“Wherever you go, do as you see.” The Spanish saying leaves us with this advice which, logically, you should apply during your trip for good behavior. Therefore, in this post, we have compiled some dining customs in Morocco that it would be good for you to know. It should be noted that these customs are more strictly applied when the meal is held at home, within a local family. However, in restaurants that usually have foreign guests, these customs are applied more flexibly. In any case, you should always use common sense to respect the people around you and not offend anyone.
The Importance of Hands
Hand hygiene is a rule of special importance in Islamic culture. And Morocco is no exception. Moreover, here it makes even more sense because some dishes are customarily eaten with the hands, like local salads, pinching with the thumb, index, and middle fingers. However, if the dish offered is not strictly Moroccan, it will always be eaten with utensils, so you will not have this doubt in international restaurants. And in higher-end establishments, utensils are usually provided.
Another important detail is that you should use your right hand: the left is considered ‘impure’ in Muslim culture, probably because it is associated with personal hygiene. The fact that in the past all food could be eaten with hands or with the help of bread made the participation of the left hand unnecessary. In any case, nowadays it is preferable not to use it for eating and that, at most, it serves only as a ‘support’.
Bread is sacred
In Muslim culture, bread is sacred and never absent. In fact, sometimes it is the necessary aid to eat certain dishes that traditionally were not eaten with utensils. Therefore, respecting bread is one of the main dining customs in Morocco. Playing with it is frowned upon, so if you are traveling with children, we recommend you bear this in mind. It is also considered sacrilegious to throw bread in the trash: at homes, it is kept for the next day and, as this is difficult in restaurants, it is always a good gesture to finish the serving of bread provided.
No Mobile Phones at the Table
Although considered a gesture of respect in almost all cultures, in Morocco, it is frowned upon to have the mobile phone present at the table, either directly (talking, chatting) or indirectly (having its notifications interfere with the meal). Each meal is blessed by saying ‘bismillah’, which is a thanksgiving to God for the food. Therefore, paying more attention to the mobile phone than to the meal itself demonstrates disdain for what is on the table.
Burping is a Myth, but not an Offense
Many wonder if burping after a meal is among the dining customs in Morocco. And in reality, it can be considered a myth: it is not expected of the diner to emit a burp at the end. But it is true that it is not considered an offense or a lack of respect. However, it should be done discreetly.
In any case, if you have doubts about these or other customs in Morocco, do not hesitate to ask the waiter or our staff: they will be delighted to indicate what can and cannot be done when you sit down at a table in a country restaurant.