We had been through Marrakech’s famous square, Djeema El Fna, many times in the few days we were there. However, we were a little hesitant to explore the famous night market found every evening in this huge open air circus. Unable to keep away, we finally acquiesced and jumped headfirst into this veritable pageant of the bizarre.
The smoke is what strikes you first. The fires from hundreds of food stalls produce an incredible amount of smoke that forms dense clouds encircling the square. Then, almost instantaneously, the din from thousands of conversations, the bright string lights and the delicious smells wafting above the Djeema el Fna like smoke from a genie’s lamp all hit you at once.
It’s hard to know where to start, so the best bet is to just dive in. Be forewarned though, there is a nightly competition amongst the vendors to attract as many customers as possible and you will be heckled. The hawkers will yell, cajole, grab and sometimes even block your way in order to get you into their stall. Just remain stalwart and steadfast in your goal and don’t let them intimidate you.
There’s a little bit of everything at the night market, but for some good eats I recommend stall #32. They are usually so busy that their hawkers don’t have the time to harass anyone, so you can peruse their offerings without interruption.
The menu is pretty concise, but the food is excellent. It’s all in French, so
brush up on your food lingo before ordering. We had the saucisses, which are little grilled sausages and some boeuf haché, or little hamburgers. They give you bread so you can make your own sandwiches. Wash it down with some mint tea or a Coke and you have a quick and tasty meal. I say quick because the stalls are not a place to linger. Once you’re done, they want you out so the next customers can eat.
After this hearty meal, head to the dessert area of the night market. Find one of the stalls selling hot mint tea and shaved portions of spice cake for a perfect end to your culinary adventure.
The bustling and chaotic Djeema el Fna may not appeal to everyone, but a walk through the largest square in North Africa is a priceless travel moment you will never forget.