Eating in Morocco

Fiona Smith has just returned from Morocco and reports on three great things to eat there.

There are all the obvious dishes that we are so familiar with, especially couscous – real Moroccan couscous can take up to two hours to steam properly and is the antithesis of the often stodgy and bland instant kind that gets prepared here. But there are a few more gems to seek out.

Tangia, the “bachelor’s stew” is a specialty of Marrakesh. It is a simple combination of lamb, preserved lemon, garlic, cumin and plenty of olive oil, packed into a clay jar and cooked very slowly in the embers of the hammam fire. We visited on a food tour withMarrakech Food Tours, a fantastic way to try the flavours of the city.

For a calm respite from the intensity of the Marrakesh souks, head upstairs to Nomad restaurant. It looks over the souks and has an upmarket North African vibe. They serve a refined and modern version of Moroccan cuisine, including a delicious calamari in a cumin, ginger and anchovy harissa with braised fennel and tomatoes.

Grilled sardines from the little beach shack restaurants down by the ports in Essaouira, meanwhile, are a must. So simple, but so good. You can buy other types of fish too – dorado is a local favourite – but it’s the oily, charred sardines that kept me coming back. Like so many of these places, it’s best to go where the crowds are – and haggle for the best price!