What & Where I Ate : Marrakech

NIK AT JEMAA eL FNA's EDGE

NIK AT JEMAA eL FNA’s EDGE

Jemaa el Fna is located in the exotic city of Marrakech and is known to locals as the ‘heart of the city’. It is a part of Marrakech that presents an ever changing character with the rising of the sun and well into the night. It is a cultural mix of colour, scents, sight and sound and is one of the liveliest attractions in Morocco.

How can you come to Marrakech and not eat here? Food might not be the best in the world but the atmosphere of the square at night is really what makes the dining experience amazing. There are lots of happenings… and lots of food stalls and restaurants where you can try proper tajines, kuskus and every Middle Eastern cuisines you can think of. So if you’re in Marrakech you have to brave the Jemaa el Fna at night as it provides an unforgettable food and cultural experience. UNESCO declared Jemaa el Fina a ” Masterpiece of World Heritage’.

During the day, the Jemaa el Fina is filled with stands selling fresh squeezed fruit juices, figs, dates, dried apricots, mint and spices. By 10 am, the daily performance is underway. Snake charmers blast oboes to calm hissing cobras, henna tattoo artists beckon to tourists and water-sellers in fringed hats clang brass cups together, hoping to drive people to drink.

At night the square fills with locals and tourists…..and turns into a huge open air restaurant. The entire square is pitch black, lit only by the light of the full moon and endless food stalls. There is smoke, steam and the smell of food everywhere. Each stall tries, rather aggressively, to get you to choose them for your dinner. We spent a little time walking through, seeing what was available before settling down for dinner…we tried a few dishes at a few stalls..eating very lightly at each stall. The best dish is the sheep’s head Tajine with Arabic bread…Andrew Zimmern would definitely try this dish.

Tajines in Moroccan cuisine are slow-cooked stews braised at low temperatures, resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. They are traditionally cooked in the tajine pot, the conical cover which has a knob-like handle at its top to facilitate removal. While simmering, the cover can be lifted off without the aid of a mitten, enabling the cook to inspect the main ingredients, add vegetables, mix the contents, or add additional braising liquid. Trust me,,this sheep’s head Tajine is the best in the world.

JEMAA eL FNA

JEMAA EL FINA

SNAKE CHARMER

SNAKE CHARMER

EAGLE SHOW

EAGLE SHOW

MOROCCAN DANCE SHOW

MOROCCAN DANCE SHOW

PASTRIES GALORE

PASTRIES GALORE

FRESH FRUIT DRINKS

FRESH FRUIT DRINKS

NIK AT GOAT'S HEAD DISH

NIK AT SHEEP’S HEAD STALL

SHEEP'S HEADS IN BACKGROUND

SHEEP’S HEADS IN BACKGROUND

GOAT'S HEAD DISH

SHEEP’S HEAD DISH

MARKET SCENE

MARKET SCENE

JMAA eL FNA SUNSET WITH CORDOBA MOSQUE IN BACKGROUND

JEMAA eL FINA SUNSET WITH KOUTOUBIA MOSQUE IN BACKGROUND

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