Move over tagine
The Sardine capital of the world? When I think of Moroccan food, the first thing that comes to mind is couscous and lamb tagine, probably the most commonly known national delicacies. Sardine meatballs do not spring to mind.
Meandering through the souks of Marrakech, I would have thought Morocco was the the global capital for rugs and carpets, yet according to WorldAtlas.com Turkey wears that crown and reigns as the world’s biggest exporter of rugs.
When it comes to Sardines however, no other country can top Morocco, Morocco is king. I can’t believe I’m harping on about sardines – but it’s one of Morocco’s most successful exports, and worthy of a feature.
Essaouira is where the majority of sardine fishing activity takes place, and it also happens to be a popular Moroccan tourist destination for day trips or longer stays, offering much needed coastal relief from the city life of Marrakech Rabat and Casablanca.
What’s the big deal with sardines anyway?
I’m not being funny, but they must be a pretty big deal if Corfu took the trouble of hosting a sardine festival this year along with Portugal and France. It seems that sardines are to be celebrated.
Sardines tend to get a bad name – especially when you work in an office where a colleague decides to heat some up in the microwave – delighting our nasal passages with that unwelcome aroma.
However, the humble sardine is mightily beneficial to health, and not to be snubbed – rich in omega 3 fatty acids, potassium, Vitamin B12 for the nervous system, calcium and iron and thought to reduce blood clots and heart disease whilst providing antioxidant and cancer preventing properties – amongst other things, and cheaper than those fancy oil capsules a lot of us tend to buy – even millionaires like ‘Craig Cooper‘ can’t get enough of sardines.
Sardine appreciation society
Fried sardines happen to be a delicacy in Turkey and parts of India and a popular dish in Sicily, Portugal and Greece.
Sardines just don’t seem to be quite as popular in the UK. From what I can gather, Cornwall used to have a thriving sardine fishing industry during the seventeenth and eighteenth century, before it went downhill and it’s never really resurrected itself since.
A Sardine Lunch
I sampled the goods in Morocco, freshly caught and grilled, they were nothing like the sardines you get in the supermarket. These sardines seemed huge compared to those finger sized things we see in the peel back tins.
Fresh Moroccan sardines had more fish flesh on them, but lots of bones, and the bones weren’t really edible so it took a lot of fiddling to eat through them – that’s probably why they served plenty of bread with the dish.
Tip: If you start chocking on a fish bone – eat bread. Chewing and swallowing dry bread can help dislodge and move the bone along, but don’t chew it too much otherwise it becomes useless mush. So make sure you have some bread nearby whenever you eat fish, it could be a life saver.
Thankful for Sardines
Sardines have made Morocco proud, they have boosted the Moroccan economy and helped keep many locals employed within the fishing community.
Despite being named after the Italian island of Sardinia, Sardines have managed to steal a global claim to fame through Morocco, as the sardine capital of the world.
19 thoughts on “The Sardine Capital of the World: Morocco”
Pingback: 25 Must-Try Moroccan Foods - Mashed - Street Dish
Pingback: 25 Must-Try Morrocan Foods - Mashed - Street Dish
nice blog,,you should also talk about another Moroccan delicacy that is quite popular with street vendors as a daily or weekly staple and might also be an economic contributor,,im talking about snails or as ze french say escargot,,served in small bowls from a mass pile boiled in herbs and spices,,id love to visit morocco one day and a town called sidi ifni ,perhaps you heard of it
Thanks Ziad – I had no idea snails were a Moroccan delicacy, I don’t think I noticed this or saw any while I was there but I’m sure I’d like to visit Morocco again one day if I’m fortunate enough, and I’d certainly look out for this – out of curiosity. I hope you get to visit Morocco too, it’s a very interesting place 😊🐌
Wow awesome picture, Cherryl and so very informative post. Thanks for this wonderful share.
You are welcome, I never thought I’d find talking about sardines so interesting, but it’s amazing what you can discover when you’re curious 😊
Yes absolutely true and agree totally with your words.
Oh, that’s something I didn’t know! Sardines are pretty popular in some parts of Brazil too! We cut them open, roll them on corn flour and fry them! It’s a quick and delicious dish! Great post, have a great weekend!
I’ve never heard of them being fried in cornmeal, that must add some flavour and texture….sounds tasty!!! Have a great week 😋☀️
It sure does add some flavor and texture! Thanks for taking the time to reply! <3
You’re welcome 🤗x
LaShawn Uchenna Ani
This was very informative, I had no idea
Thanks – it’s definitely not what I expected to hear about Morocco either 🤗
Really nice post friend, I like your work. Here is a new friend, Stay connected always.
Thank you for reading – and thanks for the positive feedback, I’m glad you like the blog. 🤗🔆
Thinks! When I read the post title I thought you were talking about politics 🙂
Infact, today sardines in Italy are a spontaneous political movement of people who gather in the squares, being very tight like sardines!
Yes – I stumbled across this in the news while doing a bit of research and it threw me a little as I hadn’t head of these activists 🤔
Had no idea that sardines were so big in Morocco but we love a sardine on toast for lunch. Healthy and tasty.
Lol, I was shocked at the size if them too, and yes, very healthy indeed!!! Thanks for reading 😊