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A Camel Burger for Christmas Eve lunch in Morocco

I spent Christmas in Morocco and tried a camel burger for Christmas Eve lunch in Fes. It was worth the experience!

Hands holding a camel burger on a fresh bun with diced tomatoes on top.

Morocco was full of surprises and delights. It was much colder in some areas than I expected, the medinas were a confusing maze (in Jemaa el Fna, Marrakesh we were told to follow the sun to get back to the main square…and it worked!) and I drank more super sweet mint tea than ever before.

I travelled with a friend through Morocco on the 15 day Best of Morocco tour with Intrepid Travel. The trip had its ups and downs, as it does when travelling with a group of strangers who all have different expectations but overall the experience was incredible. Of course food was very much a part of the experience for me. I couldn’t wait to have a tajine, dates, olives, and camel. Yes, camel!

In Meknes I had some fantastic roast chicken, sampled the local wine, had a delicious seafood meal in Essaouira and ate a camel burger in the medina of Fes.  On the itinerary was a walk through the medina in the morning and then we were going to stop to have a camel burger for lunch. If I’m honest, I may have talked about eating camel meat for the entire morning.

Piles of fresh fruit and olives at a stall in the medina in Meknes.

About the Fes medina

The medina in Fes (sometimes spelled Fez), known locally as Fes el Bali, is one of the largest car-free urban zones in the world. We had a guided walking tour, thankfully, because the lanes and alleyways were very confusing! The medina is filled with butchers, spices, market stalls, crafts, shops, and tanneries.

Buying meat for the camel burger

When lunchtime rolled around we stopped at a butcher to get the camel meat, freshly ground, mixed with spices and a nice hunk of fat to keep the burgers moist. It was a bit odd to see the camel head hanging in front of the shop since it’s not the way things are at home in Toronto, but that’s the way it’s done and it certainly is a good way to indicate what kind of meat is for sale.

A butcher stall in the Fes medina with meat on the counter and a butcher dressed in white behind the counter

The communal kitchen

The next stop was the communal kitchen where the meat would be formed into patties and cooked for us. We had a nice warm cup of mint tea while we waited for our burgers to be cooked.

We were in a small area with picnic-style tables across the way from the open air kitchen that you can see in the photo.

6 cups of mint for mint tea in the foreground, with a brick wall and oven in the background.

It was during this tea drinking time that I started to feel a little nervous about eating camel. I started to think about the camel head hanging at the butcher shop and wondered if that image would pop up each time I took a bite of the burger.

The camel burgers

The burgers arrived served on fresh buns, topped with cooked onions & tomatoes and looked just like any other burger. I let the others start first so I could see their reaction to the taste.Everyone seemed to like it, so I dove in.

A brown skinned woman in a light green jacket taking a bite of a camel burger.

I was pleasantly surprised, it was not as gamey I expected it to be. The cook had made small sausage-like pieces instead of forming it into a full patty so it was cooked nicely all the way through and the spices, onions & tomatoes added a lovely flavour. I never thought a Christmas Eve lunch would include camel, but it did, it was fine.

Are you an adventurous eater when travelling? Share your favourite food adventures!

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