[Munch Spot] A taste of Morocco in Hanoi – Le Marrakech

Had Moroccan food for the first time today. Now I’ve heard of this resto quite a while ago, I’m thinking it’s the only Moroccan munch spot in Hanoi but do correct me should my laziness to google any further completely fail me. The place used to be on Au Co street, which also  on the account of another facet of my couch-potato arse, I have never mustered up the energy to motorbike to. Anyhoo, I was strolling along the winding road around West Lake earlier today, starting from the To Ngoc Van end and just as I was about to pass Dream House school, I saw Le Marrakech. It apparently has just moved to the spot, the paint still looks crisp. It’s a cozy 2-story building, plum-painted, with the occasional picture or two of men sitting on camels. I was excited, nevertheless, because after 7 hours at the office on my supposedly free Saturday, I was starving and ready to chow down anything that they put down in front of me. The menu is quite simple, offering a range of salads, soups, different types of couscous, tagines (stew) and kebab. I have had couscous before back in my days with my Nantes host family, of course it was the boxed-instant-couscous type but I’ve always really enjoyed it plain or simply with raisins. I was about to go for couscous with chicken, raisins, almond, honey and cinnamon , but the waitress warned me of how sweet the dish would be, and so I backed out and opted for the Royal something (the name escapes me) couscous dish with chicken, beef, assorted veggies and chickpeas. I haven’t had chickpeas since Blanchard Campus Center salad days back in senior year. I was a little hesitant about the tagines because the waitress described it as being a stew of really well-done meat, which I choose to avoid in most instance. So my second dish would end up being lamb kebab as I was a little curious to see how the Moroccan version would be different from the Greek version of lamb kebab on bread.

Royal Couscous Dish

I must say, apart from being ultra-hungry and devouring everything they brought to the table,  I found that the food was genuinely really well-made the dishes. I have no prior tasting of any other types of Moroccan food so I can’t judge for sure whether it lives up to the standard of being authentic or not, but the dishes came out and they were just beautifully marinated. The 1st dish resembled a little volcano of beef, chicken, zucchini, white radish, carrots on a bed of couscous and chickpeas, amazing with the  tomato broth sauce (also with bits of chickpeas) and voraciously-tongue-burning chili sauce. I’m not a big fan of well-cook meat and veggies, but together with the couscous and sauce, it’s definitely a mouth-watering duo. I could eat plainly the latter two, and I’d be set.

Lamb Kebab

The second dish is our kebab, with 3 kebabs of very well-marinated lamb chops. I’m not sure what herbs the cook had tossed in there, but the aroma gets to you the minute you walk into the resto. If you’re going to try this though, do chow down as soon as the plates come out. I was busy with the couscous so, my 2nd and 3rd pieces of lamb out were a bit rough around the edges…but the taste is like nothing I’ve ever tried. It might be thyme that they were using, or maybe perhaps some local spices, but you get a whiff of this and you’re just hooked. The kebab was served with chopped tomatoes and onions, topped off with what I believe is a type of hummus, parsley -tossed mayo and potato cubes and also Moroccan bread: the super crispy and a bit salty ‘khobz’.

By the time I had finished those two dishes, I was flustered with all the food and abandoned any pre-meal fantasies of trying out the abundant dessert menu they had. Definitely worth a trip back to discover and hopefully talk a little bit more to the manager, who seems like a very considerate guy and the prices are also very kind to the pockets with entrees ranging around 130 to 160,000 VND on average. Enjoy the snapshots, which are in the latest tribute to beginner lomo-ing. Love!

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