Morocco dining can involve a range of different experiences, many of which stay with the traveler for a lifetime. Wandering around the Jamaa el Fna Square and seeing what the food stalls have to offer, for example, is something that is not soon to be forgotten, and the renowned oysters in Oualidia are sure to tempt seafood enthusiasts. Seafood is abundant in this coastal African nation, and as can be expected, it is most easily found along or near the country's long coastline. Various meats also figure among the featured menu items when it comes to food in Morocco, and hand-rolled couscous is a staple at the Moroccan diffas, or feasts. Carnivores and vegetarians alike can find good things to eat in Morocco, and no visit to the country would be complete without sampling some of the ubiquitous mint tea.
The food in Morocco has many influences, the most significant of which are African, Arabian, and Mediterranean. Spain and Portugal figure among the countries that claimed parts of Morocco in the past, as does France, and the cuisines from these countries mixed with the tendencies of the Berber and Arab inhabitants. The subtle blending of spices is more of a native facet, and the most popular Moroccan spices include cumin, turmeric, saffron, chilies, ginger, pepper, paprika, and cinnamon. A number of fresh herbs help to add depth to the food in Morocco, and they include coriander, parsley, and mint. Garlic is also used to flavor food. Travelers can expect to come across these spices and herbs with regularity when it comes to Morocco dining, and they can also expect to see harissa at many a table. Harissa is one of the top condiments in Morocco, and it is a paste of sorts that consists of olive oil, chilies, garlic, and salt. Many Morocco restaurants, such as those that can be found in cities such as Casablanca and Fes, will be happy to supply some harissa for their guests if it isn't already on the table.
In addition to good seafood, a range of savory spices, and flavorful herbs, the food in Morocco also revolves around a variety of nuts, fruits, vegetables, and grains. On the meatier side of things, chicken, lamb, and beef figure among the most popular. Travelers can also sample some camel meat if they are feeling adventurous. Meat sticks, or brochettes as they are also known, can be found all over the country, and they figure among the most popular street foods. For special events and occasions, barbecued lamb is often served with liver kebabs, which is something that travelers might hope to try.
The main dish in Morocco is couscous, which is a pasta-like food that comes from north African semolina. Often hand-rolled, the Moroccan couscous is of exceptional quality, and it is typically served with meat. The meat is added to the couscous, and a savory sauce is poured over the concoction. Any combination of meats can be used, and nuts, fruits, and vegetables are often added as well. Ginger, saffron, onions, parsley, and coriander are just some of the things that are often used to flavor the sauce.
If couscous was never invented by the native Berbers, than the national dish of Morocco would probably be tanjine. Essentially a stew, tanjine can be comprised of any number of ingredients, and a special pot with a conical lid is often used to prepare it. Lamb, chicken, and fish figure among the most commonly used ingredients in tanjines, as do almonds, dates, tomatoes, okra, and olives. Much like couscous and tanjine, bread is something that is on offer at most of the Morocco restaurants, and it complements tanjine especially well. Bread has long been a staple when it comes to Moroccan dining, and Muslims consider it to be sacred. Many Moroccan homes make fresh bread every morning, and it is often used to soak up sauces. Moroccans tend to eat with their hands, and pieces of bread are also used to pick up food. Moroccan bread is usually quite dense, and when it is cooked in a wood-burning oven, a smoky flavor is the result.
Many of the best Morocco restaurants can be found at the country's more upscale hotels, and these restaurants are understandably popular with travelers. Some talented chefs are creating some exciting dishes at the upscale Morocco hotels, and the country's riads, or guesthouses, are known for the quality of their cuisine. Breakfast is included in the rates at the Morocco riads, which helps to make them very attractive, and these breakfasts are often enjoyed on rooftop terraces. Dining at hotel restaurants shouldn't be the only Morocco dining that travelers do however, as the country is home to an array of non-hotel eateries that deserve some attention.
Whether you're looking for good Marrakech restaurants or other agreeable dining establishments in other parts of the country, it can be a good idea to inquire with your hotel staff. The best Morocco hotels offer excellent service, and they can supply their guests with recommendations on where and what to eat. At the end of the meal, pastille au lait is often recommended, and for good reason. This delectable desert consists of a flaky pastry that is covered with sweetened milk and topped with nuts. A chunky kind of paste named amlou is also used to cover the pastries, and it is often compared to peanut butter. Tempting pastries are easy to find in this dynamic land, and when it comes down to it, the food in Morocco offers something for everyone.