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Table customs in Morocco: a few things you need to know

“Whithersoever thou goest, do as thou seest.” The Spanish proverb leaves us this saying that, of course, you should put into practice during your trip for a good behavior. Therefore, in this post we have compiled some customs at the table in Morocco that you will want to know. It must be said that these customs apply more strictly when lunch or dinner is celebrated at home, in the bosom of a local family. On the other hand, in restaurants that are used to having a foreign public, these customs are applied more flexibly. In any case, you should always follow the rule of common sense in order 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, it makes even more sense here because some dishes are usually eaten with the hands, such as local salads, by pinching with the thumb, index and middle fingers. However, if the dish offered is not strictly Moroccan, it will always be eaten with cutlery, so in international restaurants this doubt will not arise. And in the premises of a certain level, cutlery is usually not missing.

Another important detail is that the hand you should use is the right hand: the left hand 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 the hands or with the help of bread made the participation of the left hand unnecessary. In any case, at present it is preferable that it not be used for eating and that, at most, it is only an occasional ‘support’.

Bread is sacred

In Muslim culture, bread is sacred and never lacking. In fact, they are sometimes the necessary aid for eating certain dishes that traditionally were not eaten with cutlery. Therefore, respecting bread is one of the main customs at the table in Morocco. Playing with it is frowned upon, so if you are traveling with children, we recommend you keep this in mind. It is also considered a sacrilege to throw the bread in the trash: at home it is kept for the next day and, as in restaurants this is complicated, it is always a good gesture to finish the ration of bread that is offered.

No cell phones on the table

Although it is considered a gesture of respect in virtually all cultures, in Morocco it is frowned upon for the cell phone to be present at the table, either directly (talking, chatting) or indirectly (its notifications interfering with the course of the meal). Each meal is blessed by saying ‘bismillah’, which is a thanksgiving to God for the food. Therefore, paying more attention to the cell phone than to the food itself shows disdain for what is on the table.

Belching is a myth, but not an offense

Many are those who wonder if burping after a meal is among the customs at the table in Morocco. And in fact, it can be considered a myth: the diner is not expected to burp at the end of the meal. But it is true that it is not considered an offense or disrespectful. However, it must be done in a discreet manner.

In any case, if you have any doubts about these or other customs in Morocco, do not hesitate to ask the waiter or our staff: they will be happy to tell you what you can and cannot do when you sit at a table in a Moroccan restaurant.

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