it looks good eat it and it all looks good to me I'm a chef a food critic and dine columnist who believes the best way to experience a culture is by digging a little deeper for your dinner no matter how strange or where you find it I tend to spray far from the predictable keulen airy path sampling tidbits that might seem a little bizarre to the average set of taste buds tonight putrid meat with eggs I love it a full plate of North African specialties in the mysterious and tantalizing country of Morocco I'm Andrew Zimmern and this is Bizarre Foods Morocco maybe on the continent of Africa but its culture reflects a mix of European and Mediterranean influences unique in the Muslim world this is a country that embraces its Berber history along with a mid-century reputation as a jet-set destination Winston Churchill called it the loveliest spot in the entire world and it has become a natural backdrop for many a modern movie one of Morocco's most famous cities is Marrakech defined simply as mysterious and exotic so my journey begins here at the center of Marrakesh in the famed Jamaa el fauna the public square that is the soul of the city once home to a great Empire history repeats itself every evening here when the Sun sets and the square transforms into a hub of activity and destination for local cuisine it's the reason I'm here at 5 p.m. on the dot hundreds of food vendors converge on to the square hauling and setting up their portable restaurants and two hours later Shazam this is the jamal al phenom packed wall-to-wall with hundreds of the most outrageous food vendors you've ever come across and the open-air carnival surrounding them is already in full swing there are countless snake charmers one of the four most deadly snakes in the world and there's not a good grill anywhere in sight if you mess with me I'll eat you for a few durham vendors will adorn You with any number of creatures for a few deer and more they might even remove them get this there are even walk-up dentists who will pull your teeth on-site oh boy I trust him implicitly go ahead back to the real reason I'm here the food I follow my nose to a place I dubbed lamb alley in the corner of the Jomon they have a unique setup here on one end the more well-off customer can buy pieces of whole roasted lamb called mosh wheat and as you go down the line stand by stand you'll find lesser quality cuts of beef ending with a vendor that sells only a soup made with the bones I've decided to start with the best cut of all the mosh wheat a treasured delicacy in Morocco look at that mash we cooked vertical inside a deep clay pit Oh beautiful beautiful now we're lucky enough to be the very first in line for this first lamb that came out of the oven so he's given me literally the best bite on the whole lamb oh that's really good he just seasoned him a little bit of cumin salt spectacular now so that they didn't burn he puts the shank bones inside the carcass so that he can serve those to someone who likes the tendons from down near the front of the ankle if they were left on the animal itself they dry out in burn and not be servable spectacular well and notice that he's giving me some from the leg some from the chop and maybe some from the shoulder or neck my order is taken to a little food court where diners can sit and enjoy their meal it's my first taste of Morocco and well worth the wait oh I don't even know where to begin fabulous knuckles the breasts the luxury cuts for those of you who have never tried this incredible delicacy there's no better way to eat lamb than roasted whole it's smoky its rich its addictively greasy that was great but as I wander back to lamb alley I discover a different stall and specialty the sheep's head and I mean the whole head they're steamed to make them tender the skin is peeled off the face and then they cut up all the delicious little bits that are inside there ah now he's just given me a little piece of the ear fat which again like the gentleman that handed me that best little taste off the whole mash we this is generally considered to be the best part of the head and you know that you're an honored guest in a food stall in lamb alley when you get the first little piece of fatty gelatinous roasted lambs head ear thank you mmm that says gelatinous and fatty as I imagined it would be which smokey and very very good mm-hmm super now he's peeling away the skin in the face and there are all the goodies so yeah bag mail see mail see my favorite bite on the whole head is the little cheek a little bit of this a little bit of the season salt Cheers hmm very good for those of you out there wondering how much of a head can you actually eat well as you can see the answer is the whole thing the Lambs tongue may look tough but once you unwrap the paper recovering the meat inside is really tender there is another delicacy in here that most people choose to pass up but not me come on over and you'll see what I'm talking about let's see if we can get that little bad boy out of there and by bad boy I mean eyeball ready for this Cheers I'm watching you yeah that's good all of the flavors of the lamb who serve concentrated and pooled into this one globby fatty tissue II substance and let's say you just threw it into your mouth you would have the experience that I have there is no words on earth you can describe the texture of a roasted lamb's eyeball to you