Food in Jordan is very diverse and it goes way beyond the obvious such as Hummus, Falafel and Mansaf, Jordan’s national dish. There is a range of foods typical for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and endless options of Sweets and Desserts. Ever heard about Zarb? No idea what Maqloubah or Musakhan is? Find out in this article about some of the most delicious treats of the Jordanian, Middle Eastern cuisine.
Commonly, Jordanians enjoy mezze or sandwiches for breakfast. Mezze is essentially a mix of different plates containing Falafel, Hummus, Foul, Mutabbal, Yalanji, Olives, Chicken Liver, Yoghurt and many more. You dip your bread (Khubz) into the sauces or grab a piece of meat or falafel with it. Of course, you can enjoy mezze as appetizer in many Arabic restaurants. Also, Mezze is one of the options, if you a Vegetarian, as many Jordanian dishes are meat based. With mezze however, you can choose some meatless options that you like.
Tea and coffee
Jordanians love coffee but in the mornings, you will find most people drinking tea (chay). You should never refuse an offer and be prepared for a load of sugar. That is especially true when visiting Wadi Rum. The Bedouins usually cook tea over open fire and serve it with sugar inside. Often, you can enjoy tea with mint, sage or other spices. These add a rich flavor to the tea and are a must try on any visit to Jordan.
As mentioned before Jordanians also love coffee. Pretty much anywhere you can find Turkish coffee. A host will offer it to you in her home together with plenty of sweets, more on that later. However, you can also grab one on the go in the many small coffee kiosks across the country for as little as half a dinar. In Jordan, Turkish coffee, usually contains Cardamom, which might sound strange as first, but tastes just right. While many Jordanians drink their coffee with a lot of sugar, you can decide to drink it black (saada), medium sweet (wassat), or sweet (helwa).
Another type of coffee is Arabic coffee, which again comes in plenty variations. Some people also offer it in their homes and you probably will come across it in Wadi Rum. It is rich of many spices including cardamom, ginger, saffron, and others. One cooks it slower and it has no coffee ground in the cup, unlike Turkish coffee. A host will continue to fill up your small cup until you decline. This coffee is also famous in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries.
Other Drinks in Jordan
When visiting a restaurant, you should try Lemon and Mint. Lemon w Nana, is a fresh lemon juice mixed with mint leaves. Usually, you mix the juice with the mint and ice and it looks like a smoothie. Against the sour, it often contains a lot of sugar, so be aware. In Winter, some Jordanians enjoy Sahleb, a sweet milk pudding spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, rose water and other middle Eastern spices.
Although Jordan is a mainly Muslim country, you can find many international restaurants that serve alcohol in addition to the major 4- and 5-star hotels. Keep in mind though, that alcohol outside of restaurants, is only sold in liquor stores and that you cannot drink in public. In the month of Ramadan, no alcohol is sold in the stores. Having sad that, you can enjoy a variety of both, national and international beers, wine and other spirits in Jordan. If you are interested in exploring local beer, make sure to head to Carakale or Biera. If you want to try Jordanian wine, the JR Wine Experience in Amman is worth a visit. You can also consider visiting the vineyards in the North of Jordan. Last but not least, Arak is the Jordanian version of what you might know as Ouzu from Greece or Raki from Turkey.
Famous Food in Jordan
As mentioned before, Mansaf is Jordan’s national dish and most Jordanians really love it. It is usually cooked at home, but also available in many restaurants. On weekends, many families enjoy this traditional meat and rice dish. You cook lamb in a yoghurt sauce made of Jameed, a dried goat cheese famous in the Karak region. You serve Mansaf usually on a large plate by arranging the rice, placing the meat pieces on top and then pour the Jameed sauce over it. If you dare, try eating Mansaf the Jordanian way, using only your hands.
Other rice and meat dishes are Maqlooba (Upside-Down) or Kabsa. Maqlooba is a meat dish that contains fried vegetables and rice. It is famous also in Palestine, Lebanon and Syria. The rice usually comes with many spices, too. When cooked, the meat sometimes together with potatoes are placed at the bottom of the pot. Then the rice together with the vegetables come on top. When Maqlooba is served, the pot will be turned over and the meat presents itself on top of the rice, hence its name “Upside-Down”.
Musakhan is a popular winter dish in Jordan. This chicken dish originates from Palestine and is very delicious. Fried chicken meats bread soaked in olive oil and garnished with onions and lots of Sumac, a spice used in several Arabic dishes. The fusion of the sour taste of sumac along with many other spices, make this dish unique. Of course, you cannot only eat Musakhan in Winter, so don’t miss it on your Jordan journey. In the Jordan Fairy Trail, the first day we take you to one of the most authentic restaurants in Amman that serves all traditional meals and explains the origin of each.
Local and Traditional Food in Jordan
In Amman, you often will find cars in front of some small restaurants, where locals pick up some food. Very often that will be a Shawerma Sandwich. These sandwiches are filled with lamb or chicken grilled on large skewer. Every restaurant has their own blend of spices, and Jordanian will probably fight endlessly about who has the best Shawerma. While Shawerma Reem at the 2nd circle is Amman’s most well known, and very affordable, it is definitively not the only choice. Another popular option are falafel sandwiches, which you can buy for less than a dinar.
Any trip to Jordan should contain a visit to Wadi Rum, one of Jordan’s most spectacular places. When visiting Wadi Rum, you will not get around eating Zarb. It is the traditional Bedouin barbecue and another delicious highlight in Jordan. Zarb is usually lamb meat or sometimes chicken grilled or smoked underground. The meat and vegetables go on a rack and will then be placed in a hole over charcoal. You then close the hole and cover everything with sand. This way, the heat will stay inside and slowly cooks the food over several hours.
International Food in Jordan
You can find many of these different dishes in Arabic restaurants in Amman and around the country. In addition, there are plenty of international restaurants offering food from across the world. Jordan has a very mixed and diverse culture with people from Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Yemen, Iraq, Syria and more. The melting pot of many different, mainly Middle Eastern and Asian countries, add to the rich food culture in Jordan. However, if you are craving some Sushi, Pizza or an American Burger, you can find that for sure, too.
Cost of Food in Jordan
Honestly, food in Jordan can range anywhere, between from dirt cheap to very expensive. The most inexpensive option are the above mentioned Shawerma or Falafel Sandwiches. If you are on a budget, enjoy some Hummus or Mutabbal at small Arabic take-out restaurants. Even for a full meal there are restaurants that serve affordable food in Jordan. If you are exploring Downtown Amman, head to Al-Quds Restaurant for Arabic dishes or Shahrazad for Mashawi (grilled meat). If you dine at international restaurants, especially the ones in hotels, you have to calculate with a much larger bill. Make sure to calculate the service fees and taxes on top of the prices in the menu. It usually accounts to a quarter of the overall check.
Jordanian Sweets and Desserts
If you cannot wait to go to Jordan now and are craving food, we are not surprised. Make sure to leave some room for desserts, though. If you have a chance to visit a family home, be assured that you will be offered plenty of sweets. These desserts include Baklawa, Ma’amoul or Kunafa, Jordan’s most popular treat. Kunafa are thin dough hairs. These are fried and baked with cheese over fire. Then you top everything with crumbled nuts, especially pistachio and pour sugar syrup over it. There are several place across Amman that sell Kunafa. These include Habiba Sweets, Aghathi, Jebri or Sahel Al-Akhdar. Sahtain and Welcome to Jordan.
When you select Food and Culture Mood while creating your trip with MyFairyTrail, we will make sure you have enough time to try everything.
Create Your Trip Now with a few simple steps and let us tailor your trail.