While everything we saw and did on the tour was already amazing, one of the experiences I had been looking forward to for a long time (we booked this WELL in advance, as spaces fill up quickly) was the Marrakech Food Tour that is run by our friends Youssef en Amanda from the blog marocmama.com.
We’d met this lovely American-Moroccan couple for the first time back in Finland in 2014 and since then have seen them launch and successfully run their food tour business from scratch! Youssef grew up in Marrakech and for every stop that they add to their tours, they ask themselves: “Would Youssef’s mother eat the food here?“. The question is then quickly followed by another question, namely: “Would Amanda’s mother be scared to go inside?”. Haha!
I think this sums up perfectly what we look for in a food tour: a showcase of food places that we might not find or dare to into ourselves, but where the food is good enough for the locals to eat and enjoy their meals.
Let have a close-up look to what this tour has to offer.
SPOILER ALERT: We will show you everything we ate at all the stops, so if you’d rather be surprised, scroll all the way down to read our verdict!
What we'll cover in this article
MARRAKECH FOOD TOURS REVIEW
Before going on the tour, we didn’t read any other reviews of the tour and trusted Amanda and Youssef with our lives, basically. We really didn’t know what type of food to expect, which I think made the tour a bit more exciting. It’s good to note perhaps, that both Nick and me are not fussy eaters in general and are reasonably open to trying new things, but hey, you never know what we might come across, right?
We did have a quick look on the website of Marrakech Food Tours to select the tour we wanted. We were amazed by the range of tours on offer (we remember the days that Amanda started with just one tour!!). There are multiple options now that will have you taste the real Marrakech. Here is a quick overview:
Evening Street Food Tour
This is the tour we did! It takes about 3,5 hours and takes you around the highlights in the Medina of Marrakech. Wondering what to expect? Keep reading our review!
The Medina Mix Walking Tour
In about 3,5 hours, you will experience a mixture of street food and sit down restaurant stops showing you classic Moroccan dishes that aren’t typically on menus. All of the food items on this tour are different from the street food tour and you’ll be exploring the Southern medina, so everything will be brand new!
Ijoukak Valley Day Trip and Lunch
On this 8-10 hours day trip, you’ll be driven (all transport included) to the Ijoukak Valley in the heart of the Atlas Mountains (about 100 km from Marrakech) to experience a local meal and rural Berber village experience. You’ll visit the nearby 12th century Tin Mal mosque and get to see the craftsmanship that goes into hand-throwing tajines – and maybe even try it yourself!
Imlil Home Meal Experience
After you get picked up by an English-speaking driver from your hotel, you’ll stop in the village of Asni (or another local market) to get a taste of a rural Moroccan market. From here, you’ll be transported via mule or you can take an easy hike to enjoy the High Atlas Mountains. In Imlil, an authentic Berber village and the starting point for those climbing Mount Toubkal, you will have lunch on the terrace of an Amazigh (Berber) home, complete with a tea making ceremony! For an extra fee, you can also do an additionally a bread baking or weaving class. You’ll be out and about for roughly 7 hours. Please note that this is a partner experience that is not run, but tested and highly recommended by Marrakech Food Tour.
Lunch in the Desert
Don’t have much time, but still like to see the desert and enjoy a special Moroccan lunch? This is the tour for you! In about 4 hours, you will visit the Agafay Desert (approx. 45 minutes from Marrakech, transport included) and feast on a gourmet, multi-course Moroccan lunch in a private tent. You’re free to relax, or take an (optional) camel ride before your meal.
Secret Picnic Day Trip
This special tour will whisk you through the villages of the High Atlas Mountains to a secret picnic destination! With a private driver, you set out for the entire day to a secluded location to enjoy a This picnic isn’t just sandwiches and potato chips, no it’s a Moroccan picnic feast! Please note that this is a partner experience that is not run, but tested and highly recommended by Marrakech Food Tour.
Private (Shopping) Tours
Besides these tours (as if it wasn’t enough), on limited basis you can also book a private food tour or private shopping tour. These are great if you’re with a larger group, have special dietary requirements or are looking to get help with shopping and bargaining in the souks. These tours of course depend on the availability of the guides and might be hard to organise during high season, but make sure to contact Amanda to find out more!
Now let’s have a closer look (finally) at what we experienced on our Street Food Tour!
Tangia and Mechoui
Ok, we knew we would be tasting authentic Moroccan food and were open for everything, but to start off by feeding us sheepshead? Alright, Youssef… GAME ON!
I think everyone on the tour was a bit nervous of what to expect, so actually by throwing us in the deep end and starting off with this dish, I believe is such a smart move. Youssef clearly didn’t take us here because of the shock value (ok, maybe a little), but the dish of ‘tangia’ is one of the most popular dishes in Morocco. Partly because it’s fairly easy to make (just a few ingredients) and otherwise because it’s just very tasty.