but let me just tell you it was the essence of the barnyard after tossing down an ear a cheek some neck and a roasted eyeball here in lamb alley and I can tell you this for sure this is the best tasting cup of tea I've ever had that eye opening experience was just the beginning of what's to come stuff pancreas anyone words family at a time like this my culinary tour of Morocco continues as I seek out everything from the practical to the bizarre in this meat lovers paradise oh look at this the Lambs tongue Cheers oh I've yet to sample the other food stalls in the Jamaa but as I start to wander the labyrinth like streets that surround the square I realize the Jamaa is only the tip of the iceberg Wow beautiful this is the souk or marketplace just off the medina in marrakech morocco and it's the oldest and largest in all of the country in its thousands of meters of back alleys and teeny little squares they're bursting at the seams with vendors selling food of all kinds roasted lamb sandwiches fresh orange juice mint and herb vendors Olive vendors the smell of fresh olives in the market is absolutely intoxicating let's do a quick olive 101 these are olives that are in the rose or violet colored family traditionally these are cooked with meat dishes green olives are traditionally cooked with chicken dishes black olives are dried and seasoned with olive oil they're traditionally eaten just on their own I can't stop eating these these are incredible mmm the Moroccans love to pickle food it was the old kind of pickled vegetables back there and of course preserved salted lemons a staple of Moroccan cooking another popular dish here in the souk snails simmered day in and day out in giant vats abroad these little gastropods our North Africa's finest with the best one oh these are great but the best part is the broth which is traditionally sipped it's loaded with lots of spices especially turmeric very very good for your coughs boy these are good every part of the soup has a different theme and now we're in dates ville everywhere you see dried fruit and dried nuts and of course primarily dates there are about 30 different varieties of dates that are grown in Morocco and all of them are rated depending on size and sweetness it's like honey so pretty one food item I've always been curious about is called Kalia which I found in one of the sucks back alleyways it's a staple of the Moroccan diet meat that is salted dried cooked then packed in layers of fat which preserves whatever meat lies underneath at least that's the theory is cutting away the meat with a giant scissor that way he only takes the outside part and spoilage is limited Kalia is a breakfast food in Morocco so I grabbed a tub to go for tomorrow so we've got our Kalia mystery meat salted and cooked in its own fat preserved we've got our Amma Lubert almond paste with argan oil and honey and essentially this is going to be our breakfast mmm mystery meat animal ooh the breakfast of champions having packed my Kalia safely away I head back out into the centre square of the Jamaa the vendors and grills are smoking my first stop is stall number 9 which is jam-packed with locals always a good sign in my book now all the vendors in the square serve different parts of the animal and here you can get Sheepshead you can get beef liver or lung and you can also get beef tongue and that's what I'm here for I like mine sliced extra thin this is unforgettable it's very sticky it's very beefy and let me tell you these fresh tongues out here sitting in the sunshine it's a little gamey as well as I walk through the stalls another interesting melange of meats catches my eye now the prep cook is threating lamb kabobs but I'm not interested in that yeah that's for the average eater but over there in the little bowls he has deep heart and he's also got beef pancreas as well this is gonna be a Bizarre Foods buffet oh he's got it stuffed with rice and currants that's one of the things they do here we won't know until we slice into it this is gonna be interesting merci all right look at this let's try the heart Oh their texture on that it was horrifying a cow's heart is very big so if you have squares from a solid piece of the muscle it's very tough but if you have a square that includes a piece of the ventricle oh is it Sydney week all right here's the pancreas words fail me at a time like this there's a crunchy aspect to the outside of the pancreas that I really can't explain but from a flavor standpoint it tastes just like blood sausage which I like so despite its gamey mineral equality that all innards share in common I quite like the taste now no one should eat pancreas alone which is why I was more than delighted to make room for two Japanese tourists who recognize me from my travels through Asia you want to try something with me get back up I not have you been to Morocco before okay so what you do is you take a piece of bread and then you take one of the skewers and this is a Moroccan yakitori exactly exactly exactly so you just take a little like this so what do you think it is good isn't it right Eva yeah it's uh I don't know which piece you got some is liver some is hard but yes it's very very good I'm the first person and you should expect to see here exactly exactly as the Sun Goes Down the square lights up and the revelry continues well into the night I stopped for one final treat dessert if