While there are too many things in Morocco that will make you fall in love with the country, food is definitely one of them. From delicately cooked grilled pigeon meat to sardines covered in a paste of coriander and parsley, from traditional sweet pastries to Moroccan mint tea, it's going to be a grand treat throughout your journey in Morocco.
Here are 10 best dishes from the Moroccan menu card that you just can't afford to miss while paying a visit to this African country.
Tagine. The most popular dish in Morocco, 'Tagine' can be found in any Moroccan restaurant. Deriving the name from the tajine pot in which it is cooked, this is basically a North African Berber dish. Tajine is clay pot with a conical lid which is used for cooking the meat and veggies very slowly. Mostly served with bread, tagine can be made with different ingredients. The taste and flavors differ according to the ingredients that are used. The most preferred ones are - Chicken with vegetable tagine, Beef and egg tagine, Lamb and plums tagine, Lamb and almonds tagine.
Khobz. Every country has a different variety of bread, and Morocco is no exception! Khobz, the Moroccan crusty bread, is made in wood-fired ovens and served as appetizers with Tagine and Harira. Bread can be called as the staple food in Morocco, as people have it for almost every meal. Don't forget to try out the other varieties of bread in Morocco, such as the harcha (a buttery bread), rghaif (a flaky flatbread), or baghira (spongy crumpet).
Couscous. It is the second most popular dish in Morocco, and equally delicious as that of the tagine. Finely rolled wheat pasta is steamed over a stew of meat and vegetables. The meat is grilled and covered with a pyramid of wheat pasta and served with a huge portion of vegetables. It is often garnished with raisins, as the Berbers preferred the tinge of sweetness with a blend of spices and the meat.
Bastilla. The name of this dish has been derived from the Spanish word "pastilla". This crunchy pie has a perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors. Actually originating from the city of Fez, Bastilla is a fantastic pastry with pigeon meat, eggs, almonds, raisins, cinnamon and topped with icing sugar. However, pigeon meat is rarely available nowadays, and most restaurants serve Bastilla stuffed with beef or chicken. It's a perfect snack for the evenings and can be accompanied with the refreshing Mint Tea.
Mint Tea. Not just a beverage, but the Mint Tea is an integral part of Moroccan cuisine! Known as 'Moroccan whiskey', mint tea is usually heavily sweetened with sugar chipped off a sugar cone. The tea is served with a few sprigs of spearmint stuffed into the glass. Pastries and pies along with this Mint Tea is a combination that you'll keep craving for. And you'll surely want to buy some packs of this tea and take back home!
Sardine Chermoula. Chermoula is actually a blend of herbs and spices that are used for marination and an integral part of the Algerian, Libyan, Moroccan and Tunisian cuisine. Being surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, Moroccans love their share of fish and seafood. Sardine Chermoula is a popular dish in which sardines are marinated with a paste made of garlic, pickled lemons, cumin, coriander, onion, black pepper, ground chili peppers, saffron, and other herbs. The sardines are then grilled over coal and served with a spicy sauce. Whether you are a fish-lover or not, you definitely will fall in love with this!
Harira. This special cuisine has its roots in Arab and mostly available during the month of Ramadan, when the fast is broken during dusk with a steaming bowl of Harira. It's basically lentil and lamb/ chicken soup with a dash of tomatoes and chickpeas. Lemon juice and coriander are added for flavors. This thick soup is served with slices of bread or pretzels, and available at all food shacks in the Moroccan markets. It's ideal for backpackers and budget travelers since it's cheap and very filling. If you are volunteering in Morocco, then you can try Harira at your host's place—the traditional harira cooked at the homes are even more delicious!
Brochettes. Having its roots in France, Brochettes made their way in Moroccan cuisine due to the love for the meat of the locals. Basically kebabs, brochettes are found on almost every street corner in Morocco. Grab some delightfully spiced meat skewers while exploring the Moroccan markets and satiate your taste buds. You will find chicken, lamb, as well as beef brochettes and each of them is succulent with a burst of flavors!
M'hanncha (Almond Snake Pastries). Don't go by the name, there's no snake in it! This dessert is one of the most loved food items, that's usually prepared for the family gatherings or special occasions. It is more like a cinnamon roll, only with the addition of almonds. It got the name 'Snake Pastry' due to its appearance. This coil-shaped sweet delight would be the perfect ending to any meal.
Nous-nous. Moroccan coffee is very different from the regular espresso that you have! Nous-nous literally translates to 'half-half', and that perfectly defines the coffee that Moroccans favor. It's half milk and half coffee with a thick layer of creamy froth on top. It's always served in a glass, so you can revel in the aesthetic look of seeing the layers of milk, coffee, and foam! With dozens of cafes coming up as tourism is flourishing, nous-nous is becoming more popular among the travelers from all over the world. Your trip to Morocco will remain incomplete without trying this flavorful coffee.
If you are planning to travel to the magical land of Morocco and dreaming about walking down the blue lanes of Chefchaouen, exploring Fez and Marrakesh or hopping in Rabat, you just can't miss out savoring the tastes of the delicious cuisine. Binge as much as you can, because good food is equivalent to happiness!
If you have loved anything else in Morocco that I missed out, do drop a comment and let me know!