Before I left for Morocco I heard from a number of people who had also been that the food is great and that I would eat so much yummy food while I was there. However, these people were not vegan. It has been two weeks now living in Rabat, and I have had some strange, some bad, but mostly good experiences with finding vegan friendly food to eat in Morocco. Before coming we were told that Moroccans are very hospitable and shower their guests with lots of food and mint tea. However part of this hospitality involves serving lots and lots of meat as it is seen as being respectful of your new guests. And while I was told that traditional Moroccan cooking and baking does not contain very much dairy or eggs, the heavy French influence in Morocco means that flakey, buttery, French style pastries are extremely common. Before leaving I was quite nervous whether there would be anything I could eat, or if I would have to spend a lot more money on extra food. Needless to say I brought a lot of granola bars with me.
So far lunches have been the hardest since we are limited to restaurants that are downtown near AMIDEAST. It can be hard sometimes to find a place that everyone else wants to eat at, that is relatively inexpensive, and that has something on the menu I can eat. In addition, during our day trips our lunches and sometimes dinners are organized by AMIDEAST and are a set menu. Sometimes this means that I am unable to eat it or I am limited to sides and appetizers. However the majority of the time people have been very helpful and have modified dishes for me if there is no vegan option on the menu.
At home our host mom has been great at making sure that both Jenn and I have plenty to eat. She has made us a variety of different veggie and bean based soups, pasta dishes, tagines and couscous, all of which have tasted great. What I have noticed though is that eating meat seems to be associated with eating well, and there for not eating it is associated with not eating enough. My host mom and host sister are both constantly telling me to eat more, and even forcibly putting food on my plate before I have finished my first serving. The other night my host mom even said “Kelly doesn’t eat very much, does she?” a comment that my friends and family would laugh at. All of this in spite of the fact that most nights I eat as much, if not more than Jenn. For the most part I don’t mind because the food is delicious, but if it’d probably a good thing that most of the pants I brought have elasticated waistbands.