you will an unusual twist on a classic cup of Moroccan tea it's different herbs and ginger and a little bit of sweetener because it's very strong it's supposed to be a drive a diuretic for the kidneys and supposed to warm up your whole body and of course do magical things for you in the arts of love oh there's cinnamon in there it's really good though what a great way to wrap up this day for tomorrow I head to the desert for a change of scenery and a taste of the unimaginable putrid meat with eggs I love it a pile of Kalia the Moroccan breakfast of champions when Bizarre Foods continues Marrakech Morocco is one of the world's most exotic vacation destinations people come here for the scenery the entertainment and of course the food ah boy if you consider eating a full-contact sport this is the stuff that makes a champion season but there is so much more of Morocco to see and eat so I decide to head out to the desert I met up with my guide a local named mo how is this about fabulous fabulous you ready uh oh you're fine let's go the hot bustling city quickly disappears as we begin our six-hour journey over the high atlas mountains the tallest range in North Africa the road takes 365 twists and turns as we pass dozens of Berber villages on our way up and down the mountain these indigenous tribes are the original inhabitants of North Africa and survived centuries of invasions and onslaughts by taking refuge in the mountains on our way to wors azad we stopped in this small little village it's nothing more than a cluster of buildings and all these people are from essentially the same tribe that lives up here in the hills it's market day and the villagers shop for everyday supplies and produce moroccan fruits and vegetables are world renowned for their quality and flavor one thing is true whether it's the biggest supermarket in New York City or the smallest Berber countryside market everyone fishes through the onion pile thinking they're gonna find a better one why is that the similarities end though at the meat market where goat is the featured special the hoofs are left intact so that the savvy shopper knows what it is that they are buying and this is something that's absolutely fascinating this is a male goat and the very last cut will be sold with the testicles attached people want to see that it's a male here because the female of the species takes too long to cook now that we're back on the road it's time to think about breakfast the Kalia that pile of mystery meat has been sitting in the hot van since yesterday so I'm sure it's nice and ripe mo knows of a beautiful Kasbah where we can stop and Eve these castles or Garrison's are found throughout southern Morocco and were originally built to house tribal leaders and protect the Berber tribes from outside invaders I'm standing here at the entryway to the Oasis in front of the ancient Kasbah I'd been hadoo the old fortress that has served as the background for many of Hollywood's most famous movies in fact the film gladiator was shot right here and whenever I'm an eyepin hadoo all the locals refer to me by my gladiator nickname stomach asuma's as well they should judging by what I have planned for breakfast tango Kalia mixed with eggs is a popular breakfast dish here in Morocco the mystery meat what kind is anyone's guess is salted dried and then preserved in its own fat that's the yellow mushy stuff you see surrounding the meat putrid meat with eggs I love it I get myself prepared beautiful view lots of sunshine and a plate of who knows what the putrid and foul stench that accompanies the rotten spoiled meat that we've mixed in here with our eggs this morning is doing two things simultaneously that I always thought were mutually exclusive it's both scaring the pants off of me and attracting every fly within 500 kilometers of H benhaddou little egg a little bit of whatever this is – mini breakfast burrito oh my gosh that is really strong the smell through my nose is of rotted meat there is no amount of visiting some of the most hellacious and thousand places on earth and trust me I've been there that matches up with getting your face up close and personal with a little alia for breakfast oh I think I can I think I can I think I can I think I can oh my god thank God there's some kind of chicken egg in there to sort of soften the blow oh my lord if you really want to understand the culture of a country you try everything you eat everything and I just defer to the people that enjoy this dish and I defend their right to eat Kalia every single morning of their lives if they like for me it's definitely an acquired taste but you got to give me some points I tried it twice as my Kalia fades into a bad aftertaste I'm off to cross the mammals to where's the sod and the southern Oasis a lot of the best food is separated by thousands of miles in the desert so the best way to get around from joint to joint is by camel trust me on this it's important you have to have a huge skill set when you're a Bizarre Foods aficionado now you'd think that camel meat would be a popular dish in Morocco but the truth of the matter is camels are quite expensive and worth much more as a means of transportation than as a meal yeah don't worry lucky for this guy because after that Kalia even he's looking pretty tasty well after a six-hour schlep through the Atlas Mountains I finally reached the town of War's