Hunting Maakouda in Fez, Morocco
I had previously read somewhere that I needed to head to Ville Nouvelle, the modern and contemporary face of Fez, to hunt for some maakouda, which could best be described as Moroccan potato cakes or fritters. They’re a popular street food in Morocco, where they are eaten on their own or used as a sandwich filler in wedges of Moroccan khobz.
On our full second day in Fez, with foreheads dripping a little bit from the evening drizzle we headed to the Blue Gate (Bab Boujloud) to get a taxi to Ville Nouvelle. A local man by the Blue Gate had advised us that we were better off just getting it right under our noses in the Bab Boujloud area.We hadn’t been to the Ville Nouvelle so we decided to go anyway.
For 10 Dirham a rather friendly and talkative taxi driver beckoned us into his taxi. For a good 15 minutes he talked non stop in French. To be polite I respond animatedly to his every utterance in a mixture of “Ouis” and “Yes yes ok ok” interspersed with what was really on my mind “maakouda”. He spoke not a word of English and my French did not go beyond “Oui” but for some reason my frequent mention of Maakouda must have hit home. He drove us to Cyrnoss a highly recommended Maakouda restaurant, I had made a note of on my notepad, in Ville Nouvelle. I must have shaken his hands a thousand times as he beamed and continued to give thanks to God for a good job done.
I have to admit I had read about Maakouda but had completely forgotten what it was. Was it some kind of meat? Vegetable dish? Or something else ? As we approached the street restaurant all I saw were sauces so I had to ask what Maakouda was. As quick as a flash three small oval shaped patties had been handed to us to try. One bite and I knew our dinner that evening was sorted.
We were told there were two options. One was Maakouda with an omelette in it and the other cheese. Apparently they’d be put in a bread roll. We ordered one each. Just under 5 minutes our Maakoudas were ready and the waiter was busy placing two plates with sauces to go with it on our table. We ordered two sodas to wash it all down afterwards.
This was delicious stuff but we couldn’t handle it in the bread roll. It seemed like carbohydrate overload and after a few bites we were both full with half of it still to go. We cunningly started stripping the bread roll away just so we could get out just the Maakoudas.
Out table was right next to the kitchen so I could watch the guys making the Maakouda. There was a bit of division of labour going on. One guy formed the Maakoudas by hand as another tossed them into a large pan of hot oil.
We were done after a few minutes and ready to get a taxi back to the old medina to our our riad. Such is Moroccan hospitality that one of the workers came all the way to the main road to help us hail our taxi back.