El Jadida Snack Night

Today started out in Casablanca, then we explored Azemmour, and now we’ve arrived in El Jadida. We found a campground near the heart of the city and decided to park there for the night. We wanted to walk around in the medina in the evening so we needed a safe place to leave the bus.

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The campground was nice. Hot showers, a little restaurant, and also peacocks…

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After we got settled, we lost no time heading into town. City snack nights are my absolute favorite. El Jadida, like so many other Moroccan cities, comes alive in the evening. Pony rides on the beach and little go-carts for kids, street vendors line the streets, and everyone is out and about.

The first thing I did was make a beeline to this raw sugar cane stand. The guy takes raw sugar cane, sticks lemon and ginger inside, and pushes it through a juicer. The cloudy green liquid that comes out the other side is heavenly. Sweet but not overpoweringly so and perfectly zingy and refreshing. The best part? It cost 70 cents. Can’t get enough.

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Next stop was the grill stands. We don’t usually eat meat, but I make the occasional exception. When in Morocco, do as the Moroccans do, and the Moroccans were most definitely doing the grilled meat sandwiches; the area around the stands was packed.

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Next was Harira, a staple Moroccan soup made with a tomato base, small thin pasta, chickpeas, and sometimes lentils with loads of cumin and other spices. It came with harcha, a kind of pancake made of semolina. Harira usually costs about fifty cents, or five dirhams, per bowl.

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On to snails. Everyone here is crazy for stewed snails. There are guys with huge aluminum pots ladling the shells into little bowls, and everyone is standing or sitting around slurping away. They cost about 50 cents per bowl, and when you’ve finished your snails, you can give the guy back the bowl and he’ll fill it up with broth. I personally can’t really tolerate the consistency of the snails themselves (Philipp loves them), but I really enjoy the soup. The snails are stewed with orange peel, ginger, bay leaf, cinnamon, anise, turmeric, cumin, and other spices that I can’t identify. The flavor is deep and rich and I love it.

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Bellies full, we strolled on. This whole place is a feast for the senses. So many colors and smells and flavors. img_1333img_1335img_1349

Before we headed back, I needed one more snack. I smelled bread as we were walking, and I followed my nose to a man standing with a cart outside a bakery. I bought a piece (for ten cents), and it was still hot from the oven. The man next to him was selling beans, and I got some of them too (for twenty cents).

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Totally satisfied, we walked back to the campground. I so love this country.

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