Moroccan cuisine brings together a delicious blend of Middle Eastern, Iberian, and sub-Saharan influences.
Having lived in Morocco for over 17 years, moving to Doha, Qatar for university was challenging for me. I was missing every bit of Morocco every minute of every day. It was painful. While calling family and friends definitely helped me feel better, eating at a Moroccan restaurant after months of separation from Moroccan food was a one-of-a-kind feeling. It reminded me of what home tastes like.
Approximately 13 million tourists visited Morocco in 2019, making the North African nation one of the region’s most popular destinations. A visit to Morocco is incomplete without experiencing Moroccan cuisine, which is top-rated in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Here are a few traditional Moroccan dishes that hold an irreplaceable spot in the hearts of Moroccans and merit a taste from any visitor.
Read also: 10 Most Delicious Moroccan Foods
Most people who visit Morocco get to try msemmen—which is a type of Moroccan flatbread—but not beghrir. Beghrir are Moroccan semolina pancakes typically accompanied with a syrup of butter and honey. The sweet is also commonly referred to as “the thousand hole pancake.” Moroccans serve Beghrir for breakfast or as a snack.
Read also: How to Make Moroccan Baghrir
Atay (mint tea)
Mint tea, known in the local dialect as atay, is the most popular drink in Morocco. Locals typically serve the iconic beverage in traditional teapots and beautifully decorated glasses.
Atay is consumed on a daily basis in Moroccan households. In fact, Moroccans are ranked 5th in the world when it comes to tea consumption.
The sweet, minty atay is a must-try for any person visiting Morocco—drinking it is guaranteed to delight your taste buds.
Read also: Moroccan Dishes to Try in Each City
A tagine is a traditional North African cooking pot. The dishes cooked in a tagine are called by the same name. There are several types of Moroccan tagines. Locals often make the dish with beef, chicken, or fish. In addition to meat, Moroccans might also include varieties of vegetables.
Some tagines that I would recommend for visitors of Morocco are chicken and potato, beef and prune, and chicken and raisin.
Couscous is the national dish of Morocco. It is made out of crushed durum wheat, or semolina, with meat and vegetables.
The choice of meat differs according to personal preferences: It can be stewed with beef, lamb, or chicken. Vegetables are crucial ingredients in Moroccan couscous, including dried carrots, pumpkin, zucchini, and turnips.
Moroccans traditionally prepare couscous on Fridays. Families gather after the Friday prayer and eat it together.
Sfouf is a Moroccan sweet, also known as sellou. It is usually made in large quantities and associated with special occasions such as Ramadan, Eid, or weddings.
When I think of sfouf, I think of the “suhoor” meal that we have moments before the morning call to prayer during Ramadan. I can easily remember eating sfouf at 3 a.m., half asleep, and enjoying the feeling of it melting in my mouth.
The sweet is made out of toasted sesame seeds, roasted almonds, and oven-roasted flour.
Read also: How to Make Moroccan Sellou
Harira is a Moroccan soup that is usually present on the iftar table when Moroccans are ready to break their fast in Ramadan. It is typically served in beautifully decorated traditional Moroccan bowls.
Although it is a Ramadan special, harira can be enjoyed throughout the year in Morocco. The main ingredients of the highly nutritious traditional soup are tomatoes, lentils, chickpeas, flour, rice, and meat.
Read also: How to Make Moroccan Harira Soup
Briouat are Moroccan spring rolls that can either be triangular or cylindrical. There are both sweet and savory variations.
Sweet briouat are triangular Moroccan pastries typically made with almonds and honey. I personally enjoy snacking on almond briouat and mint tea in the afternoon. Savory briouat are made with meat, cheese, and spices, wrapped in warqa (thin pastry sheets). Savory briouat are most popular during Ramadan.
Read also: Favorite Moroccan Dishes to Try This Ramadan
Bastilla is a traditional Moroccan dish of Andalusian origin. The chicken pie is typically served at weddings and other celebrations. Powdered sugar, fried almonds, chicken, eggs, and onions are some of the main ingredients necessary to prepare the sweet and savory Moroccan delicacy. The dish is very filling and if you eat it at a wedding, note that it can be a bit hard to dance afterward, so try to eat small portions.
Read also: How to Make Moroccan Chicken Pastilla
Seffa is a personal favorite of mine. The traditional Moroccan dish is made out of vermicelli, chicken, raisins, powdered sugar, and cinnamon It is a mouth-watering delicacy. Seffa is typically served in large family gatherings or on special occasions. It is unfortunately often overlooked by tourists visiting Morocco in comparison to couscous or various types of tagines.
Read also: How to Make Moroccan Chicken Seffa Madfouna