Local Information - The Food
Jordanian food has a wide variety which can range from grilling (shish kebabs or shish tawouk) to stuffing grape leaves, to roasting whole lamb underground. Mealtimes are often a social occasion with the whole family sitting down together and eating from one plate.
Here are some speciatlities you could try during your visit to Jordan:
Mensaf - This is a traditional Bedouin dish of lamb or goat, cooked slowly in sheep's yogurt until it's meltingly tender. It's served on a huge bed of rice with toasted nuts. To eat, you scoop a ball of rice and meat, roll it and pop it in - a great way to make friends. It's traditionally served at weddings and if you're presented with the goat's head you know you're the honoured guest!
Magloubeh - This is another popular dish. The name means 'upsidedown' and comes from the way it's cooked and presented. Lamb or chicken with spices is cooked with rice and fried potatoes, cauliflower and eggplant. It's served with yoghurt.
The main dishes may be very meat heavy, but the mezze you can find in Jordan can make a vegetarian's feast Here are a few of the salads, dips and nibbles you may find:
- Baba Ganough - chargrilled eggplant (aubergine), tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic blended into a dip.
- Felafel - small deep fried balls of ground, spiced chickpeas.
- Fattoush - salad of roasted croutons, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, mint and parsley.
- Tabouleh - finely chopped salad of wheat, tomatoes, onions, mint and parlsey.
- Kibbeh - ground lamb and wheat meatballs stuffed with olives and pinenuts, then fried.
The Arab tooth is quite a sweet one and their range of pastries and puddings goes to prove this. There are a couple of good sweet shops in town where you can go to try some local treats. just ask and I can give you directions. Some of my favourites are:
- Asabeeh - rolled filo pastry filled with pistachios, pinenuts, cashwes and honey.
- Atait - small pancakes stuffed with nuts or cheese and doused in honey.
- Barazak - crisp light biscuits sprinkled with sesame seeds.
- Halawat al-Jebneh - soft thick pastry stuffed with labneh cheese ans steeped in syrup.
- Kunafa - Sweet sponge stuffed with white cheese, nuts and syrup.
- Tea - Tea, tea and more tea (closely followed by coffee!)
- Shai (Tea) - is generally drunk black with (a lot of) sugar and mint (nana) can also be added.
- Kahweh (Coffee) - is Arabic/Turkish coffee