Cheaper than a train ticket to Glasgow (and about half the time, too), flying to Morocco from London has a lot more going for it than value for money.
Reporter: Nader Kaddour
Sub editor: Hayley Daen
While couscous and clay tagines dominate popular imagery of Moroccan foods, the street vendors found in every market and medina throughout the country are serving up treats that are cheap, delicious, and in need of a little recognition.
A word of advice for the traveller in Morocco: Moroccans only eat couscous on Fridays, and tagines should take a few hours to prepare. While many restaurants try to cater to tourists’ expectations for these dishes, read on to find out what the locals are eating and enjoying every day, at prices unheard of in the UK.
And like all street food outlets, if it’s crowded with locals, you can be sure it’s where you want to eat.
- Sfenj 10p
These beauties would put any American donut chain to shame. At 10p a piece, sfenj are fried fresh in front of your eyes, dusted in sugar, and a delight at any time of day. Crispy on the outside, with soft, spongy (sfenj literally means sponge) vanilla-flavoured interiors, they’re good for your wallet, and your soul.
- Maakouda 7p ea/ 35p sandwich
If you ever thought fried potato sandwiches topped with more potato couldn’t be good, you are dead wrong. Maakouda are essentially Moroccan croquettes, seasoned with garlic, coriander and cumin, and fried to golden perfection. Eaten alone or heaped into gargantuan sandwiches with your choice of fried sardines, grilled peppers, salsa, and other fresh toppings; you can easily satisfy even the hungriest travellers for less than 50p. But, be careful, maakouda are highly addictive!
- M’semmen 35p
The ladies that run these stands really know how to fry bread. M’semmen is a fried crepe-like flatbread sold on street corners throughout Morocco. Served hot and buttery, and topped with quality Moroccan honey or La Vache Qui Rit (Morocco’s adopted national cheese) for an extra 10P, m’semmen is truly the Moroccan streets breakfast of champions.
- Bessara 28p
You might not think something so simple could pack such a punch. A fava bean soup with lashings of luscious Moroccan olive oil, bessara is usually served with a loaf of Moroccan bread for dipping and a tray of spices to season as you like. Piping hot and extremely filling, this soup is soothing and invigorating, perfect fuel for long days trekking through winding medina streets.
- Boule 20p
As best as we can tell, this masterpiece of a desert is cookie dough drowned in chocolate. The filling is chocolaty, with notes of almond, nutmeg, and even pumpkin, and an absolute delight. Known in Moroccan patisseries as la boule (literally French for “the ball”) they might not look intimidating, but each of these guys is a dense, indulgent chocolate explosion, great with Moroccan tea or on their own. They’re also super filling; we challenge you to eat more than one!
- Fresh Juices £1
At a whopping £1, the freshly made juices of Morocco are definitely our luxury item. In the juice shops usually piled high with fresh fruits and chatty patrons, almost any combination imaginable can be blended for you into a nutritious, refreshing drink. Sweet avocado smoothies and crisp ginger lemonade are popular with the locals, but there’s no limit to what you can have. From fresh orange juice, to intricate berry blends and coffee banana shakes, coming up with a new combination is almost as much fun as drinking them.
Getting to Morocco
With return flights from London Stansted to Rabat starting under £60 for mid-March (even less if you book further in advance!), the only thing more affordable than flying to Morocco is staying there.
While many major hotel chains are present all around Morocco, staying in a traditional Moroccan boarding house, or riad, is not only sometimes more affordable, but a great way to experience hospitality and traditional architecture all under one roof.
Find our traveller’s guide to Marrakech, here.