When we travel we expect to see new things, learn about another culture, and immerse ourselves in a totally different experience. One of the ways a traveler can do this is to sample the cuisine of where they visit. If Jordan is on your bucket list your taste buds are in for a treat. Jordanian food involves delicious and varied dishes paired with Jordanian hospitality, making for a once in a lifetime experience.
Jordanian Food – Mezze Dishes
In Middle Eastern cultures, many meals are multi-course affairs. Mezze traditionally refers to smaller items served at the beginning of the meal. Some foods in this grouping may be familiar as they have slowly crept into our culture as favorite ethnic bites. Try them in Jordan, though, to get the real and authentic form of the dish and you may never look at the Americanized version the same way again! Mezze dishes also tend to have more vegetarian options.
Fattoush– A salad of garden veggies and fried pieces of pita bread
Tabbouleh– A traditional Middle Eastern dish made of bulgur, tomatoes, parsley, mint and onions with olive oil, lemon juice and salt for seasoning
Hummus– Chickpeas pureed smooth with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Hummus is traditionally served with flatbread or with falafel.
Falafel– Deep fried balls of chickpea topped with tahini and often served in sandwich form, falafel can be found in many parts of Jordan. In 2012, the largest falafel ever recorded was created in Amman, the capital of Jordan. It weighed in at a whopping 164 pounds!
Kibbeh– This is more of a category of food than a single food. Kibbeh is traditionally a mix of bulgur, onion, finely ground meat (beef, lamb, etc) and spices. Variations range from cooked versions served in croquettes to raw versions. A special Jordanian version has the croquettes boiled in Jameed, a dried yogurt product.
A majority of these dishes are served with bread. Bread in Jordan is something that is varied, delicious, in great quantity and a huge part of the culture. Try them all!
Jordanian Food – Main Dishes
Mansaf– I would be remiss if I didn’t lead with Jordan’s national dish, Mansaf. Mansaf is lamb cooked with a fermented dried yogurt powder called jameed. It can be served with rice or bulgur. This dish originated with the Bedouins and is served on holidays and at important events.
Kofta– Kofta is a series of dishes made with ground spiced meat. Varieties range from the meat cooked in tomato sauce and served with rice to others that are cooked with tahini and served with potatoes and rice.
Kebab– Numerous varieties of kebab exist to tantalize your taste buds. This dish of either ground or skewered meats is served with rice.
Jordanian Food – Desserts
Sweets in Jordan have a complexity to them that many other “sweets” do not have. The use of spices and layers of flavor make desserts that have bold and delicate aspects and aren’t just about sugar. Make sure to taste desserts with a cup of tea (mint and sage teas are common) or Turkish coffee (served mainly by Bedouins with the addition of cardamom). Three to try are:
Knafeh– This sweet is a cheese-based pastry is soaked in simple syrup and flavored with rose water and pistachios.
Halva– This sesame-paste-based dessert can be flavored with almonds, chocolate, pistachios and a variety of other items.
Baklava– While the name may sound familiar, you haven’t truly tried baklava until you’ve had it in the Middle East. Layers of flaky phyllo dough alternate with a paste made of nuts and the entire thing is soaked in a honey syrup. A must eat!
While in Jordan we hope you enjoy these recommendations? What did we miss? How do you experience local culture through cuisine?
This is a sponsored post for Visit Jordan– however, my opinions and my taste buds cannot be bought.