I am originally from Morocco and having spent a year in China, I started catching the homesickness bug, or should I call it the homefoodsickness. I am doing my MBA in Nanchang, Jiangxi, a small city (in Chinese standards) which is not very international, so whenever I travel to a bigger city like Shanghai or Guangzhou, I try to look for Moroccan food and Moroccan expats in China, but my search has usually been unfruitful until I traveled north and found this awesome Moroccan restaurant in Beijing.
There is a large number of expats in Beijing and I met quite a few of them from different parts of the world who are very familiar with Morocco and Moroccan cuisine. As soon as I say that I am from Morocco, they get these mental pictures of couscous, tagines and other traditional Moroccan food, so they were also looking for a Moroccan Restaurant in Beijing. Their excitement got me even more homefoodsick so I made a plan to find one and make it a group date. After doing some research, I found out that there are only 3 places in Beijing where we could get Moroccan food and the one that got the best reviews both in terms of location and taste was Argana restaurant in Sanlitun, Beijing.
Back at home, my mom cooks almost every day, and her traditional Moroccan recipes are so good, she got us all spoiled, so whenever we try to get Moroccan food outside of home, we are not exactly satisfied. I went to Argana restaurant excited to get some Moroccan flavors yet not too sure about the authenticity of the food. As I was the only Moroccan in the group, everyone looked at me for explanations about the different dishes in the menu which listed all the dishes I had been craving for so long.
The menu included most of the traditional Moroccan dishes like tagines, a special Moroccan dish named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. In Moroccan cuisine, tagine is a slowly braised stew that gives you a tender meat with aromatic vegetables and spices and is served with bread. We ended up getting 7 different Moroccan dishes and shared them between us so that everyone got a taste of Morocco in all its splendor. The most authentic dishes I thought were the sweet lamb calf and dried prune tagine and the roasted Chicken taginewith green olives and lemon pickle, two of my favorite types of Moroccan food. The restaurant also has a diversified and rather Mediterranean salad menu as well as appetizers that are definitely worth trying.
The cool part of the dining experience in this Beijing Moroccan restaurant was the waiter from Thailand who spoke perfect English and who shared his stories with us from his previous job in the royal palace in Saudi Arabia serving the prince and his wife. He also helped us get two fresh Moroccan mint tea pots on the house because I was one of the few Moroccans to come around. The cozy and calm atmosphere at Argana made our experience of Moroccan food in Beijing even more enjoyable.
So if you are looking for Moroccan food in Beijing, or if you are ready to try new exotic dishes that are literally finger licking good, I suggest that you check out Argana restaurant in Sanlitun.