Snail delivery in Rabat, Morocco

Standing on the side of a road in this placid capital may not be what most people would consider the ideal place to eat boiled snails. Diners inclined to try escargots may think of it as a dish best prepared by an expert chef and reserved for special occasions, like a visit to a French restaurant. In Morocco, snails are street food and have been for a very long time.

In Rabat and elsewhere in Morocco, escargots (boubouch or b'bouch) are served at roadside stalls and in the souks. The snails on offer are low in fat and high in protein and magnesium, similar to those found in Spain or in the south of France, but the preparation and presentation is not what you will find at a French bistro where a garlic butter sauce is the norm.

Here the snails are simmered in a broth seasoned with aniseed, licorice root, thyme, sweet and spicy pepper, mint, bitter orange peel, and crushed gum Arabic, an ingredient taken from acacia trees. When the stewed molluscs are ready, they are scooped out of the pot by the roadside vendor with a large wooden ladle.

One Moroccan entrepreneur, Mohamed Alaoui Abdallaoui, has launched an upscale version of this cherished snack for those queasy about buying escargots from roadside vendors, where they may feel cleanliness is an issue. His specially designed truck tours Rabat's trendier neighbourhoods and delivers the spicy simmered snails to clients right at their front door.

When staying in Rabat ask your riad for Mohamed's home delivery service.

Decidedly different!