Jordan dishes are inspired by the Middle East, Persia, North Africa and the Mediterranean. The moment you walk into a Jordanian kitchen, you can whiff the aroma of roasted meat being softened by the essence of fresh herbs and the oomph of spices. Here are five delicious traditional Jordanian dishes that you don’t want to miss eating in Jordan!
Mansaf: One of the most popular foods of Jordan is Mansaf. This dish is known for bringing people together in harmony and is also called the center of resolving conflicts. It is the national dish of Jordan which is made up of rice, lamb, and jameed. Jameed is hard and dried out yogurt made of fermented goat’s milk. Chunks of lamb meat are marinated and jameed is poured over the lamb and the rice. The main shine of Mansaf is this jameed that gives a salty and sour taste to the dish along with an undeniable goat flavor. The meatballs of Mansaf give you the exact taste of the land of Jordan. Mansaf is a very traditional dish in Jordan as the good taste of it makes you eat more than you can. It is the meal that you should definitely try if you are looking to try a taste of traditional Jordanian food.
Hummus: It is the most well known Levantine and Middle Eastern food. You will get this dish almost in every restaurant of Jordan. It is made up of lemon juice, garbanzo beans, tahini and olive oil. The very moment the super finely grounded beans dipped in lemon juice and tahini with a little bit of olive oil and finely chopped green peppers, goes into your mouth, it will sweep you off your feet. As soon as the salty and tangy taste hit your taste buds, you will find it hard to control yourself from licking up your plate.
Falafel: It is a combination of ground chickpeas, mixed with a variety of spices, which are deep-fried into the mini patty like shapes. Falafel is one of the most common street foods of Jordan. These are like vegetable nuggets that give you quite an addictive aroma of cumin, garlic, and parsley and it can be eaten with bread or can be used for making sandwiches or burgers. You will get world’s best falafel in Jordan that are crispy outside but fluffy and light inside.
Zarb: After spending a day visiting Wadi Rum, and after having climbed over sand dunes and rocks over the desert valley, when you ride back to camp on a camel, you will be delighted on having greeted by the smell of meat roasting over a campfire. Zarb is a delicacy that is made for the desert. It’s a mixture of meat like lamb and chicken along with rice, carrots, and onions. All these ingredients are placed in a square hole in the ground filled with flaming hot coals. This hole is then covered with blanket and sand to hold the heat inside it just like ovens. After a few hours, you will see smoked meat, steamed rice, and grilled vegetables being cooked together at the same time. Zarb is mainly found in desert regions like Wadi Rum. It’s a Bedouin version of barbecue and the lip-smacking taste of meat along with rice and grilled vegetables is sure to drive you crazy.
Maqluba: It is an upside down dish where all meat, rice, and spices are cooked together in a pot and then the pot is flipped over a big tray or plate. The rice stays at the bottom and the meat on the top garnished with parsley, fried pine nuts and slices of lemon. A lovely flavor adds to the taste of the dish as the rice is cooked along with the meat.
Jordan is well known for its fabulous food filled with Levantine flavors. There is no actual count for the most delicious traditional dishes that the Jordanians take pride in. And shared above are some of those dishes that you cannot afford to leave Jordan without trying. I had no notion that after a week-long vacation in Jordan I would be in love not only with the beauty and culture of Jordan but also with its cuisine.