Tangia is a clay pot filled with lamb, some liquid, preserved lemon, cumin, garlic and saffron that gets slow cooked overnight in a wood fire oven. When it’s ready, you collect your pot (you used to drop it off at the local bakery) and open it onto a place, to eat with bread.
After having a look at the oven, a hole in the ground where UP TO 40 ENTIRE SHEEP fit in, we headed upstairs to have a nice view over the market and wait on a table filled with a variety of dishes. We tasted the tangia (with our hands, as you do), as well as the lamb cooked in the clay pit (the ‘mechoui’) and – to top it off – we also have a go at eating straight from a roasted sheep head, that definitely tasted better than it looked).
When Youssef asked for volunteers to eat the eyeball, we thought nobody would do it, but fellow traveller Graham from England said he’d be interested! He didn’t blink twice and ripped out the eyeball, swallowed it and smiled like it was nothing. What a hero!
Amanda has put up a Tangia recipe on her site: marocmama.com/making-marrakechi-tangia-home
All The Olives!
If there is one thing I LOVE, it has to be olives, so for me the second stop on our tour was heaven. Morocco is apparently the world’s 4th producer of olives, but they mostly consume them locally instead of export them. Which I totally understand now. We tasted so many varieties and they were all so large and tasty, I could have just stayed here for the rest of the evening and be happy. But, we had to move on, so let’s go!
There was a girl on the tour that didn’t like olives (apparently, it’s a thing), but at no point in this tour are you forced to eat anything you don’t want, which is of course great. There are many stops along the way, so if you don’t like one of the stops, chances are you will love the next.
In case you have any allergies or dietary restrictions, always make sure to let Amanda and Youssef know.
Harira and Msemmen
Harira is a hearty soup made from tomatoes, chickpeas, lentils, rice, lamb and different spices and a typical dish for Morocco. I always say I’m not such a soup-person, but I really liked this one, because it was quite thick and filling.
Together with the soup, we were given so-called ‘msemmen’. This is Morocco’s take on the French crêpe / Indian flatbread. This baked pancake-looking treat is made from thin layers of dough and then fried on a hotplate. Stuff them with a nice hearty filling, and you’re good to go in the evening, or top them with butter or jelly in the morning! For me personally, these pancakes were one of my favourites on the trip and I’m going to look for a recipe to make these at home for sure!
Oh wait, of course there is a recipe over on MarocMama: marocmama.com/msemmen
Hout Quari (Sardines Sandwich)
I know, the thought of a sardines sandwich might not water your mouth, but you should give it a go when in Marrakech, they are actually really tasty and less ‘fishy’ than you would expect. These sardine sandwiches are Youssef’s favourite treat from his childhood days and we can see why he loves them!
Did you know that Morocco exports more sardines than any other country? Who knew! For that reason alone, a dish without sardines wouldn’t do their cuisine justice. The sardines are served as a patty in a bun, topped with spices, chili dip, onions and olives. Super yummy!
You can find a recipe here: marocmama.com/moroccan-fish-recipe-hout-quari
Sfenj / Sfinge (Moroccan Donuts)
As soon as we took a bite of these donut-looking treats, we recognized the flavour! These are exactly like a snack we call ‘Oliebollen’ (‘Oil Balls’, haha, sounds better in Dutch) in the Netherlands! We eat them exclusively at New Year’s Eve (Which we actually call ‘Old Year’s Evening’ or simply ‘Old & New’, but that aside from now), but in Marrakech you don’t need to wait that long and can buy them simply of a street cart. And you must! So Good!
Recipe? Of Course: marocmama.com/sfinge-moroccan-doughnuts
Behind the Scenes
What we didn’t expect on this tour is that we’d see a lot ‘behind the scenes’ of the city as well, which was great! You soon realize that even though the shops seem all separate, the entire Medina is made up out of a maze of streets with well-organized communities. People are not only living, but cooking together here.
A great example of this was the bakery, where not only the bread for the restaurants and stores get baked, but you can also deliver your dough and have bread baked for your family. That makes this location almost the heart of the community, because it is here people come to ‘gossip’ and get a bit of insight on what families their children might marry into. The baker will know what’s going on in many households!
Another behind-the-scenes stop we made was at Marrakech’s own ‘recyling station’. The person working here, keeps a fire going day and night by basically burning everything he can find that’s garbage on the streets. Not quite in line with the UK’s health and safety regulations, but it’s an important job for the city as this is what heats the water for the hammams nearby. In return, the ash from the hammam gets used again to to prepare Tangia, so people can bring their clay pots here and have their meals cooked.
Babbouche (Boiled Snails)
Boiled snails anyone? While this wasn’t my favourite (it’s more the thought of it, than the actual taste that didn’t work for me), I’m glad I gave it a go. Who else can say that they went to Morocco and ate snails from a street cart?! If you were ever curious, during this quick stop is your chance!
