Jordanian food is some of the best I’ve ever tasted anywhere in the world. The local cuisine is strongly influenced by the long history of the region and both Levantine and bedouin traditions are clearly visible in many popular dishes. Staples of the Jordanian diet include endless variations on hummus, baklava and countless other Middle Eastern delights.
With your options mainly consisting of falafel and shawarma, it would be easy to lump Jordanian food into the same category as Israeli, Lebanese or even Turkish food, but that would be misleading and wrong. Even without a dish that is “purely Jordanian”, the country’s kitchen has a strong personal identity.
The beautifully purple sumac is one of the most interesting and versatile spices of the region
Jordanians really love to eat. For breakfast they enjoy massive bowls of foul medames, a crushed fava bean porridge with various toppings. Street food in the form of sandwiches, falafel and shawarma is popular at lunchtime. Afternoons are often spent sitting in cafés with sweet coffee and some crispy baklava. And for dinner: everything and lots of it.
To be honest, I’ve never seen portions quite as big anywhere else. After a massive set of mezze for starters, you’ll be shocked to see your main course is big enough to feed an entire family. Grilled meat or fish are very common, often served with flatbread and a selection of dips, sauces and salads.
During any visit to Jordan, you should expect to eat with your fingers. Most restaurants do have cutlery, but the dishes they serve are not really compatible with forks and knives. The best way to enjoy the dishes is to grab a pocket of pita bread and scoop up all the delicious dips or to fill them up with grilled meat and salad.
You can’t talk about Jordanian food without talking about sweets. Baglawa (as the locals call their baklava) has an omnipresence, with an astonishing number of varieties of this sweet and crispy treat always on offer.
The best Jordanian dessert is definitely knafeh – said to be of Palestinian origin – an insanely delicious mix of shredded filo dough layered with gooey cheese and drenched in sweet syrup. After the sugar rush you’ll fall asleep like a baby and wake up to a beautiful new morning, ready to stuff yourself again!