Among the chaos of the Fes medina’s winding pedestrian walkways, street vendors slice and sear sausage-like entities that appear kindred to massive haggises.
They’re preparing pieces of spleen, stuffed taut with ground meat, spices, olives, and preserved lemon. These bulging loaves—which easily run more than a foot in length—sit alongside the griddle, set in a huge metal tray out in the open air. The offal casing is a camel’s spleen, called tehal, and the filling can contain a medley of camel, cow, and lamb meat. (Vendors offer the same fillings stuffed in a cow’s spleen, as well.) Traditionally, cooks prebake the filled log into a deep, dark shade using one of Morocco’s many communal bread ovens, then fry it to order.
Medina vendors take rapid-fire requests, scrambling the stuffed spleen with herbs, vegetables, and sometimes (if you ask nicely) an egg in about a minute. Then, they’ll scoop the mixture into open pockets of batbout, a type of Moroccan pita bread. This street fare is no novelty: Working locals line up to grab a quick lunch of savory, creamy meat crammed into fresh, floury breads every day. And the meal never runs more than 12 dirham, or a little more than $1.
Need to Know
If you're interested in trying spleen, but don't want to get the offal casing, try asking for the "mix-mix." You'll receive a hodgepodge of all the meats on offer from a vendor, chopped up and seared together on the griddle. Before serving you the finished dish, the chef will inquire about spicy sauce. They know how to wield the bottle with a delicate hand, but it doesn't mean they will.
Visit Morocco with Atlas Obscura Trips
Morocco: From Casablanca to Marrakech
Explore ancient desert fortresses, wander maze-like medinas, and spend your nights in traditional riads and palm-grove oases. Join Atlas Obscura for an adventure across Morocco’s spectacular and sprawling terrain.
Where to Try It
Fes el BaliTalaa Segira, Fes, Morocco
Look for vendors frying slices of this deep-hued spleen log on Talaa K’bira or Talaa Segira, both pedestrian streets within the old city's walls.