MOROCCO | Rabat – Sale Food Trip

Sunday, February 17, 2019

After having an introductory taste of Moroccan food during our four days in Casablanca, we wanted to advance our taste buds to a few more local dishes. Rabat was our second city for our month-long trip around the country, and its bustling old medina was the perfect grounds for another round of food tasting, Moroccan style.

 

 

INZA RESTAURANT

  ADDRESS: AVENUE MOHAMMED V, RABAT MEDINA, RABAT | OPENING HOURS: 10:00AM TO 11:00PM | GPS MAP: 34.024861, -6.839653


To be honest, we didn’t really get all out adventurous during our three days in Rabat and our day trip to Sale. Our first meal, an early dinner on our first day, was at this popular local restaurant or more like an eatery, Inza. It’s an open-air affair with very tight al fresco seats along the Avenue Mohammed V—the medina’s main artery—and they mostly serve all sorts of pizzas, paninis, shawarma, and other local Moroccan meals. We liked the food we had so much that we went back again twice on our second and third day in Rabat.

INZA RESTAURANT ALONG AVENUE MOHAMMED V INSIDE THE RABAT MEDINA

Our first meal consisted of mixte tagine (mixed tagine) and poulet pasticcio (chicken pasticcio). Tagine is Morocco’s unofficial national dish, it is actually a name of an earthenware dish covered with a conical top. With this, Moroccans slow-cook anything from fish, chicken, beef, lamb, veggies, and even eggs on this—usually with a heavy serving of spices, nuts, and dried fruits. The weird shape of the lid actually acts as a condensing agent, bringing the flavor back down to the dish being cooked on the lower part of the pot.

MIXTE TAGINE

We really didn’t know what to expect of a tagine dish, so we decided to have everything—which is what a mixte tagine is (MAD 27.00 | USD 2.80). Beneath the thick red sauce, it has saucisse (sausage), lamb, beef, and mystery meats. It’s then topped by eggs and a thin sheaf of cheese. It came with half a serving of a hardy circular bread called khobz, which you use to scoop at the contents of the tagine. For an eatery, our first taste of a Moroccan tagine was very very good. It has a very tomato-ish flavor mixed with the stronger garlicky salty flavor of Moroccan sausages and spices. C and I agreed that this would really be great with rice.

POULET PASTICCIO

The poulet pasticcio (MAD 25 | USD 2.60) n the other hand is also quite good, although not as remarkable. It’s basically linguine pasta on white sauce and chicken, covered with cheese then baked until the top melts all the way down.

FALAFEL

The next day, we tried their falafel and hotdog panini. The falafel (MAD 12.00 | USD 1.20) was a first for us, so we were quite curious with the round meatballish thing they served us which turned out to be no meat at all—it’s made of chickpeas with lotsa spices. Eww, right. Wrong. It’s absolutely wonderful! Crisply fried on the outside, buttery tender on the inside. It went perfectly well with the sour and cream-ish (garlic?) dip.

HOTDOG PANINI

The hotdog panini (MAD 10.00 | USD 1.00) was just that, sausage on a panini with a sides of fusilli pasta. It actually reminded us a bit of the chawarma we tried during our Casablanca food trip.

PIZZA VIANDE HACHE

We needed something easy to take away for our last meal at Inza since we’re gonna head straight to the Gare Rabat Ville train station for our journey to Asilah—the next impromptu town on our list—and pizza seemed a good choice. Rabat’s serving of a pizza usually comes on a mini size, like about six to eight inches in diameter. Good enough for one person.

PIZZA SAUCISSE

I ordered pizza saucisse (sausage) (MAD 20.00 | USD 2.00) and C ordered pizza viande hachee (minced meat) (MAD 15.00 | USD 1.50). From our first meal here, I’ve started to love Moroccan sausages—strong flavored, very garlicky, and slightly sour—so my pizza was a hit for me. The additional cheese, bell pepper, and olives made it even better. The minced meat pizza on the other hand was like your usual all meat pizza –except this one has no bacons or any kind of pork. Still good. We wolfed down everything in a matter of minutes. Now we’ve got nothing to take with us for the train ride.

 

 

RABAT CENTRAL MARKET

  ADDRESS: AVENUE MOHAMMED V, RABAT MEDINA, RABAT | OPENING HOURS: 5:00AM TO 9:00PM | GPS MAP: 34.022526, -6.839009 


Since our lodging has no complimentary breakfast, we were forced to find a cheap morning fare every day. And found one, we did on the nearby Central Market just a few meters away from the gates of Rabat’s Old Medina.

EATERIES AT THE BACK OF RABAT’S CENTRAL MARKET

We were actually looking for m’semen or something similar but we can’t seem to find a stall selling them. What they have though are egg tagines (MAD 8.00 | USD 0.80). Alright, we’ll try those. We usually buy two of these which are automatically paired with a refillable glass of mint tea—very sweet—and half a loaf of khobz. This bread seems really popular in Morocco. I love their egg tagine, especially when sprinkled with salt and cumin. It’s like having a sizzling egg of sorts.

BREAKFAST SPREAD

EGG TAGINE

The second time we went here, we actually found a stall selling m’semen. We bought one, then went to our favorite stall which sells egg tagine, then paired the two together. It couldn’t be more perfect! One more glass of mint tea, s’il vous plait.

M’SEMEN AND MINT TEA

 

 

SALE MEDINA EATERY

  ADDRESS: AVENUE SAID HAJJI, SALE MEDINA, SALE | GPS MAP: 34.035947, -6.821256


What we were really craving for, after almost a week in Morocco was rice—we’ve had nothing but bread since we arrived. Burgers, pizzas, chawarmas, paninis, are all fine and dandy, but we’re Asians, and Asians need rice to survive. Rice. Rice. Rice.

AN UNMARKED STALL INSIDE SALE MEDINA

It was with great delight then when we found a makeshift stall hawking rice at the Sale medina. But, Moroccans don’t eat rice the way we usually do. They use it as salad filling for breads. Cold rice. Inside bread. With pastas.

We. Cannot. Comprehend. How.

CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT: FRIED PEPPER, SARDINES, POTATO, EGGPLANT

MARINATED SARDINES IN WHITE AND DURUM FLOUR BEFORE FRYING

Undaunted. We pointed to the rice, pointed to a plate, then acted on scooping the rice onto the plate. Success.

We then chose to complement it with deliciously fried battered sardines, plus what seemed like quail eggs with orange batter (tukneneng). We know it probably isn’t really our beloved street food in Manila, but we ordered it anyways hoping it was really tukneneng but which turned out to be mashed potato balls they call maakouda. It’s not as great as meatballs, or even falafel, but we have rice and the sardines was really excellent—crispy outside, softy inside—we could not care less even if the maakouda was made of bitter gourd and that our meal cost 60 dirhams (USD 6.00). We’re having a rice meal!

OUR VERY HAPPY RICE MEAL IN SALE

 

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2 comments

  1. What a great post. And how lucky are you to get to sample a variety of dishes. We mainly got the obvious like kefta, tagine and couscous. By the 3rd day, we were craving for pizza and burgers.

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    Replies
    1. Hmmmm, we weren't able to try kefta at all during our whole time in Morocco!

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