Looking back at all the travels I’ve done in the past 6 months, there is one place I wish I could explore more: Marrakech. I have a feeling I didn’t spend enough time there to really live the city and discover all its secrets. One thing I’m glad I did in the few days I was in Marrakech is taking part to a food tour organised by a lovely couple: Amanda (the American lady behind MarocMama) and her husband Youssef.
Morocco is known the world over for its amazing food and hospitality. At the epicenter of Moroccan cuisine sits Marrakech. Famous souks, and hundreds of hotels and riads help to make Marrakech a must-stop destination for tourists. Sadly, with so many people coming and going it’s difficult to find food that truly lives up to its reputation. [Marrakech Food Tours]
Youssef was born and raised in Marrakech, Amanda has lived there for more than ten years, so together they have built a knowledge of the best places that the city has to offer. Without Amanda and Youssef I wouldn’t have had a clue what to eat and where to eat it! And let’s be honest, even if I had a list of places I wanted to try, I would have probably got lost in the daedalus of streets of the medina and never found what I was looking for!
That’s why I highly recommend joining the Marrakech Food Tour which focuses on tasting five of the most authentic dishes Moroccans eat in Marrakech. We joined the evening tour which started at 6pm from Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square and market place of Marrakech.
We carefully avoided all the stalls in the square, a popular attraction for tourists coming to the city. But according to Youssef and Amanda the food there isn’t very good, so instead we crossed the square to the north side and stopped at a cafe to taste Tangia, slow-cooked lamb that is typical of Marrakech.
Tangia is cooked inside urns until it’s meltingly tender. The urns are placed in traditional ovens under the ground, heated by hot coals recycled from local hammams.
Also available to taste at these cafes are Sheep heads, a local delicacy as it’s only found in Marrakech, but I wasn’t brave enough to try it.
Back on the streets, we wandered the Marrakech souqs, while Youssef taught us about the different food artisans, food culture, and history of the area. We stopped by market stalls to taste their olives and inside a bakery to watch Moroccans bake bread in traditional ovens.
By the time we reached our second stop we were so far into the medina, I wouldn’t have been able to find my way out without following the signs.
We stopped at a stall to try a sandwich with cow spleen (stuffed with spices and other organ meat). Think of Scottish haggis and you get the idea of what this dish tastes like. It was very good, although I had to block out of my mind the image of what I was actually eating…
Another typical street food in Marrakech is hout quari, fish balls sandwich with smen (aged butter), tomato sauce, raw onions, harissa and olives. I really liked this sandwich, the fish taste was strong but tamed by the tomato sauce.