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On Saturdays a souk is held in Oualidia. The market teems with farmers bartering over chickens, cooking pans, sacks of flour, olives and spices.
For an excellent lunch of fresh squid and seafood try L’Initiale and in the evening visit L’Araignee Gourmande for a feast of fish, ranging from sole, dorade and red mullet. Both of these restaurants can be found at Oualidia Plage.
Moroccan Cuisine has influenced chefs and restaurants the world over but many Moroccans will point out that the best meals are found not in the restaurants but in the homes as women do virtually all of the cooking and preparation. That is not to say that restaurants will serve poor food, far from it! Large servings are the norm and the main meal is midday. The meal usually begins with a series of hot and cold salads followed by a tagine. A tagine is a stew of meat (usually beef, lamb or chicken) or fish with vegetables, spices and perhaps fruits and nuts, slowly cooked on a bed of oil in an earthenware pot. One of Morocco’s most visible dishes due to the conical topped dish in which it is cooked. Most versions include beef with almonds and quinces, lamb with apricots, and chicken with lemons and olives. This is the largest course of the meal and eaten with a plate of couscous topped with the meat and vegetables.
Moroccans have very sweet teeth and desserts are usually pastries which are stuffed with almond paste and topped with sugar. Another favourite are honey cakes that are pretzel-shaped pieces of dough which are deep-fried and then dipped into a piping hot pot of honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
All this is followed by Mint Tea. This is green tea laced with sugar and fresh spearmint. Served piping hot it is refreshing, minty, sweet, and very tasty.
The key ingredients for all Moroccan cuisine are the spices and are used to enhance the flavour of the food. The spices commonly used are Saffron, Cinnamon, Cumin, Ground Ginger, Paprika, Black Pepper and Sesame Seed. Herbs also play an important role in Moroccan food, these being mainly Parsley and Coriander.
Apart from the dishes mentioned about here are selections of foods that can also be found in many restaurants or cafes.
Bastela: traditional savoury pastry is made in three layers:
a layer of shredded chicken is topped with eggs, curdled in a lemony onion sauce and then topped with a dusting of sweetened almonds. The whole thing is encased in filo pastry and topped by a layer of cinnamon and sugar.
Briouats: deep-fried parcels of flaky pastry containing spiced meat, fish or cheese.
Brochettes: cubes of meat on skewers, mainly lamb or beef.
Harira: a thick, spicy soup, based on lamb and pulses. Often served as a starter, but it is filling enough to be a meal in itself. During Ramadan it is served daily to break the fast, often with milk and dates.
Kefta: meatballs flavoured with coriander and cumin and sometimes served with eggs in a tagine.
Khobz: bread for mopping up harira or tagines; these are traditional flat round loaves that are fairly dry with a grainy texture.
M’choui: whole lamb, spit or oven roasted. M’choui is usually found only on special occasions or in the more traditional restaurants where it often needs to be ordered in advance and for a certain number of people.
Merguez: spicy beef or lamb sausages, often served with harissa, a fiery pepper sauce.
Pastilla: spiced pigeon meat encased in layers of flaky pastry and dusted with sugar or cinnamon. This is a traditional delicacy and sometimes a fish version can be found.
Salads: A fresh, cool salad is often served at the start of a meal. The most commonly served are a tomato and green pepper salad, a mixed herb salad or an aubergine salad.
All in all, Moroccan food is tasty, spicy and delicious whether it’s eaten in a food tent, cafe or a fine restaurant.
Fishing, seafood Fresh caught oysters and spider crab are a speciality here and a perfect accompaniment with a delicious Moroccan salad.