Marrakesh Street Food

Marrakshis have perfected the art of cooked street food, traditionally the province of the working class. There are hundreds of sidewalk grills scattered throughout both the medina and Guéliz. Step up for a tasty, satisfying meal at one of these institutions; it's a priceless experience that costs next to nothing. From midday to midnight, choose from grilled minced beef, sausage, lamb chops, brochettes, Moroccan salads, and french fries, supplemented by bread, olives, and hot sauce. (No credit cards, clearly.)

Djemâa el Fna

For the ultimate grilling experience, there's only one place. By dusk, more than a hundred stalls sizzle and smoke their way through mountains of fresh meat and vegetables. Step up to the stall of your choice and order from the wild array of perfectly done veggies, salads, kefta (beef patties), merguez sausages, beef brochettes, couscous, and even french fries. In cooler months or during Ramadan, try a bowl of hearty harira (chickpea, lentil, and meat soup) or country eggs in homemade bread. The meal starts with free bread (to weigh down your paper place setting) and a hot dipping sauce called harissa. The mint tea at the end should be free, too.

There's little continuity of quality, even at the same stall, so it's luck and instinct all the way for each sitting. However, since leftovers are given to the poor every night, the food is always freshly made. Vendors will do anything to attract your attention, from dragging you to a seat, chasing you down the lanes, and best of all, performing the occasional comic rundown of classic English phrases ("It's bloody marvelous!") with matching Cockney accent. Eat where the Moroccans eat: they know what to order, how much to pay, and they really get into their food.

Street Food Tours

If you find the idea of dining at one of the stalls on the square, or even eating alone, a little bit daunting, there are organized evening food tours with a local Moroccan guide and a resident English-speaking expat to show you the ropes, sample the flavors, and guide you through the street entertainment. To join a mixed group try Marrakech Food Tours (www.marrakechfoodtours.com) or for a more bespoke, private tour try Tasting Marrakech (www.tasting-marrakech.com).

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