Anyone who has as at least once visited a traditional home in one of the Middle East countries, has probably experienced exceptional hospitality, especially at the table. The richness of dishes, generosity of served portions and multiple offers of second helpings are the characteristic features of the majority of hosts from this region. It is no different in Jordan, whose culinary art uniquely combines different cultural influences.
Contemporary Jordanian cuisine is a fusion of other Arab cuisines including Lebanese, Egyptian, Palestinian and Syrian, Turkish, Israeli and the native Bedouin. The interweaving influences allow tourists to experience familiar flavours that are characteristic for this part of the world, as well as discover completely new testes.
Mansaf – the national dish
Mansaf, which is considered the national dish of Jordan, derives from the traditional Bedouin cuisine. It is served on special occasions, such as weddings and funerals, or to honour a guest. Mansaf is made of lamb meat cooked in yogurt or sour cream with the addition of aromatic herbs and spices. The dish is served with rice or bulgur groats and is most often complemented with pine nuts and almonds. As is the case with many dishes from the Middle Eastern cuisine, Mansaf is to be eaten with hands, using slices of bread instead of cutlery.
Bread is an inseparable element of a typical Jordanian menu and is served with almost every dish. There are many types of bread in Jordan, with the most popular ones being pita bread originating from Turkey, aish (flat loaves known in the classic form or with the addition of herbs) or, for example, the extremely thin and brittle shrak. Interestingly, yeast is usually not used for making bread in Jordan.
For a great start
Each meal starts with appetizers (mezze), which can be served hot and cold. Their multitude and variety can make you feel dizzy – many people who try this region’s cuisine for the first time get the impression that appetizers could substitute a full meal, whereas they are just the beginning! The must try typical Jordanian appetizer is mutabal paste, based on eggplant with the addition of tahini, natural yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and spices.
In addition, it is also worth trying pickled vegetables, patties from minced mutton, bean salad, or hummus served on pieces of fried pita (the so-called fattet hummus). A restaurant that is famous for fattet hummus is Al Osrah Restaurant, which also known for its superb ful madames – dried broad beans that are cooked for several hours, and then are seasoned with cumin, parsley, lemon juice and chili. Another very popular dish is chicken livers, which are fried with the addition of lemon juice and garlic.
The main dish
After the filling appetizers, it is time for the main course. The most typical main dish of Jordan is the aforementioned mansaf, whereas among the meat dishes the most popular ones are lamb kebab, kibba naja (mutton tartar with grated wheat) or kofta (grilled, intensely seasoned sausages from minced meat).
Vegetarians can try falafel, a popular Middle Eastern delicacy served almost everywhere. When in Amman, it is best to try it at the Falafel Al-Quds bistro. If, on the other hand, you are looking for an elegant restaurant, you should definitely visit Sufra Restaurant with a view of a beautiful.
Coffee or tea? Or maybe something sweet?
No meal could be considered complete without a traditional dessert, mostly baklava that is characteristic for the entire Middle East (and beyond!). Most of the served sweets are made of honey, sweet syrup, nuts (including cashews and pistachios) and other dried fruits. A popular addition to the dessert is aromatic rose water, which gives it a unique character. The Ammanian Habibah Sweets is famous for serving the traditional kunafa cheese pie often eaten by Muslims during
An extremely important element of the local Jordanian culture are rituals related to drinking coffee and tea. Coffee is brewed in accordance with the Turkish method, i.e. mostly in brass or copper crucibles. It is very strong and bitter, as well as is served in tiny cups, often with the addition of cardamom. Besides coffee, it is also worth trying very sweet mint tea.