Street Vendors, Marrakesh

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    by stevemt
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    Dinner in Djemaa el-Fna: Dinner in Djemaa el-Fna

    by sue_stone Written Feb 15, 2007

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    One of the highlights of my time in Marrakech was eating dinner in Djemaa el-Fna (the main square). Every evening around dusk the square starts to fill up with stall after stall of food vendors. It is quite a scene as the light fades and the smoke starts to rise up from the giant cauldrons of boiling oil that is used to cook much of the food on offer.

    All of the stalls are numbered, and some are obviously focused towards tourists with menus in English and spruikers trying to get you to take a seat. These stalls tend to sell a large range of food, with it all out on display for you to see. Other stalls are packed with locals, and there is no menu - just a limited selection to choose from.

    Usually I am dubious about eating at 'street stalls', assuming that I will get sick from whatever I eat. However, I had only read positive things about eating in Djemaa el-Fna so was keen to give it a try.

    Alison and I took a wander past all of the food stalls, checking out what was on offer and which places looked too touristy for our liking. We decided to be a little adventurous and eat at Stall number 14, which seemed to only be frequented by locals. We were squeezed onto a small bench, sitting opposite (and very close) to some locals who looked at us a little strangely at first.

    Favorite Dish: A hunk of bread was placed in front of us on a sheet of paper, then a small plate of mashed up roasted tomato and another plate of mashed deep-fried eggplant/aubergine. We used pieces of bread to eat, as there is no cutlery available (and it would be too dirty to want to use anyway!). The eggplant was absolutely delicious - the best thing I ate on our trip. We also ate some fried fish and some really delicious chips. When you finish eating they will give you a piece of paper to wipe your hands on.

    We enjoyed the meal so much that we returned again the next night. We ate pretty much the same thing, as that was all Stall 14 had on offer, just a different type of fish this time. Each meal came to only about the equivalent of £5 pounds for two people.

    It was a fabulous experience!

    Stall number 14 dinner Lamb anyone!? dinner at stall 14 Dinner in Djemaa el-Fna
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    Street Vendors: Hunja...Recommended on a cold winters night!

    by suvanki Updated Apr 14, 2008

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    Around Djemma El Fnaa, near the orange juice carts, you'll spot some stalls with copper cauldrens. These contain a local beverage known as hunja.

    My curiosity got the better of me one night, and I joined the locals standing around the stalls, drinking glasses of this hot spicy beverage .

    At the side of the stall are jars of the spices that make up the drink. Unfortunately I couldn't identify most of them, and no one could tell me what the recipe was (language barrier, not a trade secret!)

    Accompanying the hunja, you are given a saucer with scoops of a spicy chocolate cake called tkaout - Mmmmmmm- Drink and cake for about 5dh!! Bargain!

    If you're in Marrakesh in Winter, this is a must do, to warm you through!

    Favorite Dish: Hunja and cake!!..thats all they sell!

    The hunja reminded me a bit of Masala tea that I'd drunk in Kerala, but even hotter!

    If anyone knows the recipe, I'd be very grateful to be let in on this secret-- Would be great for a bonfire night party, or to carry in a vaccuum flask on a winter walk!

    hunja stall, Djemma el Fnaa
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    Street Vendors: Aichas No. 1

    by suvanki Updated Jan 23, 2009

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    Although I'd put this in my custom guide, pre departure, on my first night in Djemma el Fnaa, I'd forgotten about it. I was soon pursuaded to take a seat at one of the food stalls, where I was made to feel quite welcome.

    I wasn't sure what to order, so just pointed to dishes my fellow diners were eating. I had a pleasant (and cheap) meal of bread, 2 spicy sauce dips, lentil soup, and lamb brochettes with a small salad, all for about 20dh.

    It wasn't until I was leaving, after my meal, and one of the boys pointed to the sign, so I'd remember where to come back to, that I realised I'd found Aichas!

    Favorite Dish: I ate here a few times, and enjoyed all the dishes.

    Besides the meal above I also tried vegetable tajine, vegetable cous cous, potato cakes, and small spicy sausages on various visits.

    This is probably a good stall to head for on your first night, if it's your first time eating in Djemma el Fnaa, as the staff are used to tourists - ignore their calls of "lovely jubbly/ asda price etc" The food was good, and there were Moroccan families eating here too.
    You can then venture to another stall the next night, or return here

    Aicha

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    spoilt for choice - take your pick: Eat where the action is at Djma elFna

    by angiebabe Updated Oct 14, 2007

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    Ive eaten amongst the stalls several times and not had any side effects nor heard of any - despite my Moroccan acquaintances refusals to eat there choosing nearby also budget appealing Cafe Toubkal - but thats another tip story!

