MOROCCO | Casablanca Food Trip | Lakad Pilipinas

Casablanca Food Trip

We eat almost everything. And during our Moroccan four-day Casablanca opener, we wolfed down every new thing we see, from McDonald’s burgers we haven’t seen elsewhere but in Morocco, to mystery meats being grilled along the corners of the medina. We really don’t have much money, so we almost exclusively ate along the streets and alleys of Casablanca. No fancy restaurants for us—even if we really wanted to. But okay, no, we don’t like eating on fancy restaurants, lol. We like to eat what the locals eat, and that includes fast food, haha.

 

 

FAST FOOD


Okay, forgive us legit travelers if the first meal we had in Morocco was a burger and fries combo from the good ol’ Golden Arches. McDonald’s was the first restaurant that greeted us as we alighted at the Casa Port Station from the airport. We were terribly tired from our Singapore to Casablanca malady, and terribly, terribly hungry. The comfort of McDonald’s took us in, a hundred and ten percent.

McDonald's Casablanca Food Trip
OUR FIRST MEAL IN MOROCCO, MCDONALD’S. YEAH.

To appease ye high and mighty travelers, we ordered a burger unique to Morocco—as far as we know—the Grand McExtreme Sauce Mayo de McDonald’s (MAD 69.00 | USD 7.20). Apparently Spain also has this burger, but it comes with bacons. Ours didn’t. Darn.

McDonald's Grand McExtreme Casablanca Food Trip
GRAND MCEXTREME SAUCE MAYO DE MCDONALD’S, SOUNDS, ERR, EXTREME

The burger is huge, so C and I decided to upsize the frites—as they call their French fries—and share the combo meal. The burger has two beef patties topped with a double helping of smoked cheese, pickles, tomatoes, red onions, Batavia salad, and lathered with a not-so-generous helping of mayo sauce. The fries it came with was the same as all the McDonald’s fries we’ve tried everywhere, the difference being the moutarde de Dijon or Dijon mustard, the traditional mustard of choice for the French, which is slightly spicy and has a stronger flavor than your regular one. It went extremely well with the fries. We’re instant convert!

KFC Casablanca Food Trip
KFC DINNER BOX POULET

The second time we went for fast food in Casablanca was on our third day. Visiting the Plage Ain Diab (Ain Diab Beach), we passed a Kentucky Fried Chicken joint that beckoned to us. The last time we’ve had fried chicken seemed like an eternity ago—actually, more like a week ago, during our Singapore food trip, tee hee.

So we went in, ordered the KFC Dinner Box Poulet (chicken) which contains three pieces of hot and crispy fried chicken, a bun, fries, and a cup of coleslaw (MAD 59.00 | USD 6.10). This would’ve been perfect if they have chicken gravy and hot white rice. But they don’t. We ate it on KFC’s open deck overlooking the beach. I need gravy.

 

 

CHAWARMA & PANINI


Big Ben Casablanca Food TripChawarma Poulet Casablanca Food Trip
SPELL MOROCCAN SHAWARMA? C-H-A-W-A-R-M-A

Alright, moving on to more local flavors, we did get to try a few of Casablanca’s street fares. Our first taste of Morocco came in the form of a shawarma, which they spell with a c, like charwarma. We stumbled upon this small shop, funnily called Big Ben, selling this plus a few more sandwiches and pizza on a local market somewhere on the outskirts of Casablanca’s New Medina (Quartier des Habous).

Panini Poulet Casablanca Food Trip
PANINI POULET WITH FRITES

I went for the chicken chawarma poulet (chicken) while C opted for the panini poulet (MAD 15.00 each | USD 0.00). It tasted mighty different from the shawarma we’ve come to love in Manila. Morocco’s version has a much stronger flavor due to the number of spices they sprinkle and dash with abandon on the chopped roasted meat. As a side, we ordered frites (MAD 5.00 | USD 1.50) and asked if they have moutarde de Dijon, they did. We absolutely loved it.

 

 

HOUT QUARI


Hout Quari Casablanca Food Trip
GRILLED SARDINES

While walking along the narrow alleys of Casablanca’s medina, we chanced upon a guy grilling what seemed like burgers right on the street. Having had no lunch yet, we decided to give it a go.

Hout Quari Casablanca Food Trip
VERY SIMILAR TO PANDESAL

We cannot be more wrong. The burger was not beef, it was fish! Sardines to be exact. The mashed burger-like thing is sardines. I cannot believe it. We were intrigued. The thing is then sandwiched on a pandesal-like bun with additional powdered seasoning (hanout or cumin, perhaps), chopped onions, and oleander. They call this hout quari (MAD 5.00 | USD 0.50).

Hout Quari Casablanca Food Trip
THE FINAL PRODUCT, HOUT QUARI

The taste? It was nothing like a hamburger. It actually tasted more like the chawarma we tried the day before, only instead of roasted chicken, it’s sardines. Not bad, actually. And we actually considered going back if only the guy wasn’t selling his religion to us like it’s the end of the world. Didn’t he read about the three things you shouldn’t be discussing when eating? Politics. Religion. Game of Thrones spoilers.

 

 

BRIOUAT


I cannot ignore spring rolls. My head spun faster than Linda Blair’s as soon as we passed an elderly lady hawking a cart of spring rolls at the busy United Nations Square. We backtracked and bought a small bag, sampling both the triangular and the tubular variation.

Briouat Casablanca Food Trip
SPRING ROLLS AND SAMOSA? NO, IT’S BRIOUAT

What we thought was the regular meat spring rolls and vegetable samosa turned out to be more. Briouat (MAD 1.00 | USD 0.10), as they call it, is a savory fried or baked puff pastry popular as appetizers in Morocco. It uses warqa or filo dough wrapping that’s filled by chicken or lamb—the one we bought was chicken—mixed with pepper, cheese, and lemon. It’s actually pretty good!

 

 

M’SEMEN, HARCHA, & SWEET TEA


I wouldn’t have sampled the best Moroccan breakfast if the Hotel Central [CHECK DISCOUNTED RATES] offered complimentary breakfast. Since we didn’t have any, we were forced to roam the medina of Casablanca for early morning grub and coffee. What we found was m’semen. I know it sounds, uhmm, err, icky, but it’s actually really good!

M'semen Harcha Sweet Tea Casablanca Food Trip
HARCHA, M’SEMEN, AND SWEET MINT TEA

The name actually came from smen which means clarified butter. It is a series of thin, soft, and elastic pastry layered on top of each other—sort of like crepe, but thicker. It can be eaten as is, but for better effect, the guy who was doing our m’semen adds a portion of Laughing Cow soft cheese, a sprinkle of salt and cumin, and chopped hard boiled eggs. It comes with a complimentary (we think) glass of sweet Moroccan tea (MAD 10.00 | USD 1.00).

M'semen Casablanca Food Trip
M’SEMEN LATHERED WITH LAUGHING COW CHEESE. YUM.

Most street stalls selling these during early mornings also have another bread on their shelves, harcha, a thick—about half an inch—flaky bread with a very slight sweet taste. We didn’t really like it, mostly due to its crumbly texture, but it might be good if dunked on coffee. M’semen is the best meal I’ve had in Morocco yet, in fact, I ordered seconds.

 






Posted by Lakad Pilipinas on Thursday, January 31, 2019

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