There’s a quote in Jordan and the Middle East that says something along the lines of:
“Even when you’re full, you can still always eat 40 more bites of food.”
Bread, rice, lamb, olives and olive oil, za’atar, yoghurt, tahini, garlic, onions, pickles, sage and mint, are just a few of the distinct tastes and ingredients you’ll experience eating in Jordan.
If you’re a food lover, this is a list of food you’ve got to try when you’re in Jordan.
Ok, let’s get started.
Falafel, a combination of ground chickpeas, mixed with a variety of spices, then deep fried into mini patty like shapes, is one of the most common street food snacks or light mealsin Jordan. They can be eaten on their own like veggie nuggets, eaten with bread, or stuffed into sandwiches. The falafel in Jordan was indeed the best I’ve ever had, light and fluffy on
the inside, crispy on the outside, with an aroma of cumin, garlic, and parsley.
The hummus in Jordan was fantastic, and despite containing just about the same ingredient make-up at every restaurant you order it from, it’s amazing how each version tasted just slightly different – the amount of lemon juice, and ratio of garbanzo beans to tahini, the texture, and also, very importantly, the olive oil.
Fattet hummus is a complete twist on regular hummus. While it has that similar garbanzo bean taste, with a hint of lemon juice and olive oil, the texture is totally different – it kind of feels like whipped hummus. It’s fluffy and airy like whipped cream, not nearly as dense or thick as regular hummus.
One of the other common dishes frequently in Jordan was galayet bandora, also known just as galayeh. This dish includes tomatoes which are stewed until soft and pureed, with a few seasonings like garlic, olive oil, and salt. The tartness and sweetness of the tomatoes is what really shines, and it tastes great scooped up with bread ore eaten with rice.
WARAK ENAB AND KOUSA MAHSHI
Warak enab, or stuffed grape leaves, and kousa mahshi, which are stuffed zucchini, can sometimes be served together, and they are another fantastic addition to Jordanian cuisine. Versions of this dish are commonly eaten throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean.
A typical everyday Jordanian food is mujadara, a mixture of rice, lentils, and a seasoning that includes cumin. It’s something that nearly everyone knows the recipe for how to cook it at home, and it’s commonly eaten as a dish that’s quick and easy. It’s also a favorite main dish for vegetarians in Jordan as well, as it’s filling and tastes delicious.
A meat lovers favorite from Europe to the Middle East, shawarma is common in Jordan and you’ll find restaurants that serve lamb, beef, and chicken versions. The signature method of cooking shawarma – layers of thin meat stacked on a sword like spit and revolving either vertically or horizontally over a source of heat – is part of what gives the meat its unique taste. When the outer layer of meat is cooked, it’s shaved off with a sharp knife, and usually wrapped in bread with either garlic sauce or tahini and a few pickled vegetables.
Zarb is traditionally a Bedouin dish, eaten in the desert of Jordan. One of the popular places to eat zarb is at Wadi RumSimilar to a Polynesian underground meat roast, the Jordanian Bedouin version of an underground oven is known as zarb. A mix of meat like lamb and chicken, rice, onions and carrots, are placed in a square hole in the ground, which is filled with flaming hot coals. The hole is then covered with a few layers of blankets to hold in the heat and finally sand is covered over the oven.
This dessert is popular throughout the Levant, especially known in Palestine and Jordan.
Cheese is the most noticeable of ingredients in kanafeh, which is paired with either noodles or semolina, drenched in a sticky rose scented syrup, and topped with a pinch of ground pistachios. The cheese on the bottom tastes similar to mozzarella, while the top crust is crunchy and gooey.