I love food tours. Love them. But, yes, I know – I’ve made it pretty clear on this blog that I’m not a fan of group tours. My one exception, though, are those related to food. They are a fantastic opportunity to taste unique and local dishes in a “safe for your stomach” kind of way. They are also a great way to try restaurants/stalls/trucks that you may not have found on your own. Finally, they are an efficient way to figure out what new-to-you foods you like and then you can fully indulge in them over the duration of your trip. That last one is precisely why I did a food tour on my very first day in Marrakesh!
Marrakesh Food Tours
Marrakesh Food Tours was the company I ended up choosing. There were seven of us on this tour – three couples and me. It was a little awkward but since I usually travel alone, I was used to it. The tour itself was almost four hours long. Up and down Marrakesh’s streets and narrow alleyways we traversed. What I especially liked about this tour was that we visited places I legit would not have found on my own. Read on to see what kind of things to expect on a food tour in Marrakesh. Oh, and keep in mind there are a few things from my tour not listed here so when they tell you arrive hungry, they aren’t kidding!
Please note that I’m recommending Marrakesh Food Tours because I enjoyed my tour with them – I did not receive any sort of compensation for this post.
Yep, you read that right. To try this speciality of the city, we stopped at probably the best of the restaurants that offer this traditional dish. You can even check out (from above) the underground pit in which tens of sheep are steam-cooked at a time. The head is served whole (eyeballs and tongue included); you eat it by ripping off chunks and dipping the meat into bowls of cumin and salt. I had the cheek meat and it was pretty good!
TIP: if you visit Mechoui Alley (there are a handful of restaurants here serving sheep) on your own, go at lunch or not much past early evening. Only a set amount of sheep are prepared each day so once done, it’s done for the day.
I haaaaaaaaaaate olives so this stop at a stall in a souk was wasted on me. But everyone else in the group loved it. Here you can try olives preserved in a variety of seasonings and spices.
Soup and a Sandwich
Hidden amongst the stalls along a narrow souk alley, we stopped at a little place offering traditional Moroccan soup called Harira. From what I can tell, this simple soup is tomato based with lentils, chickpeas, pasta, and whatever else is on hand. And from what I understand, people eat this soup to break the fast during Ramadan. We also got to try a crispy sandwich wrap, here. The wrap was so good, I forgot to make note of the wrap’s name AND the location of the stall. Of course, I never found the sandwich again during my trip, sigh.
This stop was the kind of place I likely would not have tried on my own, considering all the warnings one hears about regarding food safety when traveling. In the shop window, I could see trays of raw seasoned meat on display. We got to choose between turkey and beef. The guy behind the counter would cook the meat and then shovel it into a hollowed out circle of bread. It was really good! But remember, a place like this requires careful choosing to stay gut-healthy – so only go to one that has been recommended to you!
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, bread is hugely prominent in the Moroccan diet. We stopped in at a traditional community bakery where Khobz bread is baked for the whole neighbourhood. For real – people prepare their dough at home/shop/restaurant, bring the unbaked bread to this communal wood-fired oven, and then come back for it once baked. There is a system in place, one used for centuries, that ensures everyone takes home the same bread that they brought. It was amazing to witness!
Sfenj is like a donut or a fritter. The dough is not sweet at all, but it is fried to crispy fluffy deliciousness. There was also honey into which we could dip the donut before consuming. What I also liked about this treat was that a server ties a thread of palm frond around each donut and then hands it to you – it was a pretty neat way to carry the fried treat around!
If eating is your thing, I highly suggest you check out a food tour in Marrakesh. You can do it on your own but if you want to learn about the best places to eat, the best things to taste, and to explore areas that you may not otherwise know to visit, I highly recommend checking out a food tour, particularly Marrakesh Food Tours. I had a great time with them and count them as a highlight on my visit to Marrakesh!