    As for the stalls here in the main square - its all part of the action and fun of experiencing being in the centre of Marrakech - these stalls/outdoor restaurants start getting busy from about 5pm through till about 1130 pm - unless its Ramadan and the place can be busier till much later.

    Ive heard of recommendations vying to stall Number 1 - which i have tried a couple of times - i dont really think it makes a lot of difference - you can roam around and look for a stall that catches your eye for selection, price and menu. Each stall tends to have piles of fresh looking and colourfully appealing meats and vegetables waiting to be cooked for your dinner!

    Ive usually had the fried aubergine (repeat portions at times as i love aubergine and though sometimes its done over oily its pretty good!) with brochettes. ie cubed meat cooked on skewers or sticks.
    Be mindful that if they place bread and condiments at your table
    setting such as olives and sauces and so on they come with a charge as well.

    Ive generally had no problems eating salads at restaurants around Morocco - especially the regular menu items Salade Nicoise or Salade Morocaine which are delicious salads - Ive generally tended to stay away from uncooked veges here in this environment. (though i do frequently drink the freshly squeezed orange juice but its always with question in the back of my head whether this is the time that i end up with ........)

    Favorite Dish: Fried aubergine, beef brochettes.

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    Place Djemaa el Fna: The biggest outdoor restaurant EVER!!

    by aaaarrgh Updated Nov 14, 2004

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    The Place Djema el Fna becomes a MASSIVE outdoor restaurant as evening draws in.

    The name translates as "Dead Men's Square", but this was not because of the quality of the food!!

    There are dozens of stalls, surrounded by tables and benches. The vendors are very imaginative and entertaining in the ways they try and encourage you to eat at THEIR tables.

    But everyone seems to sell the same thing - kebabs, fish, meat, cous-cous, soft drinks, water etc. Our strategy was to try and find a stall which seemed to be popular with Morocans. But of course, as soon as we sat down, the number of Europeans grew!

    The food was fine! As long as the food is freshly cooked and hot then it should be OK.

    Favorite Dish: We found that the 'waiter' tried to give us every dish available, whether we asked for it or not. So we ended up trying a bit of everything. If you want to eat cheaply, I guess you will have to be firm but polite.

    Don't forget the fresh orange juice stalls too. Perfect for the evening heat.

    Place Djema el Fna

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    Stall #81: Chez Abdessalam: Kebabs at Djemaa El Fna

    by SWFC_Fan Written Mar 3, 2007

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    When in Marrakech, eating at the food stalls on Djemaa El Fna square is an absolute must!

    Hundreds of stalls set up in the square each evening, offering a selection of tasty meals at ridiculously cheap prices. Competition is fierce and each stall will try to entice you to eat there with promises of the best food in town! The touts have clearly been working on their sales pitch - I was met with shouts of "Marks and Spencers quality food", "our food is sound as a pound/lovely jubbly" and "cheaper than Asda prices".

    In truth, I was a little apprehensive about eating food from street vendors. Each stall displays its raw meat out in the open, with flies buzzing around. So, the first time I ventured down to Djemaa El Fna I decided I'd just eat my meal....and then see if I was ill the next morning! I'm happy to report that I ate at the food stalls at Djemaa El Fna on several occasions and never suffered any illness at all.

    The first stall that attracted my custom was #81 Chez Abdessalam (each stall has a number and a name). I took a seat at one of the benches, shoulder to shoulder with other diners (eating at Djemaa El Fna is not for the claustrophobic!), and received a complimentary bread roll, a tomato dip and a paper place mat. The guidebooks recommend that you use your bread as an alternative to cutlery as most people who fall sick from eating at the stalls do so because of utentils that are rinsed and reused.

    The menu at Chez Abdessalam includes soups, salad, fish, mixed seafood, sausages, couscous, eggplant, lamb, chicken and beef kebabs.

    Favorite Dish: My meal at Chez Abdessalam was as follows:

    - Complimentary bread (a round piece of bread, ideal for soaking up sauces and dips). This was standard at all the stalls I visited;

    - A tomato based dip with a hint of aniseed to it;

    - A plate of olives;

    - A plate of French fries. Very nice - thin and salty;

    - Mixed kebabs: 6 kebabs on long skewers (2 each with chicken, beef and lamb - with red and green peppers and onions), 3 small sausages (of unknown meat, but very well cooked!) and a piece of lamb. All the meat was extremely well cooked and for the most part was good quality. The chicken kebabs were nicer than the beef or lamb ones, but all were pretty good!

