A bit like Christmas

The WorldTravelerThe three weeks in Morocco have flown by. In my quarter in the Medina of Essaouira I am now greeted with „Hello neighbor“. The sellers have given up trying to talk me into buying any kind of stuff. I met a lot of nice people  like my Arabic teacher Baddredine, Hicham from the cosy library-café „L′Esprit“ and Khaled, who owns the restaurant „Chez les frères“ across the street. Today, on my last evening, I round my Morocco vacation off with a last visit in Khaled’s restaurant.

To celebrate the day, I try one of Khaled’s specialities, which at first glance doesn’t show its long preparation time. But it tastes even more delicious! And of course I ask him a bit about his work. The first thing that interests me is how Khaled actually came up with the idea of opening a restaurant in Essaouira. He recently told me that he had worked for international companies in Japan, Spain and other countries for years. He says that his jobs have always been very stressful and that he now has more peace and quiet. He also loves to cook himself. As he is from Essaouira, this location has proved to be appropriate. Good restaurants are always in demand in Essaouira, because the number of tourists is increasing every year.

Pastilla with chicken on honey and almonds

„Chez les frères“ has been around for six months now and Khaled already has some good ideas how to stand out from the competition. Together with his cook Hadija he is expanding his menu bit by bit. Before I go home, he recommends that I try the pastillas – a specialty of his house and an indispensable part of Moroccan cuisine. In the pastilla with chicken on honey and almonds, chicken meat, almonds and oriental spices are elaborately baked in lots of yufka dough. In terms of taste, the pastilla reminds me a bit of gingerbread.

As always, it is accompanied by mint tea, which Khaled serves in the Moroccan way. He explains how to pour the tea properly.

By the way, the restaurant seems to be popular with the Japanese, too: Whenever I’m there, one or more Japanese people sit in the restaurant. They enjoy their meal at Khaled’s – and they are especially happy that they can talk to him in Japanese!