Jordan is one of the most intriguing food destinations in the world. While it can be called a haven of gourmets, Jordanian food isn’t just about eating for sustenance. It’s so much about revelling in the Middle-Eastern culture. The fresh produce of fruits and veggies, the use of various herbs, and the elaborate style of preparing different dishes make the culinary experience of Jordan so intense.
The restaurants of Jordan exude so much of their tradition. Although each city and town of Jordan is different from each other, there’s a common thread of innovative gastronomy that you can see wherever you go.
So, what should you have on your plate when you are exploring Jordan? Here are some of the best places to eat in Jordan and the Arabic dishes that you should try:
Must-Try Jordanian Food
Mansaf at Al Qantarah, Petra
Mansaf has one of the most striking food preparations that I have ever witnessed in my journey as a traveller. It’s served on a huge platter, which, of course, isn’t meant to be eaten by one person but for community sharing.
There’s a heap of rice and meat over a base of shrak bread, which is a thin Bedouin roti. Then, a savoury serving of lamb yoghurt stew is poured over the rice.
Mansaf is the most commonly served traditional Jordanian food and is also known as the national dish of the country. It’s made of meat (lamb) cooked in fermented, dried yoghurt and served with rice or bulgur (a kind of wheat mostly used in middle-eastern dishes).
Best Place to Eat
You can expect to have a great Mansaf at Al Qantarah in Petra. It’s a quaint little restaurant made of stone walls, which give you a very ‘Bedouin’ feeling.
Baba Ghanoush at Petra Kitchen
One of the Jordanian dishes I relished quite a lot was Baba Ghanoush – eggplant baked or broiled over an open flame, then peeled and mashed. Baba Ghanoush is usually eaten as a meze (starter) and even as a dip with Pita bread. It’s mixed with tahini (a paste made from sesame seeds), olive oil and various other seasonings.
Best Place to Eat
If you’re wondering where to eat in Jordan for the best Baba Ghanoush, then head to Petra Kitchen in Wadi Mousa.
Where to Stay in Petra?
Khubz at Haret Jdoudna, Madaba
I love trying a different variety of bread wherever I go, and Jordan is one country where you should definitely have Khubz, their staple food.
Bread is an integral part of the Jordanian cuisine and you’ll be served bread with just about anything you eat in Jordan. It’s actually fun to scoop up the different dips with bread. And, since Khubz does not have any added fat, it dries quickly. So it’s good to eat it while it’s fresh out of the oven.
Best Place to Eat:
Haret Jdoudna, in Madaba, is a lovely restaurant, which serves excellent Khubz.
Where to Stay in Madaba?
Grand Hotel Madaba is centrally located and is a nice, family-friendly hotel. It’s in close proximity to Jordan attractions like Basilica of Saint George and Madaba Archaeological Park.
Falafel at Sufra Restaurant, Amman
There were a variety of Jordanian dishes that I tried at Sufra Restaurant in Amman. It’s a beautiful restaurant with an elegant setting.
I gorged on Fattet Hummus and seasonal greens like Fayteh, Akkoub and Loubia. They had a wide selection of dips such as hummus, moutabel and labneh. Personally, I enjoyed the falafel the most – the deep-fried chickpea was hot and crispy, and the nutty aromas from the deep frying made it so easy to pop them one after another into my mouth.
Besides Sufra Restaurant, there’s an array of street-side restaurants on Rainbow Street in Amman, where you will get to have the best falafels.
Hummus at Hashem Restaurant, Amman
Hummus is food to devour! I enjoyed eating it for all my meals in Jordan. It’s so smooth and creamy that it melts in your mouth. The generous pouring of olive oil over it was a real dealbreaker as well. You can create even more depth of flavour with an extra scoop of green chilli sauce or a bit of lemon to enhance the taste of the hummus.
Hashem Restaurant, in Amman, is known to be one of the best places to have Hummus.
Shish Kebabs at Tawaheen Al Hawa, Amman
Ah, the Kebabs! There’s no way you can nosh through Jordan and not give their Shish Kebabs a try. They are renowned across the Middle East and the Levantine for being extra scrumptious. Minced lamb is mixed with parsley and salt, and grilled over hot charcoal. The meat is marinated in such a fashion that it brings out the flavour when it’s ready to be eaten.
Tawaheen Al Hawa, in Amman, is one of the best restaurants in Jordan to relish Shish Kebabs.
Arabic Salad at Salad Boutique, Amman
Salads are the essence of Jordanian cuisine. There’s quite a variety of salads that you can try in Jordan. Arabic Salad is quite similar to tabbouleh (a kind of Levantine salad) but has different vegetables. Jordanian Salad typically has finely diced up tomatoes, cucumber and bell peppers, dressed in lemon juice and plenty of olive oil. It’s quite a healthy and refreshing addition before every meal.
Although almost every Arabic restaurant in Jordan has an amazing variety of salads, one of the best restaurants for salad is Salad Boutique in Amman.