Moroccan Street Food

Recipes for Dishes Sold by Street Vendors, Food Stalls, Roadside Grills and More

The array of street food in Morocco is quite vast and includes tea time and breakfast sweets, simple snacks, sandwiches, soups, grilled meats and seafood, fried fish and hearty main dishes such as stewed lentils, rotisserie chicken and classic tagines. The recipes below are all foods which can found while walking Moroccan streets and souks.
  • 01 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    These Moroccan "doughnuts" are made from a sticky, fritter-like dough which is quickly shaped into a ring before being plunged into hot oil. Although bland in comparison to richer fried treats such as beignets, they are decidedly delicious and satisfying when eaten hot on the spot or quickly brought home to enjoy while still warm with a pot of Moroccan mint tea.

  • 02 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Square-shaped msemen and other kinds of pan-fried rghaif are immensely popular throughout Morocco, where you'll find them eaten on the street or at home for breakfast, snack, tea time or breaking the fast in Ramadan. They're quite good hot off the griddle, but it's common practice to sweeten them with a quick dip in syrup made from butter and honey.

  • 03 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    This tutorial walks you through the easy steps of making the semolina pan-fried bread known as harcha. On the street, you're likely to find them offered in wedge-shaped slices which are cut from a platter-sized bread, but they can be shaped into any size that's convenient for you to make. Note that street versions aren't as rich as the recipe shown here.
  • 04 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    These spongy, tender semolina pancakes have a distinctive hole-filled appearance due to yeast in the batter. Cooked only on one side, they're best sweetened with honey, jam or syrup rather than eaten plain. Although easy to make at home, they're readily available at food stalls and in bakeries. In Ramadan, high-pedestrian traffic spots in residential neighborhoods are likely to be populated by women who sell their homemade beghrir and batbout (below).
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  • 05 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    One of favorite Moroccan breads, pan-fried batbout sports a pita-like pocket which can be stuffed with any number of sandwich fillers, from cold cuts and cheeses to grilled veggies and meats. Some people offer them with butter and honey, or they might choose to make them considerably thicker than what's shown here, in which case the can be spread with condiments or offered as an accompaniment to meals in the same manner as a loaf of khobz.

  • 06 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    You'll see all kinds of Moroccan bread being sold on the streets, including the lightly sweet Chefchaouen version shown here with anise and sesame seeds. Because bread is a must at nearly every Moroccan meal, bakeries offer freshly baked bread throughout the day and many families continue the tradition of making it daily at home; if they don't have a home oven, the dough is brought to a local street oven () to be baked there.
  • 07 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    The most famous of Moroccan soups, harira is a classic tomato, chickpea and lentil soup. Although highly associated with Ramadan, it's enjoyed year-round as a hearty breakfast or evening supper. On the street, you'll find it sold at food stalls, food carts, in restaurants, and occasionally on the sidewalk, where women might set up bowls, spoons and a vast pot of their own homemade harira.
  • 08 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Dried fava beans are essential to the traditional dish known as bessara, but this version made from split peas is also quite popular. We enjoyed the split pea bessara, for example, at a street side grill where it was offered as an accompaniment to seafood. It was heavily dusted with cumin and drizzled with olive oil, and although thin enough to eat with a spoon, we enjoyed it as dip with Moroccan bread.

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  • 09 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    Eggs fried in olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper makes a quick and satisfying meal; the addition of khlii elevates the dish to comfort food status. Local cafes, food stalls and market food vendors who cook over a small propane gas tank are the most likely to offer this outside the home.
  • 10 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    These delightfully savory potato cakes are a popular street food, where you can snack on them as-is or stuff them into bread to make a satisfying sandwich. At home, though, I'm more apt to prepare them as a side to a main dish of eggs or grilled meat.
  • 11 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Sandwiches of all kinds can be found on Moroccan streets, including this Spanish-influenced hoagie-like bocadillo with tuna, boiled potatoes and olives. Stuff your fillers into a baguette, or use another Moroccan bread for flavor and variety, such as Khobz dyal Smida (Semolina Bread).

  • 12 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    A good number of Moroccan restaurants and sandwich shops have their own versions of Middle Eastern shawarma – the inverted cone of flavorful, tender meat is often prominently displayed to lure in customers. This recipe shows how to make a tasty home version by marinating thinly cut strips of poultry in yogurt with lemon juice, garlic and spices, including Ras el Hanout.

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  • 13 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Brochettes and grilled meats are sold throughout Morocco, from small set-ups to grills with spacious seating arrangements. Often times you'll find them situated next to a butcher shop so you can select the meats and offal that you'd like to have prepared on the spot. Among the most popular grilled meat is seasoned ground beef or lamb (kefta).

  • 14 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Tender cuts of lamb or steak are also a favorite when it comes to brochettes, particularly when traditionally seasoned with onions, parsley and Moroccan spices such as paprika and cumin. Eat them plain, or stuff them into bread with Moroccan roasted pepper and tomato salad as a condiment and filler.

  • 15 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    This classic dish is a blessing not only to manual laborers seeking an affordable, hearty lunch on the street, but it's also a very popular dish at home, where Moroccans from all walks of life serve it up with some regularity. Surprisingly tasty, it can be made as zesty as you like. Fresh or dried meat such as khlii or gueddid may be added for traditional flavor.

  • 16 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    This meatball tagine is popular with locals and tourists, and no wonder; saucy and zesty, it's the perfect comfort food and one that's intended to be eaten by hand, using bread to scoop up the sauce and kefta. Poached eggs are an optional, but popular, addition.

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  • 17 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    The sight of clay and ceramic tagines, lined up and cooking over charcoal braziers, is a common one in Morocco. Inside the cooking vessels might be any number of classic meat, fish or poultry dishes, such as the celebrated Chicken Tagine with Preserved Lemon and Olives. The recipe explains the traditional cooking method and links to recipes for stove top and oven preparation.
  • 18 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    Lamb or beef with prunes is one of the common tagine offerings at roadside restaurants and food stalls. It's also a dish that's traditionally regarded as elegant enough for company dinners and special occasions. Ginger and saffron are key to the savory seasoning, while the fruit and its accompanying syrup adds complementary sweetness.
  • 19 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    Roasted lamb is called mechoui in Morocco, a term which can be used to refer to other foods cooked over an open flame. While this recipe explains how to prepare leg of lamb or shoulder in a home oven, on the street you're more likely to be served a portion taken from a whole lamb which is either roasted over an open fire or in a pit in the ground. The meat is usually eaten by hand with salt and cumin for dipping.
  • 20 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih

    Little goes to waste in Morocco, where traditional preparations of variety meat and offal remain standard fare on many tables, particularly during the time of Eid Al-Adha. Most butcher shops sell these meats daily, either to be prepared on the spot at adjacent grills, or to be cooked by food stall operators in crowded pedestrian areas such as Jemaa el Fna in Marrakesh. There, steamed sheep head is one such dish which is sought-out by locals.

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  • 21 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    Many neighborhoods and market areas have at least one vendor or stall where a variety of roasted nuts, seeds and other snack food such as these candied peanuts might be found. Try making them at home yourself.
  • 22 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    This is another popular beverage in Morocco, easily made by blending almonds with milk and sugar. I like it best served icy cold with a tiny bit of orange flower water added.
  • 23 of 23
    Photo © Christine Benlafquih
    While walking Moroccan streets, you'll find abundant cookies and sweets for sale at snack shops and bakeries, as well as by pedestrian vendors who sell from hand-pushed carts or from trays hung suspended from a rope around their neck. A variety of cookie known as ghoriba is one such offering.