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Cuisine in Morocco
 
 
 

General

Moroccan cuisine has long been considered as one of the most diversified cuisines in the world. This is a result of the centuries-long interaction of Morocco with the outside world. The cuisine of Morocco is a mix of Berber, Spanish, Corsican, Portuguese, Moorish, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and African cuisines. The cuisine of Morocco has been influenced by the native Berber cuisine, the Arabic Andalusian cuisine brought by the Moriscos when they left Spain, the Turkish cuisine from the Turks and the Middle Eastern cuisines brought by the Arabs, as well as Jewish cuisine. The cooks in the royal kitchens of Fez, Meknes, Marrakech, Rabat and Tetouan refined Moroccan cuisine over the centuries and created the basis for what is known as Moroccan cuisine today.

Spices are used extensively in Moroccan food. While spices have been imported to Morocco for thousands of years, many ingredients, like saffron from Tiliouine, mint and olives from Meknes, and oranges and lemons from Fez, are home-grown. Chicken is the most widely eaten meat in Morocco. The most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco is beef; lamb is preferred, but is relatively expensive. Couscous is the most famous Moroccan dish along with pastilla, tajine, tanjia and harira. The most popular drink is green tea with mint. The tea is accompanied with hard sugar cones or lumps.

Main Dishes

The main Moroccan dish most people are familiar with is couscous which is very old and is probably of Berber origin.

Beef is the most commonly eaten red meat in Morocco. Lamb is preferred, but is not as common due to its higher cost. Poultry was historically used and the importance of seafood is increasing in Moroccan food. The breed of sheep in North Africa has much of its fat concentrated in its tail, which means that Moroccan lamb does not have the pungent flavour that Western lamb and mutton can have.

Among the most famous Moroccan dishes are couscous, pastilla, tajine, tanjia and harira. Although the latter is a soup, it is considered as a dish in itself and is served as such or with dates especially during the month of Ramadan.

Snacks & Fastfood

Selling fast food in the street has long been a tradition, and the best example is Djemaa el Fna square in Marrakech. Starting in the 1980s, new snack restaurants started serving bocadillo (which is a Spanish word for a sandwich, widely used in Morocco). The bocadillo is a baguette filled with salad and a choice of meats, or similar to a tortilla, which is also a widely used term.

During the 1990s, a new trend started to emerge. New dairy product shops (mahlaba) began to open throughout cities in Morocco. Those mahlabas generally offer all types of dairy products, juices, and breakfasts as well as bocadillos, competing with former established snack restaurants. The late 1990s also experienced the opening of franchises of multinational fast food chains, especially in major cities.


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