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.
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.
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,” 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.
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.