The Spice Market
From the snails, we walked into another part of Marrakech that not many tourist will get to, as this is where the locals do their shopping. Piles of spices and clay tagines and other cookware were stacked up in the shops around us and we even spotted some shops selling more dubious items, such as animal skins and bones, but also live chameleons and turtles. We were told these were ‘pets’, but I don’t really believe that somehow!
Either way, we walked through a completely different world than we were used to and it was great to have a trusted local with us that could show us around safely.
While at this point in the tour, I had already almost exploded of all the food we’d been given… there was still more! We were sitting down at a family-run restaurant and got offeren delicious Moroccan Mint Tea and a massive plate of couscous, that tasted better than any couscous you’d eat anywhere else. The ladies serving us where so friendly and we could spend some time looking around the locals packing up their stalls at the market, before we moved on to our final stops.
We felt guilty for not finishing (by far), but don’t worry that foods get wasted here!
Moroccan Cookies & Milkshakes
What better than to end any meal with something sweet?! For our final stop, we stopped at a little place selling cookies & Moroccan milkshakes.
One of my favourite treats is called “Chebakia” and we got plenty of them. This super-tasty deep-fried pastry is shaped to look like a rose and is covered in syrup made from honey and rosewater and topped with sesame seeds. Tastes as good as it sounds! The other cookies, we could gladly take away in a little box and ate in our hotel room the next day :)
To make them at home, check: marocmama.com/chebekia
If you thought the milkshake was something the Americans invented… think again! If you’re looking for a creamy milkshake, Morocco is the place! You can usually choose between almond/date or avocado flavour! For some recipes, check the following links:
We had an amazing time on our street food tour in Marrakech and were positively surprised by just how many times we stopped and ate! I have to confess that even though we tried to not eat too much earlier in the day, it was still hard work to actually finish everything during the food tour. I really enjoyed the variety of the dishes and all the stories and behind-the-scenes looks that Youssef was able to give us.
One of the best things about this tour is that you’re able to eat at places you wouldn’t find on your own, and that you know it will be good, because a local took you there! Marrakech can be really overwhelming and because a lot of the food is being sold by street vendors, you might be a bit hesitant to try thing out. A lot of the food places in Marrakech won’t have any English menu’s and so you might be put off by going somewhere else, a place that is (usually) more geared towards tourists. By going on this tour, you’ll have nothing to fear and will discover some amazing dishes that you can remember your time in Morocco by.
Because we did this tour on our last day of our trip to Morocco, we were a little bit worried that the tour would show us the exact same food that we’ve been eating all week, but boy where we happy how wrong we were! Besides perhaps the couscous at one of the stops, every single dish that we got was completely new to us and it definitely made us realize just how little of authentic Moroccan cuisine we’ve tasted so far. The tour gave us the motivation to plan a Morocco trip in the future and try out many more delicious bites that this country has to offer!
If you are still curious and want to see a little clip of what you can expect, check out this video made by Amanda:
TO BOOK YOUR OWN MARRAKECH FOOD YOUR WITH AMANDA & YOUSSEF, HEAD OVER TO THEIR WEBSITE: marrakechfoodtours.com
Time Zone in Morocco? GMT +1
Currency in Morocco? Moroccan Dirham. Check the latest exchange rate here.
Electrical Plugs in Morocco? 220V, Type C and E. We recommend getting a universal travel adapter to never worry about having the right plug on your travels!
Languages Spoken in Morocco? Moroccan Arabic (Darija), Arabic & Berber + French. We had no trouble getting around with just English and our G Adventures guide helped us everywhere, as he was a local and spoke all the languages needed.
Best time to visit Morocco? Spring (March-May) or Autumn (September-October). Summer can be nice on the coast, but will definitely be too warm more inland. Make sure to also take the date of Ramadan, the month of daytime fasting, in account when planning your trip!
Insurance for Morocco? Make sure to get travel insurance! We recommend checking out worldnomads.com
More Great Resources:
- Skyscanner – Find the best flights to Marrakech
- Booking.com – Find the best hotels in Marrakech
- Get Your Guide – The most popular tours & activities around Marrakech
Hotels in Marrakech, Morocco:
Here are some suggestions of nice hotels & Riads to stay in Marrakech:
- 2Ciels Boutique Hôtel [see the best deals on booking.com]
- Riad Chorfa [see the best deals on booking.com]
- Riad Palais Sebban [see the best deals on booking.com]
- Riad Alwachma [see the best deals on booking.com]
- Riad Farhan [see the best deals on booking.com]
- Hotel & Spa Riad El Walaa [see the best deals on booking.com]
- Riad El Wiam [see the best deals on booking.com]
- Riad Goloboy [see the best deals on booking.com]
Make sure to check out our other Morocco articles:
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Disclaimer: We were kindly given one ticket to the food tour from Youssef and Amanda for review purposes. All photos and opinions in this article are, as always, 100% our own.