Jordanian cuisine is a traditional style of food preparation originating from, or commonly used in Jordan that has developed from centuries of social and political change.
There are a wide variety of techniques used in Jordanian cuisine ranging from baking, sautéeing and grilling to stuffing of vegetables (carrots, leafy greens, eggplants, etc.), meat (which in Jordan refers to a mixture of lamb, beef, and sometimes goat), and poultry. Also common in Jordanian cuisine is roasting or preparing foods with special sauces.
As one of the largest producers of olives in the world, olive oil is the main cooking oil in Jordan. Herbs, garlic, onion, tomato sauce and lemon are typical flavours found in Jordan. The blend of spices called za’atar contains a common local herb called sumac that grows wild in Jordan and is closely identified with Jordanian and other Mideastern cuisines. Yogurt is commonly served alongside food and is a common ingredient itself; in particular, jameed, a form of dried yogurt is unique to Jordanian cuisine and a main ingredient in mansaf the national dish of Jordan, and a symbol in Jordanian culture for generosity.
Another famous meat dish in Southern Jordan, especially in the Bedouin Desert area of Petra and Wadi Rum, is the zarb which is prepared in a submerged oven also called a “taboon”. It is considered a delicacy of that area.
Internationally known foods which are common and popular everyday snacks in Jordan include hummus, which is a puree of chick peas blended with tahini, lemon, and garlic, and falafel, a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas. A typical mezze includes foods such as kibbeh, labaneh, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, olives and pickles. Bread, rice, freekeh and bulgur all have a role in Jordanian cuisine.
Popular desserts include as baklava, knafeh, halva and qatayef a dish made specially for Ramadan, in addition to seasonal fruits such as watermelons, figs and cactus pear which are served in summer.
Turkish coffee and tea flavored with mint or sage are almost ubiquitous in Jordan. Arabic coffee is also usually served on more formal occasions. Arak, an aniseed-flavoured spirit, is also drunk with food.
Jordanian National Dishes
Mansaf is a traditional Jordanian dish made of lamb cooked in a sauce of fermented dried yogurt and served with rice or bulgur.
It is a popular dish eaten throughout the Levant. It is the national dish of Jordan, and can also be found in Palestine, Iraq, Israel, Southern Syria and Saudi Arabia. The name of the dish comes from the term “large tray” or “large dish”.