Azad which believe it or not is home to the largest movie soundstage outside of Hollywood Lawrence of Arabia was just one of the movies shot here because of the gorgeous desert landscapes for me though a late lunch gets top billing wow this is spectacular look at this nice palm trees beautiful tagine is the national dish of Morocco and something the cooks that love thali restaurant are known for super oh that's so incredibly moist yeah from roasting in that cylindrical pot and the lemons are so tart and salty onions liras in the juice you know Oh always the name tagine describes both the food and the dish it's cooked in it contains meat in this case chicken vegetables nuts and spices all cooked over an open fire let's talk about the chicken for a second – yeah obviously this is not chicken from the neighborhood supermarket this is chicken with from out in the yard they've got a much stronger poultry flavor than most people are used to that can be sort of shocking when most people taste it for the first time and if you're really going to do it up right you end the meal with another local favorite mint tea you know in this country when we drink mint tea you say be sahak besa besa hoppy so how your tea my friend when night falls in wars azad everybody heads into the town square people flood into the little snack shops that line this beautiful part of town this is the best place to find some really unusual foods they have sausages roasted kidneys cooked a la plancha on the griddle me I'm going for a Moroccan mixed grill of sorts which starts with the preparation of the kidneys now look kidneys might not be your thing and kid he's on the street in the southern highlands of Morocco may not be your thing but come on griddled onions and tomatoes does that make it sound good like my uncle Vinnie used to say back in New York forget about it sip alfaye uh soup Alba beautiful we'll start with a little bit of the mare gasps sausage mmm now that we've gotten our toes in the shallow end of the pool let's wade into the middle of the pool a little bit of the captain the seasoning mixture for that is super spicy oh my gosh texturally it's almost crunchy witty now into the deep end of the pool let's try some of these kidneys Cheers a visa mmm from an old lamb little gamey little irony mineral copper aftertaste this has got some big flavors this is not win food Wow hard to believe but I think I've hit my personal limit for organ meat intake I'm ready for a change of diet and scenery when we come back a trip to the shores of Morocco where it's anyone's guess what they're pulling out of the ocean for me to eat I love fish heads what can I say they said it was going to be 125 degrees back in Marrakesh so I hightailed it to the seashore to the North Atlantic coast of Morocco to SOR ax the sardine capital of North Africa you know what I always say if you're looking for something funky to eat head to the seashore SOR is known for two things it's insanely busy fishing port and it's hippie past inspiration to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Cat Stevens today locals and tourists flocked a sawara for its miles of sandy beaches and the freshest fish on the coast nothing says quality like fish being sold on the docks of a marketplace all these fish are seen right here just came off of these boats this mad scene has played out every day on these docks for centuries it's actually a fish auction where local chefs food stall owners and the occasional TV show hosts scrambled outbid each other for the best of the day's catch now seafood and sunshine doesn't equate to many Americans especially in terms of keeping the fish market ready as we like to say but if you look closely right here you can see that the fish in these baskets and laid out here are sprinkled with fresh sea salt comes out of the same waters and that preserves the fish and retards bacteria this guy is filleting a moray eel actually it's a pregnant female you can see the ROE sac there we vote I think this fellow was telling him in Arabic don't throw that away that's the best part beautiful look at this beautiful I'll take the Rey sign tells me we're in for a real treat well six fish about eight kilos that should be enough for my lunch don't you think and all for only 15 bucks unreal my bag of fish firmly in hand I check out this ancient walled city that once was a counterculture Mecca and is now a popular tourist stop now of course every side alley here on the wharf has all types of different things here there's fresh shrimp sardines this is a small turbo filet of sole that's sepia little cuttlefish and I think I think we'll have some of those grilled half-kilo yeah you'll see over here are dozens of vendors whose sole purpose is to cook up the food that people buy down on the docks or in the other fish markets it's why you come to s whare get it buy it they cook it I eat it the cost of cooking and serving the fish I bought plus all the side dishes will only cost me about 30 Durham's which is about three US dollars lunch is sir I'm Elsie boy I'm really gonna embarrass myself now because I think I may eat all 17 pounds of the fish I bought these cuttlefish have not had their little internal skeleton system removed so you can see here if you just peel away there's a hard carapace right here it's actually more like the exoskeleton of a bug then bones on a fish but once you get past