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Mayhem in Marrakesh and Best Food Stall in Jemaa al Fna Square

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Marrakesh is a city of utter chaos. As soon as we left the tranquil desert of Sahara and cultural Fez, we were thrust into screaming crushing bowel of people. The traffic was horrible, people were so tightly packed around the Jemaa al Fna square. It was a total attack on all senses and we wanted to leave right away.

But we really wanted to see the famous food square of Marrakesh and it was worth it. If you ever wondered what it’ll be like going back in time to the Roman forum, it’ll be Jemaa al Fna square. Full of food and juice markets, snake charmers, water beggars, boxers, gay belly dancers (veiled of course but you definitely know they’re guys), tea sellers, monkey entertainers and drummer it was a total chaotic circus.

When you enter the food market, the touts start thrusting their menus at you. “Why can’t they leave me alone?” I found myself screaming. It was too overwhelming.  I’m glad we were only staying in Marrakech for a day or it’d be too much.

I have no clue why most tourists only go to Marrakesh when it’s an absolute tourist trap compared to Fez and Rabat. That’s what you get when you book a standard Morocco tour and don’t do your research. Wags finger.

the chaotic Jemaa al Fna square. Watch your wallets!

the chaotic Jemaa al Fna square. Watch your wallets!

There are about 50 food stalls in Jemaa al Fna. We were only there for one night so we didn’t want to miss out and have a bad food experience. Luckily, I read in the legal nomad blog that #32 was the best food stall in the square and I’m glad I read up on that because it delivered!

We ordered its famous sausages (the largest size- good enough for 2) and it was only around $2.  It was a red hot deal! The other meals were decent enough but they are known for its sausages. They also served us some spicy sauce and bread to go along with it. Yum! Their staff also speaks English, French and Spanish and had excellent customer service though they were packed to the brim. Be sure to go there early to get a seat.They get filled fast.

It was so hard to find #32 at first. We had to circle the huge market 3x and see those same touts over and over again. We had to push some away from us aggressively. The numbers on the stalls are not in chronological order (wtf?!). They are all jumbled and follows no logical order. It’s designed to make it as hard as possible to find your old faithful hangout. Nobody was helpful either. “There’s no 32 Obama!” they yelled at my American friends. “Eminem yo! Why you waste time with 32? We are the best.”

Yeah, yeah. All lies of course.

Nobody seemed to have a clue either. The juice stands guys kept pointing us to the wrong direction. Finally we found them. C’mon guys, you could use marketing mojo. Their number 32 sign was the smallest I’ve seen and obscured by the smoke and the lights.

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The famous #32 of Jemaa al Fna Food market. Look at how tiny 32 is. No wonder it’s so hard to find them. I hope they find this blog and make that sign bigger for us.

#32 can be found in the first row of food stalls and it’s the last one to the right if you just entered Jemaa Al Fnaa square. It’s the busiest stall in the area with tons of people around it at dinner time. But if they aren’t there, they might have moved so keep that in mind.

I didn’t regret going to Marrakesh just so I can try #32 sausages. It was worth it. I would probably go to Marrakesh again but only for that.

That and $1, le harira soup. Yum.

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food stalls

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Snails!

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Cultural Fez and its Leather Tannery

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With Mr Z’s amazing map skills, we maneuvered our way through the narrow meandering
maze of the medieval city of Fez to see the Leather Tannery.

The Leather Tannery is almost a thousand years old. I think the Moroccans haven’t changed the way they dyed leather hides since the Roman times. They soak the hides in a combination of cow urine, quicklime, water and salt – a delicious combination.

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the smell wasn’t too bad

Look at this guy

Look at this guy

copper central in Fez

copper central in Fez

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mosque. People rushing to call to prayer

I would’ve wanted to stay in Fez longer but the Sahara Desert and Marrakesh awaits!