Rating: 7 / 10
There is a new kind of guilt that presses against your soul when you sit eating food during Ramadan and the locals just stare at you from their starvation blankets.
Therefore, during my time in Morocco I ate lunch in my hotel room alone, so as not to offend the fasting locals. I then waited until after sunset to eat my dinner. Ok, I did drink coffee during the day at Le Petit Socco, but sue me, I'm not a muslim.
Chez Hassan Bab was recommended to me by my hotel receptionist. I had specified that I prefer not to dine where the throngs of tourists dine but he assured me it was worth it. I walked past it two nights in a row and decided against going in. Tables of tourists stuffing their vacation faces with morsels of Moroccan delicacies caused me to become overshadowed with anxiety and I retreated to corners unseen.
One evening during a particularly heavy downpour I decided to give it a go, sitting at a table far enough from accidental conversations. I ordered the chicken skewers, salad, chips. As is customary in Morocco a plate of delicious olives was brought out first to temper the worst of the hunger pangs.
My food took an eternity to come, and I was slightly put-off by the very "Handsy" approach of the chef handling raw chicken, raw fish, raw meat, taking payment in cash, then returning to the salad bar to chop vegetables. However, in these regions of the world you continuously play russian roulette with your stomach and have to be prepared for all eventualities. It's part and parcel of travelling.
The food was tasty. My chicken skewers were tender and juicy and had good flavour, although I did find them overly reliant on garlic. There isn't really much to say about french fries and salad, they were standard, but overall I enjoyed the meal and it was cooked with some care and attention, despite the relative unsanitary conditions of the kitchen.
Sometimes the places the tourists eat genuinely are the best spots in town, and whilst I'll say that I did have better food elsewhere in Tangier, this place was not a disappointment by any means.
P.s. I have it on good authority that the Tagines are rather unremarkable here, so perhaps head to Ahlen if you fancy that.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"