A Night in Morocco

Driving down a bamboo-lined drive on a humid summer night, a farmhouse appears at the bottom of the hill. Overlooking the Conestoga River, the view is framed by towering trees accented with a few fig trees. Wearing an apron over a vibrant red dress with green accents (djellaba), a red headscarf (hijab) and a matching red Apple watch, chef Bushra Fakier welcomes her guests. We’re off to Morocco!  

Chef Bushra Fakier readies her serving tables ahead of her guests’ arrival. On this night, she welcomed members of the meetup group, Central PA Foodies.

Bushra then leads everyone to the front patio of her home. Next to a fountain adorned with floating lights are a silver wash basin and an arrangement of sweet treats. Guests wash their hands as Bushra graciously pours water from a kettle. She then provides individual drying towels before offering the first of many treats: almond milk and richly prepared dates.

Bushra invites guests to wash their hands upon arrival before being served.

From there, Moroccan music charms guests to the bottom of the walkway where a dazzling experience awaits. Next to a barn, radiant tents and vivid tapestries encircle the space, infusing it with life. Awestruck guests choose between a tent that is outfitted with standard dining tables and chairs or one that offers low tables with plush pillows and woven rugs for seating. Lights hang from above as the breeze drifts through the spectacularly colorful tents. Proudly displayed are red flags with a green star (which signifies the five pillars of Islam), representing the Kingdom of Morocco. In the event of rain, there is a new indoor space to accommodate smaller groups.

Dates stuffed with almonds, pumpkin and sesame seeds and topped with frosting.

Hinting at the coming feast are luminous tagines lining the center of the opulent space. These ornate, metal domes (they can also be made of clay) are used to slow cook and steam food. Here, they function as stunning serving stations. Guests mingle before several rounds of appetizers are served tableside. The sound of Moroccan music builds to overtake the atmosphere. Flowing scarves and dancing feet celebrate the occasion, making way as chef Bushra carries each dish to the center of the dance floor and places it on the buffet. 

Once the dynamic menu is in place, she lifts each tagine to commence dinner. Soothing music and a meal fit for a kingdom take over as empty plates become palettes of rich, dynamic and delicious food. Some plates are a bit more customized than others, as chef Bushra goes to great lengths to accommodate dietary restrictions.

Bushra brings a tagine of food onto the dance floor before setting it out for the main course.

With each bite, conversations grow quieter. Tender and flavorful is the diafa, a lamb shank tagine served with caramelized prunes, quail eggs and sesame seeds. Moroccan chicken tagine is flavorful and rich with a dry, subtle heat, cooked with saffron, preserved lemons and olives. It’s accompanied by hibiscus juice, a kombucha tea-like beverage with an aroma that encapsulates the delicate essence of hibiscus that you would find in a lush garden. Brilliantly refreshing, the crisp flavor is neither overpowering nor offensively floral. Between morsels, laughter adds to the chorus of crickets ushering in the twilight of a summer evening, one that might as well be in North Africa, along the Mediterranean Sea.

Appetizers included shrimp cocktail and skewers of cucumber, veggie egg muffins, pepper and olives. The selection of appetizers served varies with seasonal availability.

After dinner, appetites satisfied, an easygoing chatter resumes and chef Bushra closes with the pinnacle: tea service. Marked with a kettle at the beginning of the evening for handwashing, the event is about to come full circle. Seating herself in the middle of diners, she places a large tray of tea cups at her feet. Quite sensationally, hot tea is precisely poured from several feet away. The soothing, unsweetened herbal tea balances out tonight’s dessert: baklava, Moroccan biscotti and peanut butter cookies. A night to remember! 

Meet Bushra Fakier 

Bushra and her nine siblings grew up in Ksar El-Kebir, in the Kingdom of Morocco, south of Tangier. Her father worked as a grocer in Gibraltar, eventually buying farmland across the Strait in Morocco, where he and his wife settled, growing an assortment of foods such as quince and raising cows for milk. Bushra attended college in France and ultimately earned a Ph.D. in physics. Later, she worked in human resources at the Ministry of Interior.

Serving food in a traditional Moroccan tableside fashion, Bushra explains a dish to guests.

In 2010, as a single mother, Bushra moved to Canada with her two children. As a way of promoting Moroccan culture, she started catering Moroccan food with friends under the name Royal Tagine“As a woman coming to the West by myself, we face so many obstacles, but we don’t have to give up,” says Bushra. “I want people to dream about Morocco. In Morocco, Moroccans dream about having the American dream. I want Americans to dream about Morocco.”