    - A glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Ice cold and very refreshing.

    - A complimentary glass of mint tea, served with the mint leaf still in the glass. Very tasty and surprisingly refreshing!

    The total cost of my meal was just 50 Dhs (approx. 3 GBP).

    Superb value food and a unique atmosphere! Eating at the food stalls of Djemaa El Fna is an absolute must! You could do worse than #81: Chez Abdessalam! Highly recommended!!

    #81 Chez Abdessalam, Djemaa El Fna Kebabs at #81 Chez Abdessalam Bread, dip, olives and orange juice Food stalls at Djemaa El Fna

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    table 42 jemaa el fna square: The best shrimp and eggplant

    by jo-allyn Written May 1, 2004

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    this was our favorite table in the greatest outdoor picnic of all, jemaa el fna square. With the sound of trance drumming, smoke rising from multitudes of food tables, the sky above and the sun setting on marrakech, this was a most unique and delicious experience.
    The servers here was infectious with their enthusiasm. There is a great competition in the square between all the tables, to attrack "eaters" The food has to be delicious and the food providers have to be entertainers. Table 42 was the best at both!

    Favorite Dish: the crispy shrimp and delicious grilled eggplant

    table 42

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    Street Vendors: Aicha number 1

    by johnsakura Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    I've only tried 3 restarants in Marrakesh. Since I tried this one I've never went to eat in other places. Just here. Employees are very gentle and the owner Aicha, well she's just amazing. She's the boss.

    Favorite Dish: You can choose a large variety of food. Im vegetarian and lots of vegetarian food.
    vegetarian couscous
    vegetarian harera
    etc

    marrakesh morocco jamaa al-fna

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    Stall #42: Rachida: Fried shrimps on Djemaa El Fna

    by SWFC_Fan Written Mar 3, 2007

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    When in Marrakech, eating at the food stalls on Djemaa El Fna square is an absolute must!

    Hundreds of stalls set up in the square each evening, offering a selection of tasty meals at ridiculously cheap prices. Competition is fierce and each stall will try to entice you to eat there with promises of the best food in town! The touts have clearly been working on their sales pitch - I was met with shouts of "Marks and Spencers quality food", "our food is sound as a pound/lovely jubbly" and "cheaper than Asda prices".

    In truth, I was a little apprehensive about eating food from street vendors. Each stall displays its raw meat out in the open, with flies buzzing around. So, the first time I ventured down to Djemaa El Fna I decided I'd just eat my meal....and then see if I was ill the next morning! I'm happy to report that I ate at the food stalls at Djemaa El Fna on several occasions and never suffered any illness at all.

    One of the stalls that I visited during my trip in February 2007 was #42: Rachida (each stall has its own number and name).

    On this occasion I was beckoned in by the waiter who insisted on showing me the range of food available at Rachida. He took me by the hand and led me along a line of raw meat (sausages, whole chickens, lamb and beef kebabs), fish, shrimps, calamari, couscous, eggplant and plates of salad. I told him that I'd have a look around and come back later, but he offered me a complimentary glass of mint tea (or "Moroccan Whisky" as he referred to it!) while I studied the menu - and I relented and agreed to eat there.

    I took a seat on one of the empty benches (quite a rarity at Djemaa El Fna where you usually have to battle for elbow room with neighbouring diners!) and received my glass of mint tea along with a paper place mat, a piece of round bread and a tomato dip.

    Favorite Dish: I ordered a plate of fried shrimps and a bottle of Fanta orange. After a few minutes, I received a plate half filled with fried shrimps...and half filled with calamari. I picked at the calmari, but ate very little of it. The shrimps, on the other hand, were very tasty and I soon emptied that half of my plate. The waiter saw that I wasn't eating the calamari and apologised for assuming that I wanted it. He then ordered one of the cooks to serve me another handful of shrimps, which arrived a few minutes later.

    After polishing off my additional shrimps, Rachid brought me another glass of mint tea. I sat back and watched the spectacle around me - hundreds of food stalls selling cheap, tasty food, thousands of people (locals and tourists alike) mingling, the sound of drums being played and the smell of meat being cooked. Eating at the food stalls of Djemaa El Fna really is one of the things that you must do to *experience* Marrakech!

