Morocco: That looks good; what is that?


Ever find yourself wandering the local food stalls while you’re traveling and catching a whiff of something delicious? Perhaps you stand, drooling and hypnotized, gawking at, well…who knows what exactly? Do you ever find yourself eying the local cuisine and thinking, “Hmm, that looks good; what is that?”

One great part of travel is the experience of new foods. My philosophy is to just dive in – who cares what it is – and sample the local eats. But for those of you who need a little more information first, let’s take a look at a few location-specific traditions to perhaps let you know what you’re in for when visiting that area.

Olives – Nearly everywhere you go in Morocco, plates of olives are set out as something of an appetizer before meals. Morocco is a large producer of olive oil, and vast arrays of different olives are grown throughout the country. Usually a kaleidoscope of colorful olives, marinated in lemon, cilantro and peppers, will be set before you as your meal is being prepared.

Khobz – These round flat loaves of bread are served with your meal in Morocco. They are crusty and firm on the outside, and warm and porous on the inside. Dip chunks of them in your soup, sop up your tagine with them, or just munch on one from the many carts that wheel by.

Tagine - FesTagine – Tagine is essentially a Moroccan stew. Carrots, potatoes, squash, onions, and a million other vegetables and spices are thrown in together with chicken or lamb and cooked slowly. The result is a blazing hot dish of tender meat and soft vegetables. The whole concoction is made on the stove top in a tagine dish. The word “tagine” refers not only to the delicious stew, but also to the typical conical dish it is served in. Tagine is one of the most standard Moroccan dishes, and can be found in hundreds of variations

Couscous – Couscous abounds in Morocco! You will have this dish so much you will surely sicken of it. Couscous is a grain of tiny rolled semolina wheat balls. Moroccan couscous is cooked in a broth and usually served on a bed of steamed vegetables and raisins.

Lamb – This one deserves its own category. While you can order kebab, couscous, kefta, or tagine with lamb, you will be unable to ignore the rows and rows of food stalls lined with lamb heads. The cheek meat is said to be the most tender, and it is often served on a plate as an appetizer.

Drink – Sorry boozy backpackers, Morocco is alcohol free. Sure, you may be able to find a few spirits at expensive resort-like accommodations or through a friend of a friend who knows a friend who will serve to foreigners. But you’ll definitely have to go searching for it.
In the meantime, wrap your lips around a steaming glass of Moroccan mint tea. Or try the amazing fresh squeezed orange juice from the juice stalls.

Posted by | Comments (8)  | March 29, 2010
Category: Africa, Food and Drink

8 Responses to “Morocco: That looks good; what is that?”

  1. Shalabh Says:

    Thanks for this post Colleen. Food makes me drool anywhere. Now I know the first few things to drool over when in Morocco. 🙂

  2. Colleen Wilde Says:

    My pleasure! I plan on doing many different locations for this “That looks good; what is that?” series, so stay tuned!

  3. Adam Says:


    I’ll be in Morocco in May and this will come in handy. Did you try the lamb head? I’m a little curious about the cheek meat, but I’m not sure how I’d eat it.

  4. Ted Beatie Says:

    Love Morocco. It’s one of my favorite places in the world, and my wife and I pine for the country on a weekly basis. You’re making me want to break out our Ras-el-Hanout, go shopping for a nice hunk of lamb, and make a tagine RIGHT NOW!

  5. Nicolaï Says:

    Morocco’s at the top of countries I wanna go to, but haven’t yet.

    Great post. Also, love the top photo! Thumbs up!