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Eating With Kids in Morocco

Delicious olives and salads in Morocco. Photo by Amanda Mouttaki
Traveling with picky eaters (like my toddler and my husband) means that I always have to worry about whether there will be something for them to eat. So while I love Moroccan food, I’d be a little nervous to go to Morocco because they might go hungry. Amanda Mouttaki, an American expat who lives Marrakech, Morocco with her husband and two boys, thinks differently. Amanda, who shares advice on food, travel, and raising multicultural kids on her blog, MarocMama, says there’s plenty for kids to eat and possibly food for my picky — I mean discerning — husband too.

Morocco is an exciting mix of the familiar and the exotic, making it an ideal location for families traveling with kids. There is always something happening that catches the eye of the smallest (or the biggest!) traveler. Whenever traveling with kids, what and where to eat is a big concern. You will find plenty of choices to please all ages in the streets and restaurants of Morocco.

You’ll find variations of chicken and preserved lemon tajine everywhere. Depending on what season it is it might be served with potatoes, olives, or even French fries on top. Photo by Amanda Mouttaki

You’ll find variations of chicken and preserved lemon tajine everywhere. Depending on what season it is it might be served with potatoes, olives, or even French fries on top. Photo by Amanda Mouttaki

What Will Kids Love?

Of course, every child is different but there are plenty of things working in your favor when eating. First, Moroccans by and large eat with their hands. Tajines and salads are served on plates and communal dishes and eaten by breaking off a piece of bread and scooping up the food. All parents know kids are more likely to eat anything they can use their hands for!

If your kids like olives then they’re going to love Morocco. When you eat out, almost every restaurant serves a plate of olives before the meal. You can also purchase multiple varieties from vendors on the street and in special olive markets found in every city.

Morocco has fabulous breads, so you know your child always has something to eat! Photo by Amanda Mouttaki

Morocco has fabulous breads, so you know your child always has something to eat! Photo by Amanda Mouttaki

Breads! If you have gluten allergies Morocco can be a bit difficult to navigate but if you’re a carb lover, this is your dream destination! Bread is everywhere and eaten many times a day. There are plenty of varieties from traditional French style baguettes to round Moroccan loaves. In the different regions of Morocco you’ll find breads special to that region, such as tahanort a flat bread made in the areas of the High Atlas, barley breads, and stuffed breads filled with a variety of regional delicacies.

Sticking with the starch train, Moroccan breakfast breads are not just for breakfast. You’ll also see them appear on tables at tea time, in the afternoons. Beghrir – a soft pancake, msemmen – a multi layered fried bread, and croissants are all popular items.

Dessert in many places is sweet and calorie laden but here fruit is what you’ll find offered. With so many fresh, seasonal options you may be surprised to find kids who normally turn their nose up to fruit, heartily asking for more. Just like bread, fruit and vegetables are found on every corner and are incredibly inexpensive.

Where Should You Eat?
There are really four eating options anywhere you go in Morocco; restaurants, “snacks”, fast food import restaurants, and do-it-yourself meals. Each of these has its merits.

Restaurants primarily have a similar menu, offering Moroccan traditional meals. Look for family run, small restaurants that will offer more traditional home cooked food. There’s a wide range of options from low-cost meals for a few dollars, to very high-end restaurants providing meals for $50+ per person. If you’re staying at a riad (a traditional Moroccan home made into a guesthouse) they’re well known for also serving some of the best meals.

“Snacks” in Morocco  are small shop fronts with a limited menu of things like paninis, shawarma, pizza, and grilled meats.  Photo by Amanda Mouttaki

“Snacks” in Morocco are small shop fronts with a limited menu of things like paninis, shawarma, pizza, and grilled meats. Photo by Amanda Mouttaki

“Snacks,” are small shop fronts with a limited menu of things like paninis, shawarma, pizza, and grilled meats. They’re very inexpensive and can be a good option for picky kids as you’ll generally be able to customize what you eat. Fast food import restaurants well they speak for themselves. I will be the first to admit a McDonald’s has been a beacon of hope in some situations where my children simply refused to try anything.

Moroccan yogurt, anyone? Photo by Amanda Mouttaki

Moroccan yogurt, anyone? Photo by Amanda Mouttaki

Finally, there’s something to be said for do-it-yourself meals. Exploring international grocery stores can be fun and if you have cooking facilities where you’re staying simple, satisfying meals can be put together inexpensively. The price of basic food stuffs like bread, sugar, and milk are subsidized in Morocco making them incredibly affordable.

 If you’re visiting Marrakech be sure to check out her MarocMama.com for what to eat in the red city. You can also follow her on Instagram for day-to-day pictures of life in Morocco.

12 Responses to Eating With Kids in Morocco

  1. Mary @Green Global Travel
    Twitter: GreenGlobalTrvl
    June 9, 2014 at 6:54 am #

    Alex loves bread, yogurt and eating with her hands. Morocco sounds like it has plenty of great options for even picky eaters.
    Mary @Green Global Travel recently posted..Cycling South Koster Island, Sweden

    • Amanda @ MarocMama June 11, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

      My youngest is picky too but only a few hiccups since moving here! Oddly his favorite sandwich is like a stuffed spleen meatloaf looking thing..strange!
      Amanda @ MarocMama recently posted..World Cup Fever in Spain

  2. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas
    Twitter: sunshinesiestas
    June 9, 2014 at 8:50 am #

    I loved Moroccan food – so many layers of flavor! They’re also much more chicken friendly than Spain!
    Cat of Sunshine and Siestas recently posted..Tapa Thursdays: La Dalia

  3. Penny Sadler June 9, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    Yep with kids eating with the hands is the way to go.
    Penny Sadler recently posted..One Day In Amsterdam

  4. Lillie - @WorldLillie
    Twitter: WorldLillie
    June 10, 2014 at 2:42 am #

    This gives me hope that travel with kids to “exotic” locations is possible!
    Lillie – @WorldLillie recently posted..My Favorite Exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

  5. Terry at Overnight New York June 11, 2014 at 12:58 am #

    Great-sounding advice. Makes me wish we had attempted Morocco when my daughter was little. A country that celebrates eating with your hands seems highly kid friendly at mealtime.
    Terry at Overnight New York recently posted..Roosevelt Hotel: Summer Movies

  6. Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com
    Twitter: ALEAHphils
    June 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

    I can imagine it’s hard to travel with kids who are picky eaters. Moroccan food looks great though. Will keep that in mind. 😀
    Aleah | SolitaryWanderer.com recently posted..7 Things I Love About Sabtang Island, Batanes

  7. noel June 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm #

    All great suggestions especially the do it yourself and go to markets, sticking to basics always work in changing environments.
    noel recently posted..Travel photo : Blue Mosque in Istanbul

  8. Casey @ A Cruising Couple June 12, 2014 at 1:38 am #

    Moroccan food is so great! Would love some right now :) Great suggestions for family travel!

  9. Gran Canaria Local June 12, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

    We loved the flavours when we visited Tangiers. Clearly, we need to return with our kids. As the youngest one is asking for “pollo y papas” every day.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted..Four easy ways to go local on Gran Canaria

  10. Micki
    Twitter: barefootnomads
    June 15, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

    This is exactly right on. We were in Morocco with our two little ones, ages 5 and 8, and even as a (mostly) vegetarian family we found plenty to eat. The tomato salads were delicious, and we found some fantastic lentil soups. Couscous was a huge hit as well, as was the mint tea!
    Micki recently posted..Explore the Natural Hot Spring Travertines of Pamukkale, Turkey

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