To me, part of traveling and experiencing the culture of the country that you are visiting is eating the food. Food is so much apart of every country's culture and how they live from day to day.
Plus, I love trying different types of food that I have never tried before. Even if it looks a little "iffy," I am still willing to try it just once so I can get the total culture experience.
So if you have ever wondered what they eat in Morocco, you can get a good taste of it for yourself.
Here are some pictures of our food adventures during our week long Moroccan adventure....
This little thing is way good. We had it several times. It is like a little filled pancake. It is filled with shredded curry chicken, ground almonds, brown sugar, and some nutmeg. The outside dough is like a filo dough that has been fried. It is the perfect combination of sweet and savory.
Pretty much every restaurant that we went to offered some type of Moroccan salad for their first course.
This one was typical. It had little piles of chopped up veggies and rice. There was usually a little pile of salad with eggplant and spices, lots of green peppers and tomatoes, as well as rice. Quite tasty but simple.
Vegetable Tagine with Couscous
I love couscous and make it quite often at home. When I found out that it came from Morocco I was super excited to eat it there and get my fill! They serve it all the time, and after a few days of eating it I actually got really sick of it. But this dish was good. It was a vegetable dish that was slow cooked in a tagine pot with spices and then put over couscous. There were some cooked golden raisins on top too that added a good amount of sweetness. Vegetarian all the way.....just my style.
Coke, Arabic Style
Nate loves Coke. We couldn't drink the water in Morocco because everyone said that it will make you sick. So we drank a lot of bottled water and lots of other juices and sodas. Nate's favorite of course was the pure sugar coke. This bottle was especially cool because it has "Coca-Cola" written in Arabic on the bottle!
Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
This was my favorite food item in Morocco. They have oranges growing everywhere there. In the main market area, they have all of these fresh squeezed orange juice stands. There are tons. They all sell the exact same thing and have the same prices so it is hard to know which one to walk up to and buy from. They are all trying to get you to come to theirs and they are fighting over you. They will get your attention from way far away and wave at you like they know you and then motion for you to come over to them and buy some. It is hilarious. They pressure you so much and act so disappointed when you go to the booth next to them. It is so good though. They squeeze it right there in front of you and it is so fresh. They serve it in glasses to everyone.....and I don't think they wash the glasses in between customers. They even reuse the straws too. You just can't think about that unless you want to be completely grossed out. :) Oh well.
Jemma El Fna Night Market
Every single night, there is a night food market called Jemma El Fna. It is the happening place to go both for tourists and locals. As you are walking towards it, you can see the big puffs of smoke in the air rising up from each booth. Just like the orange juice stands, there are young guys that work for each booth that are doing everything in their power to get you to eat at THEIR booth and not the guy's next to them. They pressure you so much and you feel like you are getting attacked from all directions. They show you the menu and tell you everything on it, talking it up as they go. They try to give you deals and tell you why their booth is better than the guy's booth across from them. We got them to give us something for free so that we would eat there. Both nights of eating there we got a free big bottle of water! It was funny at first to get so much attention but after a while you wish that they would just back off and give you some space.
I guess that is just part of the experience.
The food there was pretty good though. They had all types of skewers with different meats with different spices. They had pastilla, salad, flat breads with salsa, couscous, chicken and lamb tagine dishes. The funny part is that they are constantly trying to rip you off. You order what you want from the menu then they walk away. A little while later they bring you out different "appetizer" type of things like bread, salsa, olives, different sauces, and salad. You think to yourself, this just must be free like having chips and salsa for free in America at any Mexican restaurant. So you start chowing down on all the "free" stuff. It isn't until after the meal that you realize they weren't being nice at all but just charging you for all the extra things that you ate or touched that they put in front of you. So before you know it, your bill is way high because you ate all the "free things" that they just so nicely brought out to you. Rip off.
So the 2nd time we went to this market, we learned our lesson.
When they brought the extra stuff out, we told them to take it away and that we didn't want it.
Breakfast Awaits Us
Every morning outside of our room, breakfast would be waiting for us. We had our own little table all to ourselves that was perfectly set. All we had to do was walk downstairs and motion to the non-English speaking maid that we were ready to eat. She then quickly brought it up to us. It was always so good and homemade. She would make us Moroccan pancakes, fresh squeezed OJ, croissants and other pastries, bread with Laughing Cow cheese, and all types of jams and honey. Because Morocco used to be a French colony, it still has a big French influence to it, thus, we had a French type of breakfast. Yum!
These biscuits were so good. They were like little flat breads. I loved the container it came in too.
A lot of the dishes that they use are shaped in this Hershey kiss type of shape.
Olives are also very popular. They eat alot of these, all different kinds.
More Moroccan Salads
This was a fun little "three salads" plate.
We had a gorgeous birds eye view into the streets of Marrakech this night.
See the tagine pots that are a Hershey kiss shape?
They sure do eat a lot of oranges there. This salad was to die for.
It looks simple and it was, but it was so good.
The little cockroach looking things on top of the oranges were
candied dates which was a nice flavor combination.
It was sprinkled with some cinnamon too.
Tagine Chicken with Cous Cous and Veggies
Our 2nd Night at the Famous Night Market
More Breakfast Stuff.....
Lunch with our Friend, Eduardo
We met Eduardo on the 8 hour bus ride that we took to Zagora.
He is from Columbia but lives in Madrid and is getting his Master's degree there.
We ended up traveling together for a couple of days and we even went on the
Sahara desert camel ride tour with him. It was really nice to have him around. He was such a nice guy plus he spoke French perfectly so he could translate for us when we didn't have a clue what was going on.
This was an interesting dish. It was also made in a tagine pot.
It was made with kefta which is a ground beef that is made with lots of different spices.
This dish also had some tomato sauce, egg, and other spices mixed in it.
Lamb Tagine with Apricots and Almonds
'Poor Italian Food
We were so sick of Moroccan food by the end of the week so we found an Italian place to eat at instead. We knew it probably wouldn't be that great at all but I knew if I saw any more cous cous that I would probably scream! Anything sounded great as long as it wasn't Moroccan! I got a pizza with 4 cheeses on it. It wasn't the best pizza that I have ever had but it tasted great that day. :)
Don't Drink the Water!
As I said before, drinking the water there is a No No. We were always so careful but you can't keep away from it entirely. They often times use ice cubes in your drinks that are made from tap water. They also will put water in things that you eat or wash your produce with the water. Nate and I both got a little sick while we were there. And you also have to be aware of scams like the one below.....
We bought this "bottled water" but after we drank it, we realized it was just a big scam!
They had used a razor to cut upon the top, drained out the bottled water, filled it with tap water, then glued the lid back on ever so carefully, and then sold it again to naive tourists like us. And we totally fell for it.
I couldn't believe it that people would actually do this!