If you’re traveling on a shoestring or you just love good food then when you’re in Fes you stay near the Bab Boujeloud end of the Medina. End of story. If you were to stay in another part of the Medina then eating options may tend to be limited however down near the Bab Boujeloud you’re never short of snacking or dining possibilities. Not that other options throughout the Medina don’t exist. I’ll mention a few of those as well.
If you’ve been to Morocco before or can begin to picture how difficult it is to pinpoint an address in a maze-like Medina, you’ll understand why some of the locations mentioned below are vague at best. Refer to the map at the end for a bit of a helping hand.
After being woken up by the muezzin’s call before the crack of dawn and yet another cold shower, it’s time for your hardest decision of the day. Breakfast is either coffee, tea or orange juice at the simple little cafe just inside the Bab Boujeloud (1) along with the bread smothered in honey that you’ve already picked up from the shop (2) opposite to the entrance of Hotel Cascade. All of the bread on offer there cannot be faulted and the variety spans all traditional Moroccan styles. You just need to point at whichever tickles your fancy, indicate your slab size with your hands and don’t forget to add ‘avec miel’ (with honey).
Keep in mind that I use the term ‘bread’ here for no better word. This is a country where if a Khobz (the most commonly found bread across Morocco) is dropped on the ground it’s picked up and kissed before being placed back on the table.
This place’s Harsha (semolina bread) and it’s cousin, made with barley, come highly recommended.
Alternatively you can be a touch more adventurous and go for a Moroccan breakfast Tagine, a Khlii omelette, at 3.
Khlii is the Moroccan equivalent of beef jerky that’s been cooked and then preserved in animal fat, oil and water and forms part of an amazing omelette when cooked with eggs. The salty, chewy little bits of meat punch through the oily, fluffy eggs to create an amazing start to your day. It can only be enjoyed with mint tea though, you’ll need to get your coffee from 1 above if you need a caffiene fix.
After wandering around for the morning you’re probably starting to get a bit peckish. First stop is a bowl of Bessara (fava bean soup) at the stall that you eye straight ahead after turning left off Rue Talaa Kebira once you hit the beginning of the Henna Souq, walking away from Bab Boujeloud.
After squeezing in for a bowl of Bessara with the locals head to Bab Rcif and enter the souk from the Western end of the square. Turn left once you’re inside the souq and after passing the decapitated camel head and the stall dedicated entirely to selling snails that will end up on someone’s plate later that night, be mesmerised by the ladies making light, eggy pancakes over the bizarre oblong shaped heating elements. Pick one up before heading back to Bab Rcif to get stuck into while watching the local kids run around playing soccer in the square.
You’ll want to spend the next few hours getting lost in the massive, sprawling Medina in order to work up a sufficient appetite for dinner. If you need a snack to get you through the afternoon, drop in and pick up some slightly soured Moroccan yoghurt from any of the stalls dotted throughout the Medina, an avocado smoothie from 4 or better yet, head back to 2 and get some onion Mssemen that’s loaded with paprika and is essentially a meal in itself.
It’ll be dinner time before long and it was worth waiting for.
Your night starts with a bowl of Harira with a squeeze of lemon and a couple of pieces of Shebakia from the stall (5) tucked into Rue de la Poste off Rue Talaa Sghira. The Harira served here is up there with the best of them.
The eating culture is very much ‘eat and run’ in Morocco so after your bowl of the Moroccan staple head back onto Rue Talaa Sghira, turn right and then squeeze into the first sandwich shop (6) that you come to on your left.
Now you have another important decision to make, how adventurous are you feeling? Are you in the mood for a safe but still very enjoyable lamb sandwich or are you willing to push the boundaries a bit more and go for a stuffed pancreas or stuffed spleen offering? All come with a lick of chilli sauce and a handful of sliced olives and whichever decision you make you really can’t go wrong. You especially can’t go wrong at 10dh (US$1.25) a sandwich.
And I would recommend the stuffed spleen. Go on, when in Morocco…
If you need anything else on the way home, grab a couple of rice filled, honey drenched pastries from the guy selling them in a pram (you read right) from out the front of 2.
It may also be time for your last mint tea of the day back at 1. Just don’t think about how much sugar you’ve consumed in the last 12 hours.
Early until 9pm
Bread Shop (2)
Early 'til late
About 5dh ($0.60) for a breakfast sized chunk for two with honey
Breakfast Tagine (3)
Early 'til late
25dh ($3.10) for the Tagine and 10dh ($1.25) for tea
5dh ($0.60) per bowl with bread
5dh ($0.60) each
Smoothie Shop (4)
Closed during the afternoon
5dh ($0.60) each
Harira Stall (5)
From early evening
6dh ($0.75) for Harira and Shebakia
Sandwich Shop (6)
10dh ($1.25) per sandwich
Pastries from a Pram (7)
Opening times are quite ambiguous but from late afternoon is a safe bet
2.5dh ($0.30) each
Please note that the opening times and prices quoted above are, as anything in Morocco, quite elastic.