that inside here are the legs the ROE sack the head and all of that beautiful meat now here's a stingray look at that Luke was stringy the meat is and it feels really rich and fatty texturally that's not the most pleasant fish I've ever eaten before always try something twice this is really mushy and kind of ammoniated now what I love the most about these sardines is it because they're salted on the docks to retard the spoilage they're already perfectly seasoned in that salt and olive oil just make such a nice crust on the outside of them and all you have left is the part that most people leave behind I love fish heads what can I say you'd think I'd be filled up after that fish feast but you must have me confused with your uncle Morty you know I can't pass up a chance to hit the local market now this is a real spice vendor you can see up here he's got all his different mixed spices and here you've got cures for all sorts of things that plague you if you're stressed out have a little pile of this if you're having problems in the love department perhaps a little bit of this dried galangal root might help you out now this one here is used for growing hair if you have a problem with that I can personally vouch that this one doesn't work so hot while this souk is only half the size of the souk in marrakech it's easy to get lost deeper and deeper block out four block left turn right turn to just keep getting further inside this maze of a marketplace I have no idea where I am I'm completely lost but it's all good I wander back out onto the beach and decide to head to the Eureka Valley where I've got a date with some goat couscous it's not so much that you can taste the hay and straw in the flesh itself but if we close your eyes as a food culture the North African country of Morocco is a blend of European Mediterranean and African influences and they all come together here at the local market one thing I find fascinating is the abundance of live animals in other words a fresh food source they're saying you don't see everyday in your average supermarket peacock now of course in traditional markets you buy your chickens you buy your hens you buy your bunnies and they're dispatched in one room this skin is singed over an open fire to make plucking a little easier and then it's returned back to the same stall where they'll finish taking all of the little under feathers off as well and then into the tagine it goes tagine a meat stew of sorts is one national dish of Morocco couscous is the other I've been invited to enjoy a combination of both with a family who lives in the Eureka Valley a beautiful one-hour drive outside of Marrakech the Moroccans are very hospitable people and there's no greater honor than to be invited into a home to share a traditional family meal ah bozo bozo preparations are in full swing when I arrived so I hightail it into the kitchen my hosts Aida has an amazing feast plan here you can see the tagine with some oil and mixed spices getting ready for the lunch that we've been invited to share and of course the ps/2 resistance the main dish fresh goat what's going to happen here is the probably cut off the head and smoke or boil it they'll use all the bones for stock they'll probably make a meal out of the neck I'm hoping they let me have those she's washing the meat which is extremely fresh to begin with this is just fabulous it's it's better than being in a four-star kitchen in Paris I can tell you that food fresh from the source now that's fine dining and watching a pro at work is priceless oh nice look at that she's been around a few kitchens in her day I feel like I'm in very good hands with sayyida this house like those you see throughout Morocco is made from mud and straw bricks dried in the Sun keeping it cool inside even though the temperature outside is soaring well over 100 degrees the lifestyle here has remained unchanged for a thousand years no electricity no indoor plumbing and cooking implements that are as traditional as they get when you need to crank up the heat a little bit Jesus that really small bellows look at that the pan is a little tilted so sayyida grabs her trusty hot rock out of the burning coals and wedges it against the side of the pan to keep it even while it's over the fire I can't believe I just saw that now the couscous that we're eating is made by taking this grain and mixing it with water and actually rolling it in their hands preparing this dish is a long process usually taking about three to four hours it's well worth the wait she's got a little bit of butter in there that's the spin the cultured butter that's made with curdled cream gives a unique slightly tart dairy flavor and also keeps all those grains from clumping together look at that sigh ITA's husband has been called away unexpectedly and Moroccan custom does not allow her to sit down and join me for lunch sadly I have to eat alone or almost but my disappointment is quickly forgotten this smells very very aromatic the overwhelming perfume there is of the safranin of the vegetables there's an unmistakable sweetness coming off of there and I will say if you've ever seen kids making sand balls at the seaside then you'll know how to make looma which is the traditional way of rolling couscous you just toss it in your hands and then you use your thumb mmm try some goat mmm now goat meat is absolutely delicious and it's almost