Tagine of Diafa served at dinner: lamb shank marinated with saffron, Rass el Hanout (a blend of the best spices a shop owner has available), and other spices, slow-cooked for at least nine hours with onions, garlic, and aged butter. Served with quail eggs, caramelized prunes, sesame seeds, and roasted almonds.

In 2015, Bushra moved to the United States with her husband, Feizal. She continued cooking for friends and in 2018 she rebranded, opening Flavors of Morocco at Lancaster Marketplace in Manheim Township. The stand operated until the pandemic prompted its closure in 2020, but that was far from the end. Not to be without Bushra’s cooking, customers started calling her. “I told them, ‘I don’t have a [commercial] kitchen to cook for you guys.’” Customers “grieving” the loss of her food even stopped by her home to ask if she had food available. “I told my husband, ‘We have to make something,’” she says of utilizing the equipment from the marketplace to create a commercial kitchen. The real work was about to begin. 

Moroccan tagine, decorative serving dishes, arranged in the dinner buffet.

Through ASSETS, Bushra had support to start over yet again. “ASSETS gave me a grant, I took classes,” she explains. As spring approached, Bushra now had a certified commercial kitchen in the basement of her home. She began cooking again and customers flocked to her new place of business. Some asked if they could dine outside of her home, picnic style. “Let’s make it beautiful for people,” Bushra said to Feizal. With one table and an umbrella to start, “People were waiting two to three hours to sit down,” she says. “I would take each order then go into the kitchen to cook and plate food,” she recalls.” Soon, the word spread. “You have to start with what you have. When you start the action, the reaction will come. The action is whatever vibration you send into the universe,” she says.

“Since [then], it’s been word of mouth. I had to call my sister [Sanaa] from Oklahoma to help me,” Bushra continues. She’s also hired help from others in Morocco, including another of her seven sisters, Souad. “I need her the whole summer,” says Bushra, who sees her enterprise as an opportunity to support women through improving language and business skills well beyond cooking. “One girl, behind her are 10 to 15 people she’ll support,” Bushra notes. “I had the opportunity to come here. I love what I do. I want to give back to my country. Once I came here, I told myself I am an ambassador. I have to show people we have a lot to offer. I want people to have good food [that is] healthy and tastes good. All the spices, saffron, cardamom, garlic, anise, cinnamon, every plate has all the spices.”

Basmati rice.

As the chill of another winter approached, chef Bushra signed on as a vendor at Southern Market, a food hall in Downtown Lancaster. In January 2022, Southern Market opened for service and Bushra had a new place to cook for her patrons.

“We are all the same,” she philosophizes. “Ask questions. Look for solutions. Change your mindset. Be grateful. You have to believe, don’t wait for anything. All the time reach higher. Don’t make it comfortable. God has abundance in faith; whatever He gives to others, we can get the same amount. You are worth the same, it’s just finding the way to grab that,” she says. “It is up to us.”

Ladies Night

Once a season, the Moroccan Experience takes on a slightly different format, elevated to an exclusive ladies’ night. Women embracing the occasion can quite literally let their hair down, dance, and enjoy a Moroccan feast, with a couple of additions. There is often a DJ on hand, and guests can experience the temporary artwork of henna, traditionally found at celebratory events. (Date TBD.) 

For more information, visit usflavorsofmorocco.com and southernmarketlancaster.com. 

The Menu 


  • Samosas: spicy (like cinnamon or cardamom), with a satisfying crunch. Fried yet not oily.
  • Shrimp: served with a sweet sauce, chilled and refreshing.
  • Hummus: served with pitas chips. Creamy with notes of citrus.
  • Skewer tomato mozzarella: The sausage is bright with the tomato, black pepper
  • Chutney: the zesty Moroccan trio salad entails beets, carrots, and green beans (or eggplant).


  • Moroccan Chicken Tagine: chicken cooked with saffron, preserved lemons and olives.
  • Chicken Tikka Masala: the chicken is moist, flavorful and rich with a dry, spicy heat. The rice is tender and assumes the flavor of the chicken.
  • Diafa: this lamb shank tagine is served with caramelized prunes, quail eggs and sesame seeds. The lamb is tender and flavorful, making it a standout entree.
  • Hummus: with olive oil
  • Organic Carrot Salad
  • Hibiscus Juice: a must-try kombucha-like tea with an aroma that encapsulates the essence of hibiscus. Brilliantly refreshing on a humid night, the crisp flavor is neither overpowering nor excessively floral.


  • Hot Unsweetened Herbal Tea
  • Baklava
  • Moroccan Biscotti 
  • Moroccan Peanut Butter Cookies

Bushra performs a tea ceremony ahead of the dessert course.

A meeting of two cultures. Colorful Moroccan-style tents stand in the shadow of an iconic Lancaster County barn.

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