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Morocco guide
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Last updated : Nov 2009
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Food & Drink

Morocco’s traditional haute cuisine dishes are very good and excellent value for money. They are always quite elaborate, based on a diet of meat and sweet pastries. The restaurants in hotels usually serve French cuisine. Restaurants offer a great choice of food which include typical Moroccan dishes, Italian, French or Spanish meals. The 3-course fixed menus are cheap. Many of the souks have stalls selling kebabs (brochettes) often served with spicy sauces.

Restaurants mainly have waiter service and bars can have either waiter or counter service. Laws on alcohol are quite liberal, for non-Muslim visitors, and bars in most tourist districts stay open very late. Beers, wines and spirits are available. Locally produced wines, beers and mineral waters are great and excellent value, but the imported drinks tend to be expensive.

Morocco specialities:

• Harira - a rich soup.
• Pastilla - a pigeon-meat pastry made from dozens of different layers of flaky thick dough.
• Couscous - a dish based on savoury semolina which can be combined with lamb, chicken, egg or vegetables.
• Tajine is a stew, normally rich and fragrant and using chicken or marinated lamb.
• Hout - a fish version of the same stew.
• Djaja mahamara - chicken stuffed with almonds, semolina and raisins.
• Kab-el-ghzal - almond pastries.

National drinks

• Mint tea - made with green tea, sugar and fresh mint - very refreshing and its consumption is an integral part of Moroccan social courtesy.
• Coffee is made very strong.


Service charges are usually included in the hotel bills and it is customary to tip hairdressers, cinema usherettes and waiters MAD1-2.


Morocco offers a good range of entertainment from casinos, restaurants, bars, discos and nightclubs, often with belly dancing. There are modern nightclubs in cities and resorts around the country. There are casinos located in Agadir, Tangier, Mohammedia and Marrakech. Traditional Moroccan entertainment, such as folk dancing, can be seen in many towns.


The co-operative shops of Moroccan craftspeople, coopartim, operate under state control selling local handicrafts at fixed prices and issue an authenticity receipt or certificate of origin for customs when exporting goods or products.

To visit for local products, Souks are good places. Special purchases include leather, tanned and dyed in Fès, copperware, silver, silk or cotton garments, and wool rugs, blankets and carpets. Bargaining is important and necessary, and good buys generally work out at around 1 - 3rd of the original asking price. In the south, there are Berber carpet auctions, particularly in Tiznit, Taroudannt and Marrakech and tourists will need a guide to make the best of these occasions.

Shopping hours

Monday-Thursday 8.30 am - 12.00 pm and 2.30 - 6.30 pm and Friday 8.30 - 11.00 am and 3.00 - 6.30 pm. The larger stores are open Monday-Saturday 9.00 am - 1.00 pm and 3.00 - 7.00 pm.

Souks - traditional markets- are open Monday-Sunday 8.30 am - 1.00 pm and 2.30 - 6.00 pm.

Social Conventions

Handshaking is the customary form of greeting in Morocco. A number of the manners and social customs emulate the French, especially amongst the middle class. The visitors may find, in certain social situations, that patience and firmness will pay dividends. Visitors may sometimes find themselves the centre of unsolicited attention. In towns, young boys after money will be quite eager to point out the way, sell goods or simply charge for a photograph, while unofficial guides will always be offering advice and services. The visitor should be courteous but also wary of the latter. Normal social courtesies should be observed when visiting someone’s home.

Casual wear is broadly accepted, although swimsuits and shorts should be confined to the beach. Women travelling alone, and/or wearing clothes regarded as provocative (eg strappy tops, short skirts, etc) may attract some unwanted attention. Homosexual conduct and sexual relations outside of marriage are punishable by law. Smoking is widespread and it is customary to offer out cigarettes.
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