    The total cost of my meal (shrimps, calamari, bread, tomato dip, bottle of Fanta orange and 2 glasses of refreshing mint tea) was just 40 Dhs (approx. 2.50 GBP)!!

    Eating at the food stalls of Djemaa El Fna is one of the best ways to really experience Marrakech and to meet its people! Many of the food stalls offer similar food, but each has its own character - be sure to drop by #42 Rachida to try the delicious fried shrimps! Highly recommended!!

    #42 Rachida, Djemaa El Fna Food on display at #42 Rachida Shrimps and calamari at #42 Rachida Rachid pouring my mint tea at #42 Rachida Food stalls at Djemaa El Fna

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    Street Vendors: Sheeps Heads!

    by suvanki Updated Apr 25, 2009

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    As I'd wandered around the foodstalls of Djemma el Fnaa, I'd spotted stalls with displays of sheeps heads, complete with teeth!
    After my experience of eating a sheeps testicle! (see Lamb take away tip) I was ready to be adventurous, but I would draw the line at eating sheeps eyes if they were ever offered to me!!

    After much walking around these stalls, trying to work out how the dishes were served- (the menus were in Arabic) I'd seen saucers of meat pieces, served with a gravy topping, and vats of stews, I felt confident enough to join the locals at one stall. (Following the oft repeated travellers addage- eat where the locals eat for good food!)

    Well it was a dining experience!

    I pointed to a tagine, which appeared to be meat and preserved lemons. I was handed a large piece of bread and a filled bowl . It was very tasty, if a bit greasy!
    As soon as I'd finished, my bowl was taken from me and refilled!

    One of the stallholders indicated a piece of meat to my server, which he added to my dish. I wasn't sure if I'd been given a 'special' bit, On finding a piece with lots of tubes, I tried to ask which part of the animal this was.My anatomy lessons failed me!.I'm a Nurse, not a Vet!

    I think the man thought I wasn't happy with this piece, and flicked it into a bin!

    I enjoyed this dining experience, it was a bit different! I was left to enjoy the meal by myself in the company of local couples, families and single men.

    Cheap too! I paid 16dh (£1) for 2 large portions of a hot tagine and bread!

    Favorite Dish: The lamb tagine was the only dish I tried. It was hot and tasty, but a bit greasy.

    I was partly expecting an upset stomach afterwards, but I was fine. I think all the mint tea I was consuming counteracted any digestive problems!

    Sheeps Head stalls
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    Street Vendors- The Souks: Lamb take away and 'A Delicacy'

    by suvanki Updated May 3, 2009

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    While I was walking around the souk with my guide, (who I'd hired for the morning), he stopped at this stall and indicated to the owner, a quantity of the hot roasted lamb, which was carved and wrapped in paper, with a twist of paper holding a mix of cumin and salt. My guide explained we'd share it soon.

    He then pointed to another piece of meat, and offered it to me. I asked what it was (I had a pretty good idea! ;-) ) but he just said "it's very good, very special" I was instructed to dip the portion into the cumin/salt mix.

    I guessed I was being offered a sheeps testicle!! which my guide confirmed later that it was!

    Well, surprisingly it was very tender and tasty!

    We then walked to a carpet shop (I had no intention of buying a carpet) where we ate the delicious lamb accompanied by glasses of mint tea (A variation on lamb and mint sauce!) while the various carpets were unfurled in front of us.

    After we'd eaten the lamb, we left- without buying a carpet!!

    It was worth hiring a guide for these types of experience, I'm sure that I wouldn't have thought of buying a hunk of roast lamb and taking it to eat in a carpet shop, and I probably wouldn't have tried a sheeps testicle.

    Favorite Dish: Roast lamb, hot, tender and delicious!
    The cumin/salt mix was a very tasty accompaniment!

    I'm now enjoying this at home as an alternative to mint sauce / rosemary and garlic etc! (brings back memories of my holiday!)

    Sheeps testicle!! (an unexpected 'treat')- and a great conversation opener/stopper!!!

    Was pleased to read/ view on TV, Anthony Bourdains experience of eating this delicacy!

    I'm not sure of the cost, my guide paid.

    Roasted Lamb, Marrakesh
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    Street Vendors: Djemma el Fnaa, Food Stalls

    by suvanki Updated Nov 29, 2007

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    If you can't decipher the menu boards, (Most are in Arabic and/or French) The food is displayed, so just point to what you fancy!

    This display is at Aichas Number 1, but other stalls have similar displays, all painstakingly arranged each evening!

