Here are some of our best eco-friendly culinary-inspired tours in Morocco for all the food lovers out there. But it is worth knowing that you will get an opportunity to try local food on more than one occasion during your adventure on any of our tours. 

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