During the day Djemaa el Fna square in Marrkesh is desolate with a handful of orange juice sellers and henna artists scattered around. It is only just before dusk falls that Djemaa el Fna comes alive as dozens of green wrought iron carts are wheeled in to create an open air smorgasbord of food.
Smoke rises from the grills as the chefs clad in white expertly baste kebabs. Walking between the stalls the theatre unfolds as each proprietor tries to lure you to eat with them “stall number 47, number 47” they plead “we have air conditioning” they joke. They are expert at picking nationality. “You Australian? Kath and Kim. Summer Heights High. Home and Away” they shout enticing you with their knowledge of popular culture. For 60 dirham (£6) you get flat bread with salad of pulped tomato, six kebabs of lamb and chicken, merguez sausages, fries and a soft drink.
Or you can be more adventurous and eat at the stalls frequented by locals which serve lamb from hoof to tail. A line of lambs heads is proudly displayed on the counter and for 40 dirham (£4) you can have slow cooked lamb tagine scattered with pieces of orange or some brains lightly grilled. There is no cutlery at these stalls and the flat bread you are given serves the double purpose of acting as a scoop and mopping up the meat juices.
A further line of stalls offer “dessert carts” of Moroccan pastries and fresh mint tea. A meal at Djemma el Fna is one of the best you will have in Morocco and certainly the cheapest. Don’t leave it too late though as after 10pm the stalls start packing up so they can be wheeled away until the next night.
Details: Djemma el Fna square, Marrakesh, Morocco.
Damage: Such a bargain even my mother would approve.
If you liked reading this you may also like reading about the market in Aix en Provence in France – quite a change of pace to Djemaa el Fna but fabulous food as well.