Marrakesh Favorite Tips by sue_stone Top 5 Page for this destination
Marrakesh Favorites: 135 reviews and 191 photos
Pastilla (at front) & Kefta Tajine
Favorite thing: Here is some information on a few of the common meals you can eat in Marrakech
One of the most common dishes in Marrakech was a tajine. The name tajine actually refers to both the meal and the pot that the dish is cooked in. The unusual design of the cone-shaped tajine pot allows the lid to collect the steam and keeps the meat moist by basting it whilst cooking.
A tajine dish is slow cooked at low temperatures. Common types of tajines are Lamb cooked with raisins and almonds, Chicken with lemon and Kefta (Moroccan meat balls) with tomato. We had several tajines during our time in Marrakech - our favourite was one with lamb & potatoes.
Another popular dish is couscous, which consists of tiny grains of semolina. It can be served plain, to accompany a tajine, or as a meal in itself, with the additional of vegetables and or meat/chicken.
Pastilla is a tasty dish that we also tried in Marrakech. It is a type of pie that combines sweet and savoury flavours. It is traditionally made with pigeon, which is cooked and shredded, and mixed with spices and almonds. The mixture is then wrapped in a type of pastry and cooked further. It is served as a crispy parcel and is pretty good - but very rich in flavour.
Fondest memory: Beer & Wine
As Morocco is a Muslim country I was very surprised to learn that they produce beer and wine. We tried some of the local Casablanca beer (lager) and it did indeed taste like beer ; ) I later found out that it is classed as 'premium' beer. The other cheaper, locally produced beers include Speciale Flag (pilsner) and Stork (lager).
One night at dinner we had a half-bottle of Moroccan Cabernet Sauvignon. It was entirely drinkable, having a similar style to an Italian red wine.
Favorite thing: The butchers shops that we saw in the Medina were nothing like the butcher shops we have at home! These small stalls located right on the narrow, dirty streets have all the meat just sitting out on display. There were sides of meat hanging about, with giant testicles dangling off them - eeuuww.
Although the quality of the meat looked ok I'm not sure that I would want to buy it after it had been sitting there getting covered with dust all day.
Fondest memory: The local cats seemed to be particularly delighted by the displays of meat, congregating below the shop counters hoping that the butcher would throw them down an off-cut.
There was one shop that appeared to specialise in offal, and we walked past it twice over the course of about 4 hours - both times the same cat was sitting there, head craned up, drooling over the dangling innards, hoping some would come its way.
ATM's on Djemaa el-Fna
Favorite thing: Before we left London for Marrakech I tried to get some Moroccan currency - dirham. I was quite surprised when I discovered that dirham cannot be exchanged or obtained outside of Morocco - it is a 'closed currency'.
That means that you will have to wait until your arrival to get some money. There is a currency exchange booth in the airport arrivals hall, along with some ATMs. You can exchange currency at exchange branches and banks around the city.
Fondest memory: We saw plenty of ATMs in and around Djemaa el-Fna, though I found that several of them would not accept my card - eventually I found one that did. Best to find one that works for you and return there again next time you need some cash.
Credit card is not widely used in Marrakech - we used cash for everything during our visit, including paying for out hotel room (who also accepted euros).
Favorite thing: In preparation for my visit to Marrakech I tried to remember some Arabic words that I had learnt when I visited Egypt a few years prior. The only thing I could remember was 'La shukran', which means 'no thank you' - vital words required in cities such as Marrakech when you are constantly hounded to buy or look or follow!
So, besides that, I was a bit concerned about language issues during our stay, but was pleasantly surprised to discover that French was widely spoken, and that people automatically spoke to us in French, not Arabic. I can speak a smattering of French, and understand enough key words to get the gist of what someone is saying so we didn't have any issues.
Fondest memory: Almost all signs and menus etc that we saw were written in both Arabic and French (and sometimes English too) so that made life a lot easier, and we also found that most people we came into contact with spoke enough English for us to communicate. So don't worry too much about trying to learn Arabic - just brush up on your French and you will be fine.
Favorite thing: Marrakech was filled with weary looking donkeys. We saw them being used to transports goods to, and around the souqs, carting loads of sand and rubbish at construction sites, and hauling stinking loads of untreated leather at the tanneries.
Most of the donkeys looked a little worse for wear and I'm not sure they were being treated too well.... I saw one old man standing there whipping his donkey over and over again for no apparent reason.
Fondest memory: Thankfully there is a UK charity called The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad (SPANA) who is doing some work in Morocco to try and improve the health and welfare of the donkeys.
Favorite thing: One thing I really loved about Marrakech were all the storks that we saw when we were exploring in the Kasbah district. They seemed to be nesting on every roof top in the area, even sitting on top of the Kasbah Mosque Minaret.
Fondest memory: The storks were always in pairs, standing tall, gazing out across the Kasbah, or doing a type of dance on their nests, beaks clacking together like a castanet.
We had lunch on the top floor of the a cafe, close to the Kasbah Mosque, and were sitting only 20 metres away from a fine feathered pair, who put on quite a performance for us.
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