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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Morocco: Desert Food

Mark eating in the Djemaa el-Fna at night
The food in Marrakech is excellent, particularly in the Djemaa el-Fna at night; in the desert it's a rather different story

The guidebooks will tell you that Moroccan food is excellent, and in general they are right. Marrakech is an amazing place for a feed, and by all accounts the northern cities like Fés and Meknès are excellent too. What they don't tend to mention is that once you're out of the cities and in the desert, you're in for the same food all the time, especially in the off-season. It can get really wearing.

That's not a bad spread, but what amazed me was how totally inflexible the menus were in the desert land of the Berbers. Every hotel we stayed in, and every restaurant, provided us with the choice of tagines or brochettes, but precious little else except salad and bread. The first day it was fun, the second it was OK, the third it was a little repetitive, and by the fourth day I was dreaming of anything other than yet more tagines and brochettes. After getting sick on whichever tagine it was that blew my stomach away, I couldn't even stand the word tagine. And as for brochettes, after a while all I wanted to do was stick the skewers into the authors of our guidebook, who couldn't fall over themselves fast enough in proclaiming Moroccan food as some of the best on the planet.