Saturday, April 23, 2016

Chez Lamine Hadj Mustapha - Marrakech

Our best meal in Morocco took place just off the public square of Marrakech, the Jemaa el Fna, at Chez Lamine Hadj Mustapha. I've already blogged a little bit about it in a post on sheep's head. But sheep's head was only part of our meal. Our guide, Abdul, took us to a pit where lambs are roasted in the ground for about 24 hours. There is a group of stalls, all in a row, selling lamb cooked in that pit. Roasted lamb bodies are on the counters of those stalls just waiting for people to come and buy the lamb by the kilo. 
The sheep are cooked in the whole in the ground in the center of the picture.
A sheep visible in the pit.
Sheep for sale on stall counters. 
Abdul ordered a 1/2 kilo of lamb for us, the 1/2 lamb head I've already blogged about, and a tangia (a clay pot for cooking) of cooked beef. The beef was great, nice and moist and soft, but it is very tough to beat lamb, especially lamb slow roasted for 24 hours. It was superb. We went back the next day for a late lunch and ordered a kilo of lamb and 1/2 a lamb's head. I particularly enjoyed the bits of fatty, crunchy lamb bits infused with the cumin/salt combination. 
Olive appetizer with various types of olives. 
Tangia pots out front, several with bread stacked on top of them. 
Judy and I with food in front of us.
Lamb head liberally sprinkled with salt and cumin.
Tangia pot with the beef from it in a separate dish. 
Roasted lamb bits.
Part of what makes the Jemaa el Fna so fun is the variety of activites going on in the square, including snake charmers, and the labyrinth of stalls with vendors hawking food, clothing, dishes, pots, carpets, etc. What I particularly enjoyed were the colors. So I share some of the pictures of the square and the vendors, with an emphasis on the wonderful color. 
As evening descends, the Jemaa el Fna gets going. The pinks and oranges get emphasized as the sun does down.
Another part of the square. Light from some of the vendors jumps out.
Right after the sun went down, light on the horizon and a mosque minaret in the background.
Purveyors of fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc.
Lighted stall with a mosque minaret in background.
Orange juice vendors and a lighted up mosque.
Dates and nuts.
Olives galore.
Olive vendors were my favorite.
Purses and other leather goods.
More plates and tagines.
And more plates. I loved the colors that covered the specturm.
Finally, a man employed to keep the fire going that heats the water at a bathhouse. He continually feeds the fire with saw dust. Several tangia pots are in coals near the side of his head, cooking. 


  1. I was a bit reluctant to eat "street food" in a narrow alley of Marrakech, but it was a good reminder that the best food is often not found in the fancy restaurants on the square. Along with the lamb you bought on the highway in Bosnia, this was my favorite lamb dish of all time. Great color shots at the end, especially that last one.

  2. It's hard to beat anything that's been slow cooked for 24 hours. The pictures of the colorful market are wonderful.