Sightseeing just not your jam? No worries. There are many ways to get to know a country and fall madly in love with it. For one, food can be the heart of a country’s culture, tradition and history. And, it can make you wanna jump on a plane just for its decadent dishes and delicacies. So, if you’re taste buds are dying for something new and exotic, why not treat them to a trip to Morocco?
The streets of Morocco’s bustling markets are packed with stalls and restaurants catering to every craving. Like its fabrics and spices, its food is colourful and flavourful, savoury and sweet. In fact, as soon as you land, just start eating — or check out these top five dishes to get you started.
In Morocco, the tagine is more than just a conical clay and ceramic gadget in the corner of your eye in fancy cookware shops or thrift stores. It is a classic menu item on every Moroccan menu that will soon become a traveller’s daily ritual. This slow-cooked succulent stew can be prepared with meat, poultry or fish, is complemented with varietal vegetables and balanced with toppings of dried fruit and, sometimes, french fries. You may tire of this dish during your stay but be forewarned — you will always come back to it.
Herbaceous and aromatic, kefta is a Moroccan family staple and commonly served in a tagine. Minced meat balls of lamb or beef are blended with onions, herbs and spices and then simmered in a tomato broth. The earthy flavour becomes even more complex when fresh mint is mixed into the batch and a few cracked eggs can be added at the end for a poached finish.
Couscous is the national dish of Morocco. It has an elaborate tradition in its preparation with its moistening, steaming and kneading of the grains in olive oil. Slow-cooked meats and root vegetables blended with raisins, orange flower water and spices, bring a beautiful fragrance that can make your taste buds explode with excitement. Be sure to get your lunchtime couscous on a Friday with the locals, as this is the traditional day and time to eat it. It’s preparation is long but the wait is well worth it.
The national beverage of Morocco, Berber Whisky, is actually mint tea with sugar! The name is a light-hearted joke reflecting the forbiddance of Muslims drinking alcohol during the Koran. Adding freshly harvested mint and sugar to boiling water, tea is steeped to perfection and then poured in a stream from a high reach not to only show respect to the guest but to also aerate the liquid and infuse more flavour into each glass. The more sugar you want, the more respect you get. Sugar haters are not revered here.
Continuing with the sweet and salty trends of Morocco, pastilla is a renowned meat pie filled with slow-cooked and shredded squab (fledgling pigeon), chicken or fish with onions and spices, encased in layers of crispy and flaky pastry dough and topped with toasted and ground almonds, cinnamon and sugar. Have it for dinner or dessert.