a barnyard sort of quality that it has from all of the feed that these animals consume it's not so much that you can taste the hay and straw in the flesh itself but if you close your eyes I think you can hi there you go it's very important to befriend the family cat wherever you are can you go it's been a wonderful afternoon I've watched a pro at work and as-sayida prepares for her husband's return I thanked her in the universal language shared by chefs and Grateful diners the world over mmm fabulous it's back to Marrakech where yet another Moroccan feast awaits this time dinner and dance and one last trip to the Jamaa el phenom every Tuesday night after 6:30 brains of the early bird special come on down bring grandma not only is Marrakech known for its fabulous street food but also its luxurious restaurants for my dinner tonight I've chosen Sharaman named after one of the characters from a thousand and one Arabian Nights I've heard that they have a killer pigeon pie off the charts good which I can't wait to try like many cultures around the world Moroccans love to celebrate with friends family and food and a traditional bestia pigeon pie or tagine dinner is one of those occasions especially in a formal restaurant like this so here are all the accompaniments to those traditional foods please note I'm not getting any special treatment here every meal ordered in a restaurant like this is accompanied with this huge fanfare of food it's considered the salad course and as much as I adore all of these the real jewel in the crown are these little bad boys right here these are called three watts they're little savory pastries and they're filled with vegetables and chicken as I continue chatting away I'm distracted by the increasingly loud sounds of a local music group that's headed straight for my table the food they're after my three watts never mind turns out they're just after me this is very typical of a Moroccan meal in a restaurant different groups are performers cycling past your table enticing you to dance and generally act like I'm acting right now it's dinner and a show having tipped the entire group enough to buy a few moments of silence I'm finally ready for my dinner oh look at that with dried fruit almonds and braised beef what a spectacular tagine bestia the pigeon pie and for dessert this wonderful fruit tart with dates and crushed nuts and drizzled with honey this is spectacular now one of the things that's unusual about this bestia is that it's made with pigeon in the traditional style many places even Morocco traditionally also serve it with chicken but the pigeon makes it truly unusual and something that we very rarely see in any other country alright let's see how the bestie is really wonderful and not gamy at all the kitchen is absolutely delightful not those sweet spices are just killer believe it or not I finally had it this feels like Thanksgiving in my grandmother's house I needed nap I decide to call it a night every new day brings another cue linaria adventure as my journey to Morocco winds down I hightail it back to where it all began the jamaa el fauna the city's largest public square those are whirling dervishes I can't help myself I spot a plate of poached brains and I go for one last taste now see these little bad boys here they've been sitting out all day in the hot Sun are about as nasty a little snack as I can imagine yeah nice Court wheel not only am i enjoying this and eating it but every single guy out here is looking at me and smiling cuz it's a small club the professional eaters guilt we all know each other and we all say yeah calves brains I salute you dirt for dinner yeah it's very good what an amazing culinary adventure I had in Morocco from the seaside of Eswari Oh with those incredible grilled sardines to the high mountain desert of where's his odds and that Kalia the preserved mystery meat to the back alleys of the souk in Marrakech and the jamaa el fauna stuffed grilled pancreas calves brains it was incredible who knows what I'm gonna be eating next haggis in Scotland balut in the Philippines who knows but remember if it looks good eat it friends in the marketplace I keep eating all their olives hello Oh stuck I've been eating all day I've been eating all day

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Methew Wade

24 thoughts on “BIZARRE FOODS – MOROCCO”

  1. arrrr….too good.

  2. بغيت نعرف واش عجبو الخليع ؟ يلا ممكن تشحولي متانفهمش بزاف الانجليزية. شكرا

  3. Dang, now I miss Morocco.
    I do have to say I've never eaten an animals head and I'm never planning on doing.

  4. Yep. Keeping some unrefrigerated, fatty meat in the car in extreme heat, and trying to eat it the next day, would absolutely be beyond a challenge. I don't care what culture or part of the world you live.

  5. when you know this guy will eat your shit and say it taste like human waste not shit but waste lol

  6. They serve boiled sheep's head in Iceland too. It's more of a traditional dish there as well. I would personally not try it but kudos to those who have the balls. I know I'd probably get sick as hell

  7. I don't believe everything he tries is really great. I know people that think everything tastes good, they give 5 stars to everything they try. Others, like myself, a little more choosy, for example, I never liked internal organs.

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