KIPROTICH: Khobz and Morocco’s unmatched appetite for bread


KIPROTICH: Khobz and Morocco's unmatched appetite for bread
Khobz laid out on a table on the streets of Rabat, Morocco. (PHOTO/Gilbert Kiprotich)

In Summary

  • I hardly took a breather during my two-week stay in Rabat covering the just concluded All African Games and only afforded two meal and rest breaks where I sampled some truly delicious Moroccan dishes
  • Ever been to a fast-food takeaway and noticed disposable cutlery as part of your packaged food? That's rhetoric unless of course you're from Morocco!
Gilbert Kiprotich

There is incredible pressure to deal with when you’re covering an international event, staying up late into the night to beat deadlines and meet newsroom demands.

I hardly took a breather during my two-week stay in Rabat covering the just concluded All African Games and only afforded two meal and rest breaks where I sampled some truly delicious Moroccan dishes.

Ever been to a fast-food takeaway and noticed disposable cutlery as part of your packaged food? That’s rhetoric unless of course you’re from Morocco!

In this part of North Africa, bread serves the same purpose as spoons or folks would but of course I didn’t know this until I noticed everything I ordered had a loaf as part of the accompaniment. I kept thinking, how generous!?

Referred to as ‘Khobz’ in Arabic (loosely translated as bread of the house), the Moroccan traditional bread is served with any food you choose to have be it at breakfast, lunch, dinner of at any given time you choose to take some food.

My first encounter with Khobz was when I went to buy myself some rice and chicken and to my surprise I realised that my package included a circular piece of crunchy bread.

Well, I picked my package and left thinking that the waiter had become so good to me maybe because I was a foreigner or maybe the bread was among the foodstuff I had ordered. Without my knowledge.

The following day, I went back to the same joint and ordered a different kind of food, this time round I went for baked potatoes (chips) and there it came with Khobz.

As I turned to leave, my curiosity rose and as I quickly scanned through the tables where some of the customers were enjoying their meals, I realized every table had a small basket filled with the bread.

The next day I went for another joint to get myself a piece of chicken and it was the same script, a piece of khobz was also packed in my order.

I finally decided to enquire from my Moroccan colleagues at the Games Media Centre about this bread that is very common at least in Rabat and Sale-the two cities that I have set foot in Morocco.

I finally learned that Khobz is more than a foodstuff since it is also used as a fork to scoop food- the same way you would use a ‘kijiko’. That’s is when I also came to know why my food would always be packed without either a spoon or a fork.

In my next return at the joint, I decided to eat at the joint and to my observation I confirmed that virtually all the customers were using the bread to scoop the food which I also followed suit.

Khobz is made of wheat flour that is made to a dough thereafter baked in an oven. However, depending on the and depending on your choice Khobz can be baked in different flavours.

I am informed that every household in Morocco has an oven to bake Khobz. However, for those who may not find time -especially those working in towns- they are well taken care of as there are vendors who bake the bread for commercial purposes with a piece going for one Moroccan Dirham (about Ksh10).

In up country, communal ovens are built to take care of those who do not have private ovens at home.

Now you know, when you visit Morocco do not bother so much to ask for a spoon or fork just grab yourself a piece of Khobz and you are ready to go.

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Story By Gilbert Kiprotich
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