With more than a thousand different foods to try when visiting Jordan, here is a glance at the best local treats and dishes that represent the very core of Jordanian cuisine.
Sharing food in rich banquets is not an important moment only in Jordan but throughout the Middle East. The legendary tradition of Jordanian hospitality combined with the delicious food of this country makes each meal an unforgettable party experience.
Mealtime in Jordan does not come down to simple biological functions but is rather intended as a social event. Food represents the community and no people represent this tradition better than the Jordanians, who consider lunchtime as "the meal of the day" to be shared with loved ones, while dishes full of love and mansaf are served.
Food is commonly used by Jordanians to express their hospitality and generosity. The Jordanians are naturally very hospitable people and often it takes just a few minutes to be invited by a local person to their home.
Regardless of financial availability, it is a source of pride for Jordanians to fill their stomach with food and a spirit of joy.
A "Jordanian invitation" means that you don't have to bring anything but you are expected to eat everything. This invitation is followed by the popular Arabic phrase "Sahtain wa 'Afiya".
For beginners, the choice ranges from cold dishes such as traditional hummus and fiery Muhammara (pepper sauce made from chopped walnuts) to hot appetizers including kebabs (meat packs made with bulgur wheat, onions, and lamb).
But what do you have to taste if you go to Jordan and want to give you food to try to understand something more about this country which, today, is still an unknown factor for many? we have selected some inevitable dishes of those that you cannot leave without having tasted them.
It is considered the Jordanian national dish based on rice, lamb, and yogurt (the jameed, slightly more solid than normal yogurt) and its origins are clearly Bedouin, being among other things the mansaf is also considered the convivial dish par excellence and the emblem of hospitality. The peculiarity of mansaf is cooking on a plate on which pine nuts and chopped parsley are laid and the addition of Baharat spices (a mix of allspice, black pepper, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, caraway, nutmeg, paprika, and in some cases rose petals). It is also the typical dish of the Bedouins of the desert that is served if you sleep in tented camps or if you stop for lunch. The Bedouins eat the mansaf with their right hand, possibly standing.
Once again rice but the type of cooking changes as the rice, together with the grilled meat and vegetables, is cooked in a sort of tajine pot and is turned over once ready. Once turned over, it can be seasoned with almonds and yogurt. The maqluba must be overturned on the serving plate.
The chickpea cream, inevitably accompanied by Arabic bread, the one that swells everything up and that, when you see it prepare, catches you so much that you would like to spy on every movement of the bakers. the hummus recipe can be found here.
Chopped chickpea balls, parsley, garlic, coriander, and onion fried in oil. Do not imagine a heavy fried but rather think of a very dry-fried, which can be eaten accompanied by bread or even alone perhaps dipped in one of the many sauces that will bring you as an appetizer.
A cream of baked eggplant mixed with sesame-based tahini sauce and enriched with lemon, garlic, and olive oil. I managed to eat it, I don't eat eggplants.
Still chicken and rice with the addition of pine nuts but cooked in a different way, above and below a layer of Arabic bread. The result is a flavored bread that is used to collect rice and becomes the "spoon" of the situation.
Imagine yogurt that is passed through a cotton cloth and becomes the consistency of spreadable cheese. It goes well with Arab bread not before having flavored it with olive oil for an incredible flavor. Labneh goes well with Arab bread and other Jordanian appetizers.
Semolina, honey, yogurt, and almonds give life to one of the most enjoyable desserts ever. Very sweet but, believe me, very bearable, the best harissa is eaten on the street and at the Amman market, directly with your hands and without a napkin.
When it comes to food, Jordanians love that their guests and their food are "stuffed". Even if it does not have the Mansaf tradition, the stuffed lamb is an experience in its own right. Also served as a delicacy, the roasted lamb stuffed with rice, chopped onions, walnuts, and raisins will surely leave your stomach completely satisfied.
Do not forget to taste the spices and products you find on the market but also the Arabic bread (maybe stuffed with tomatoes, onions, and meat!) And let yourself be tempted by the local pastry shop which, I assure you, is truly incredible! And if you are hot a nice sip of lemon and mint drink nobody can take it away!