Morocco: Food Guide - Dining Out
North Africa's Arabian Arcadia
Eating in Morocco is an exotic and rich experience. There are many different styles of Moroccan food, as well as thousands of wonderful restaurants in all of the major Moroccan cities and towns. Nearly every restaurant seems to proclaim the expertise of its own chef. In addition, you will find that the food in Rabat and in other Moroccan tourist resorts is not restricted to traditional Moroccan delights. You can find cuisine from all over the world in Morocco, including Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and other international tastes. If your inclination is towards fast food, you will find many of the usual chains in Morocco too. Today, Moroccan cuisine is a reflection of the country's colourful and varied past in that it has been influenced by African, Arabian and the Mediterranean styles that have been further blended with both Arab and Berber culinary traditions. Over time, all of these influences have been refined into a distinctly Moroccan flavour. Moroccan cooking uses subtle blends of spices that are used to enhance, rather than mask, the flavour and fragrance of their dishes. Spices such as cayenne, saffron, chillies, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cumin, paprika, and black pepper are all commonplace in Morocco. There is also a special blend of spices called ras el hanout, (head of the shop), which is usually a mixture of between 10 to 30 different spices. Traditionally the proprietor of each spice shop sold his own unique ras el hanout recipe. Fresh herbs are also present in Moroccan dishes, particularly garlic, coriander, parsley, and mint, as are fragrant additions such as orange or rose water, olives, and olive oil. Harissa, a fiery paste of garlic, chillies, olive oil and salt is often used as a condiment. Above all else, perhaps the defining characteristic of Moroccan cuisine is the blending of savoury with sweet, most commonly witnessed by the addition of fruit to meat tagines. Eating out in Morocco is incredibly good value for money. For example, you can eat at the Al Faissa restaurant in Marrakesh, which is renowned for its Moroccan cuisine, for between £8 and £19. Other styles of cuisine can be more expensive, with a gourmet meal at a French style restaurant usually costing around £27. For the budget traveller, the options are numerous, with evening meals costing under £8.