10 Favourite Foods of Fes, Morocco
Located to the north of the Middle Atlas Mountains, Fes is Morocco’s third largest city,and is touted to be home to the largest medina in Africa. Despite losing its status as the Moroccan capital in 1912, Fes is still the Moroccan capital of food. For adventurers and passionate food lovers, it has become a world-class travel destination because of its lavish and highly enticing dishes served not only in restaurants and cafés but also in the homes of locals. Food plays an important role in Moroccan culture, as well as interpersonal relationships, which is why we have put together a list of our favourite foods of Fes.
This pie dish is prepared with pecan, eggs, phyllo pastry and fish or chicken. The chicken, cooked with onions and spices is then separated from the spices. Next, eight or more eggs are added with a pastry leaf and onions. In the same dish, another leaf is put with the chicken (that has been cut into small pieces). A third pastry leaf is then added with the pecan; after which the dish is completely covered with a fourth one. The bastilla is then baked in an oven. When it is cooked and the pastry browned, the bastilla is decorated with icing sugar and cinnamon. While there are many techniques for preparing this dish, the above method is the preferred Moroccan choice. The unique thing about this Fes delicacy is the combination of sweet and savoury flavours that differentiate it from most local dishes. Bastilla is also used to welcome guests, as well as show them generosity and kindness. It is also a favourite dish served at meetings and ceremonies.
Chebakia is a small piece of twisted dough, deep fried and soaked in honey and served during Ramadan as a basic part of breakfast. It is also served with harira (a Moroccan soup) during the rest of the year. The most popular food found in the medina, chebbakia is made in different flavours, interlaced shapes and decorations.
Lakhli’I consists of a combination of beef ribs, altsfirh, coriander, cumin, oil and salt. The beef pieces are cut into thin pieces, then mixed with the spices and oil. These spiced and oiled beef pieces are then hung in a sunny place for about three days until they are dried. The sun-dried pieces of spiced beef are called kaddid. The khli’i is made when the kaddid pieces are put on fire with a boiled robe and one litre of oil. The kaddid pieces are then put in a glass bottle, refrigerated then served for lunch or dinner.
A soup rich in chickpeas, lentils, tomatoes, lemon juice, chopped coriander and lamb or chicken, harira is usually served with chebbakia and is used to break the fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
This dish is made with lamb or beef, minced with parsley, fresh coriander, ground coriander, cinnamon and garlic, which is then rolled into balls and cooked in an onion and tomato sauce. Fresh eggs are broken into the depressions in the sauce just before the dish is ready.
Makouda is a street food that is popular with the locals. It consists of small deep-fried potato balls that are dipped into a spicy sauce called harrisa.
Also known as ‘Seksu’, this fine wheat pasta is traditionally rolled by hand and steamed over a stew of vegetables and meat. The meat in the dish is covered by a lot of seksu with the vegetables pressed into the sides while the sauce for the dish is served in another bowl. The sauce could be buttermilk or a sweet raisin preserve.
Zaalouk is a delicious cooked salad made with eggplant (aubergines), and seasoned with a small amount of chilli powder, paprika, garlic and cumin. It’s a favourite side dish to many meals and is usually served as a dip with crusty bread.
Called ‘Moroccan whisky’ by locals, this tea is the local specialty and popular drink of choice. It is made from gunpowder tea, which is steeped with a few sprigs of spearmint stuffed into a teapot and poured into a tea glass from a height high enough to create a crown (a froth caused by the pouring distance of the tea). Moroccan whisky is often heavily sweetened with sugar.
Morocco and Fes boast of a diverse number of fish-based dishes, attributable to the long Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. Chermoula is a dipping sauce made through a delicious combination of spices and herbs that are used to marinate the fish before it is grilled over coals. Chermoula is also used, after serving as a marinade, to accompany the fish dish.
The Moroccans are not just concerned with pleasant tastes, but also with the physical features of every dish they make, which is what makes Fes cuisine a mouthwatering and delicious mixture of unforgettable flavours.
Please tell us if your favourite dish did not make the list.
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