Jordan was my first real introduction to Middle Eastern food. St. John’s, although it is many beautiful things, is not what you’d call an overly multicultural city (at least compared to other Canadian cities). Fortunately now that Mohamed Ali’s has opened downtown, I can have my falafel fix anytime. (Like last night. I doubt the creators of falafel intended for it to be a hangover cure, but it is.)
Hummus – Something most of you are probably familiar with: pureed chickpea spread and sesame seeds, olive oil, lemon, and garlic. Often accompanied by warm pita for dipping.
Falfael – Naturally! Fried balls of chickpea flour and spices.
Tabbouleh – A light and delicious parsley salad.
Fattoush – (The name makes me giggle, because I’m 10.) A salad topped with crunchy fried bread, like croutons.
Mujeddrah – Lentils with rice and onions.
Arbood – A bread baked in ash – a Bedouin tradition. Ours was served with a mixture of tomatoes, potatoes, and onions. Probably my absolute favourite meal experience in Jordan, while hanging out with a Bedouin and his family.
Foul – Although typically a breakfast dish, it’s often served at every meal and as a side dish as well. It’s made from fava beans and a ton of spices swimming in a sea of olive oil.
Zarb – This cooking practice is exclusive to the Bedouins, and my experience took place in the Wadi Rum desert. It consists of lamb or chicken buried in an oven with hot coals in the desert sand, and sometimes including mixed herbs and veggies. It emerges from the ground with all drama: busy Bedouins pushing aside the ash as a steaming oven is pulled out of the ground with force.
Schwarma – A street food that many of you are likely familiar with! Schwarma is herb and spiced chicken or meat on a split, chopped into tiny pieces and wrapped in flat bread. It’s served with veggies, tahini, and other spices.
Sweet Things & Drink
Tea – (Very) sweetened mint tea, sometimes with sage leaves. Pretty much the greatest tea you’ll ever drink.
Wines – Jordan does have a few wineries, believe it or not. We did a wine tasting at Zolot, including two whites and three reds. I won’t pretend to know ANYTHING about wine, but I thought it was tasty.
Knafeh – A delicious dessert from Habibeh. A cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugary syrup.
Dried dates – In Amman’s souk (the market), our guide Mohammad bought a bag of dried dates and we shared them around. We laughed as an older gent reached out to grab one, but Mohammad explains it’s natural; it’s an offering.
Where to Eat
Hamesh, Amman – A simple diner with plastic chairs and tables, but where one of our most epic meals took place.
Zumot, Aman – More than just a winery: the food spread is ridonkulous.
Petra Kitchen, Petra – Where you’ll get a cooking lesson AND a meal.
What’s your favourite Middle Eastern meal?
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