Jordan: Food options!

By Cubie - March 10, 2020

Said to be the national food of Jordan. The main component of the dish is rice, a type of protein (traditional choice of protein is lamb) and jameed. Jameed is a hard dried out and fermented goats milk yoghurt, cooked into a gravy. It is used to pour over the rice and meat. Traditionally it is to be eaten with hand, where you shaped the rice into a ball shaped with your fingers and pushed the rice ball into your mouth. Of course, the more jameed you pour on the rice, the easier the rice ball can be formed.

The picture above was mansaf with lamb but the first ever dish I had in Jordan was mansaf with chicken. I find Jameed a bit too gamey for my tastebud though. I had mansaf with lamb in Amman in Al-Quds Restaurant in downtown, JOD 6.50 but the chicken mansaf was from Wadi Musa at the guesthouse. It was much more expensive but bigger portion at JOD 10.

Mansaf with chicken

It was my second last day and I really wanted to try maqluba so I went to Al Quds Restaurant at downtown as I recalled reading somewhere that they serve the dish. Well, they do but what I didn't expect was that they don't serve it daily. I was told they made it on a Saturdays and possibly another day on the weekdays. So I ordered the mansaf with lamb. I asked the waiter if he knew where else I can find maqluba but he told me a restaurant which was about 20 minutes drive away. It sounded like Al Quds and possibly is, though I don't know if they are afflicted to each other or just simply sound the same.

I was determined to try maqluba before I left Jordan and coincidentally picked up a leaflet from a restaurant that said they offer maqluba so I went the next day. I expected to see the dish served "upside down". After all maqluba means "upside down" and said would be flipped onto a serving dish to form a tower so I was a little disappointed. In fact I felt it was served like mansaf. It was still delicious though. I had it at Pizza Roma Cafe (yep, very unassuming name eh) but please note they charge 16% sales tax on top of the JOD 7 for the dish.

I thought it was biryani but it was cooked differently. I've never had mandi before and this one was so good. The portion was huge but it was so good that I couldn't stop eating. This was JOD 12, also at the guesthouse where I stayed in Wadi Musa.

Mixed grill meat and chips
I thought I would try to save some money and not eat at the guesthouse in Wadi Musa on my third day so I just walk in to a random shop along the street. I suspected that the chef was a little heavy handed on turmeric. Slightly cheaper than the 2 says prior but still cost me JOD 9. Taste wise, could be better. I wrote some postcards while waiting and posted them after dinner but none of the intended recipients have reported receiving a postcard till now.

Fish sayadieh
Sayadieh fish is a fish and rice, an Aqaba specialty. I had the dish in a restaurant named Ali Baba, JOD 11.25. I was introduced to this restaurant by the hotel I stayed. Apparently it is an Aqaba institution but I found the waitstaff who served me a little unfriendly, even to me.

For some reason, the rice portion of the dish reminded of tomato rice.

Falafel and Hummus
Possibly the most famous place to get your dose of falafel in Amman - Hashem. There is no menu so you would need to know some names of the food you want. I ordered falafel, hummus and mint tea. All 3 items cost me JOD 2.50.

Please pardon my questionable food placement for photography, obviously I can't wait to eat

The famous place to go for this very sweet treat is Habiba. If you can, try to visit the old shop at Habiba Downtown. It is located at an alley way and a very narrow shop, you'll see a line of people queueing to get in to the shop. Pay upfront and you'll be passed a piece of paper to hand over to the staffs inside.

The first time I went there, the old shop was closed for 15 minutes. They have another shop round the corner which is much bigger and you can eat inside the shop but half the fun is eating it at the roadside with all other people!

There are 2 types of kunefe on offer, I wasn't sure which one to get and asked the person in front of me. He pointed to the one with white cheese, so that was the one I get. I can vouched that the one with white cheese is much tasty because I have tried the other one when I went the first time. To be honest, I probably can't tell which is which if I returned. So I guess if all fails, follow the person in front? A small piece costs JOD 0.70.

Kebab sandwich
From a random kebab shop near hotel. I can't read Arabic and don't know what is the right term to use to order so I took a picture and showed the staff, to which the staff replied, "sandwich". Ok and this was JOD 1.25.

Sorry - poor food photo, wrong focus but good sandwich!

From a random shop in Jerash, JOD 2. This was cardamon pistachio flavour.

Side note: Ikea is where you go to buy one thing and came out with 5 more. 

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