Jordanian cuisine is characterised by the Levant cuisine which is a historical and geographical term referring to a large region of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine. It means that Jordanian cuisine is a mixture of Arabic relishes and this makes it so rich and interesting to the most demanding gourmets. Additionally the fact the meals are prepared, indicates that it was also influenced by the Turkish. Thanks to the one of the most fascinating Gallop Travel Expedition – Wadi Rum Trail – you can discover not only the amazing touristic sights such Petra or Dead Sea but also living on the desert with Bedouins gives you the unique opportunity to taste real local food.
“Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.” Mark Kurlansky, ‘Choice Cuts’ (2002)
Jordanian cuisine starts with a hearty breakfast including hummus, excellent thick, tart, and creamy, yogurt-like cheese which is perfect eaten with olive oil and pita bread, the traditional Egyptian paste of dried fava beans – ful medames. According to an Arab saying: “Beans have satisfied even the Pharaohs.” What is also interesting and eaten at all times of the day are the pickles mainly olives, but also carrots, cucumbers, radish, and cauliflower. The most recognizable snack for all. The main meal starts with appetizer called mezze including collection of small plates such as hummus, various kinds of cheese, salads, pastes, combining both cold and hot, vegetarian and meat items. It can even make up an entire meal. The main meal includes as following:
- kofta – in the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of minced or ground meat—usually beef, chicken, lamb, or pork—mixed with spices and/or onions in tomato or sesame sauce,
- zarb – Bedouine grill of different kinds of meat,
- dolma – common vegetables to stuff include tomato, pepper, onion, zucchini, eggplant and pointed gourd. Stuffed cabbage rolls and vine leaves are also very popular,
- falafel – deep-fried ball, or a flat or doughnut-shaped patty, made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. Herbs, spices, and onion relatives are commonly added to the dough,
- tabbouleh (also spelled tabouli) served to the main meal is a super fresh herb and bulgur salad, with parsley being the number one ingredient. It’s dotted with diced cucumber and tomato, and dressed simply with olive oil and lemon juice. It’s refreshing, light and packed with healthy ingredients. It originates from Lebanon.
The main side dish in Jordan is bread, known as pita bread but also Bedouin abud baked in furnace and covered with ash but also freshly baked in a special oven thin bread called taboon.
As a dessert you can be served with baklava – a rich, sweet dessert pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup or honey. Kanafeh is also a traditional Middle Eastern dessert made with thin noodle-like pastry, or alternatively fine semolina dough, soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup, and typically layered with cheese similar to mozzarella.
The basic drink served during the day in Jordan is black tea with mint – na’na and sage tea – meramiyeh. You can also try Bedouin coffee served with a hint of cardamom.
To sum up, there is such variety of flavours, spices, ovens, traditional techniques and origins of Jordanian cuisine that this part of Wadi Rum Trail can become an unforgettable experience.
I always encourage people to get out there, travel the world, see new things, experience new people, experience new food, experience new culture. What happens is that helps you to grow and be your best self. Karamo Brown (American celebrity)