    (Please see my Djemma el Fnaa Things to do tips - p5 for more information)

    Favorite Dish: I enjoyed freshly cooked brochettes, tagines, cous cous, harissa soup, potato cakes, and the sauces with bread to dip in.

    Typical food display, Djemma el Fnaa

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  • Djemma el Fna: its been said a thousand times...

    by lucyt Written Mar 2, 2006

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    ...but it is still true: the Djemma is the best place to eat.
    With the coming of dusk the square is populated by a fresh sea of faces as countless cooking fires start and throw their smoke to the sky. For less than a fiver a head you can eat well and people watch at your leisure.
    One word of warning: it is better to eat early in the evening as a lack of running water means that glasses and cutlery are washed in the same water all evening.

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    Stall #93: Chez Bienvenue: More cheap food on Djemaa El Fna

    by SWFC_Fan Written Mar 4, 2007

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    When in Marrakech, eating at the food stalls on Djemaa El Fna square is an absolute must!

    Hundreds of stalls set up in the square each evening, offering a selection of tasty meals at ridiculously cheap prices. Competition is fierce and each stall will try to entice you to eat there with promises of the best food in town! The touts have clearly been working on their sales pitch - I was met with shouts of "Marks and Spencers quality food", "our food is sound as a pound/lovely jubbly" and "cheaper than Asda prices".

    In truth, I was a little apprehensive about eating food from street vendors. Each stall displays its raw meat out in the open, with flies buzzing around. So, the first time I ventured down to Djemaa El Fna I decided I'd just eat my meal....and then see if I was ill the next morning! I'm happy to report that I ate at the food stalls at Djemaa El Fna on several occasions and never suffered any illness at all.

    On my final night in Marrakech, during a visit to the city in February 2007, I ate at #93: Chez Bienvenue (each stall has a unique number and name).

    Similar to the stalls that I had eaten at earlier on in my stay, the food on offer here consisted of whole chickens, beef, lamb and chicken kebabs, meat steaks, merguez sausages, shrimps, calamari, French fries, couscous, eggplant and salads. The set up was identical to that of countless other stalls on the square, with dozens of diners sat shoulder to shoulder on benches around the stall.

    I sat next to two brothers from Birmingham, one of whom had just finished eating a plate of sheep brains prior to my arrival.

    Favorite Dish: The hygienic standards at the food stalls in the Djemaa El Fna always looked a bit questionable to me. This was highlighted during the course of my meal at Chez Bienvenue, when a large pile of mince meat fell from the stall onto the concrete below. The owner picked it up and dusted it down, while the tourists looked knowingly at each other as to what he was about to do with it. Sure enough, the meat was placed back on the stall awaiting its consumption by an unsuspecting customer!

    My meal at Chez Bienvenue consisted of:

    - The ubiquitous complimentary piece of round bread and a plate of diced tomatoes and onions;

    - Fried shrimps: a large plate of tasty shrimps served with a slice of lemon;

    - Chicken kebabs: 6 skewers of tender, well cooked chicken

    - A bottle of Coca Cola;

    - A glass of sweet mint tea.

    The total cost of my meal was just 75 Dhs (approx. 4.50 GBP).

    As I've said in my other tips about the various food stalls at Djemaa El Fna, eating at these no frills stalls and mingling with the locals is probably my overriding memory of my stay in Marrakech and the best way to experience the city and its people!

    Cheap, tasty shrimps and kebabs in an amazing setting! Highly recommended!!

    #93 Chez Bienvenue Food on display at #93 Chez Bienvenue #93 Chez Bienvenue Shrimps and chicken kebabs at Chez Bienvenue Food stalls at Djemaa El Fna

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    At the Jemaa-el-fna: A must

    by belgianchocolate Updated Apr 11, 2005

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    Ok , Marrakesh is infected by tourists.
    But eating at the Jemaa-el-fna square is a must
    in the evening. An experience. It turns in into
    this giant open air restaurant. Locals and
    tourists eat side by side.

    You can tell which one is the tourist stall , and
    which one is were the locals eat. The locals like
    eating for instance sheep heads. Something
    most tourists find not so appealing.

    We just went for our intuition....
    I love Moroccan cuisine and I had a salad
    some grilled sausages , a pastilla with chicken ,
    coca-cola....bread....all for about 5 euro.
    It tasted really good..


    Ignore the pushy vendors and take your time
    to look around. Shake hands , smile. :-)
    Think about it. The bill will always be a little
    more then you had in mind. They also charge
    you some taxes , the olives , the extra bread...etc etc.
    Still good value for money.

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