Jordan dishes

22nd April 2024

25 Jordan Local Food | Best Traditional Dishes in Jordan

Looking to embark on a mouthwatering culinary journey of Jordan local food? Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this blog post, we’ll be diving into the vibrant and flavorful world of Jordan’s local food, uncovering the best local dishes that will leave your taste buds begging for more.

With our extensive experience of leading group trips in Jordan and our recent immersive exploration of its culinary treasures, we’ve become well-acquainted with the local food scene. 

We’ve savored the flavors, heard the sizzles, and witnessed the joy on people’s faces as they dig into these delectable dishes.

From savoring the crispy goodness of Falafel to indulging in the luscious sweetness of Kanafeh, Jordan has something to offer every food lover out there.

So, join us on this tantalizing adventure as we take you on a gastronomic tour of Jordan’s local food. Get ready to satisfy your cravings and experience the true essence of Jordan’s local dish!

 Best Jordan Local Food

1. Falafel

Falafel is a beloved Middle Eastern dish that has gained worldwide popularity. These crispy and flavorful deep-fried balls are made from ground chickpeas or fava beans, mixed with herbs and spices.

Served in pita bread or as part of a mezze platter, falafel is often accompanied by fresh vegetables, tahini sauce, and pickles. 

The combination of the crunchy exterior and the moist, herb-infused interior creates a delightful explosion of textures and flavors.

It is a vegetarian delight that has become a staple of Jordan’s local food and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.

2. Moutabel

Moutabel, also known as baba ghanoush, is a creamy and smoky eggplant dip that is a must-try in Jordan. The eggplant is grilled, mashed, and blended with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.

The result is a velvety dip with a rich and distinctive flavor that pairs perfectly with fresh bread or vegetables. 

The smokiness of the grilled eggplant combined with the tanginess of the lemon and the nuttiness of the tahini creates a harmonious taste that will keep you coming back for more.

3. Hummus

Hummus is a classic and globally recognized Jordan local food. It is a smooth and creamy spread made from mashed chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Often enjoyed as a dip with pita bread, hummus offers a perfect balance of flavors and textures. 

The nutty undertones of the tahini, the zing of the lemon, and the creaminess of the chickpeas come together to create a deliciously addictive dip that is loved by all.

Whether enjoyed as an appetizer, a snack, or a side dish, hummus is a true highlight of Jordan’s local dish.

4. Fattet Hummus

Fattet Hummus is a tantalizing dish that takes hummus to a whole new level. It is a layered dish consisting of toasted bread, cooked chickpeas, yogurt, tahini, garlic, and aromatic spices.

The combination of the creamy yogurt and tahini sauce, the tender chickpeas, and the crispy bread create a symphony of textures and flavors. 

Fattet Hummus is often garnished with pine nuts, parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil, adding a delightful touch to the dish.

This hearty and comforting dish is perfect for sharing with family and friends, and it showcases the depth and creativity of Jordan’s local dish.

5. Labneh

Labneh is a delightful and versatile dairy product that holds a special place in Jordan’s local food. It is a strained yogurt cheese that has a thick and creamy consistency. Labneh is often enjoyed as a spread on bread or as a dip for vegetables.

The tangy and slightly sour flavor of the yogurt shines through, making it a refreshing and palate-cleansing addition to any meal. 

It can be adorned with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkled with herbs and spices, or topped with olives for added depth of flavor.

Labneh is not only delicious but also packed with probiotics and nutrients, making it a healthy choice in the Jordan local food repertoire.

6. Galayet Bandora

Galayet Bandora is a traditional Jordanian tomato and onion stew that bursts with flavor. Fresh tomatoes are cooked down with onions, garlic, and fragrant spices, such as cumin and cinnamon, creating a rich and aromatic sauce.

This hearty dish is typically served with warm bread, allowing you to soak up the flavorsome sauce. 

The sweetness of the tomatoes and the savory notes of the onions and spices create a beautiful balance that is both comforting and satisfying.

Galayet Bandora showcases the use of simple, yet powerful, ingredients that are skillfully combined to create a dish that truly represents the essence of Jordan’s local food.

7. Warak Enab and Kousa Mahshi

Warak Enab and Kousa Mahshi are two delightful stuffed dishes that showcase the culinary artistry of Jordan. Warak Enab, also known as stuffed grape leaves, features tender grape leaves filled with a savory mixture of rice, herbs, and spices.

The rolls are then gently cooked until the flavors meld together, creating a delectable and aromatic dish. 

Kousa Mahshi, on the other hand, features stuffed zucchini, hollowed out and filled with a similar rice mixture. Both dishes are typically served with a side of yogurt and a drizzle of olive oil, enhancing the taste and providing a cooling element to complement the savory flavors.

These stuffed delicacies are not only visually appealing but also showcase the care and attention to detail put into Jordan’s local food.

8. Tabbouleh

Tabbouleh is a refreshing and vibrant salad that is a staple in Jordan’s local food. It consists of finely chopped parsley, bulgur wheat, tomatoes, onions, mint, and a zesty dressing made with lemon juice and olive oil.

The combination of fresh herbs, tangy tomatoes, and citrusy dressing creates a harmonious medley of flavors. 

Tabbouleh is known for its vibrant green color and its ability to provide a burst of freshness to any meal. Whether enjoyed as a side dish or as a light main course, this salad is a refreshing addition to the Jordanian table.

9. Arabic Salad

Arabic Salad is a simple yet delightful medley of crisp vegetables that is a common feature in Jordan’s local food. It typically includes diced cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers, tossed together with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

The salad is often seasoned with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of herbs, such as parsley or mint, to enhance the flavors. 

The combination of fresh vegetables, tangy dressing, and aromatic herbs creates a light and refreshing salad that complements the richness of other Jordan’s local food.

Arabic Salad is a versatile side dish that adds a vibrant touch to any meal and is a testament to the use of fresh, local ingredients in Jordan’s local food.

10. Ful Medames

Ful Medames is a traditional Jordanian breakfast dish that is as hearty as it is flavorful. It features cooked fava beans seasoned with garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Often enjoyed with warm bread, ful medames is a protein-packed dish that provides a nutritious start to the day. 

The creamy texture of the fava beans, combined with the zesty kick of the garlic and lemon, creates a satisfying and savory breakfast option.

Ful medames is commonly topped with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkled with spices like cumin or paprika, and garnished with fresh herbs for added aroma. This breakfast staple is a true representation of the rich and comforting flavors found in Jordan’s local food.

11. Chicken Liver

Chicken Liver holds a special place in Jordan local food and is a popular dish enjoyed by locals. It is prepared by sautéing chicken livers with onions, garlic, and aromatic spices, such as cumin and paprika. The result is a flavorful and tender dish that is both rich and satisfying. 

Often served as a meze or as part of a larger meal, chicken liver is a testament to the versatility of ingredients and the culinary creativity in Jordan.

The combination of the earthy flavors of the liver with the fragrant spices creates a delightful contrast that is sure to please the taste buds of adventurous eaters.

12. Manakish

Manakish is a popular Jordan local food that resembles a flatbread topped with a variety of ingredients. The base is typically made from a thin layer of dough that is topped with a blend of za’atar, olive oil, and sometimes cheese. 

The manakish is then baked until it becomes golden and crispy. The result is a delicious and aromatic bread that is bursting with flavors. Manakish can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and is often paired with fresh vegetables, labneh, or olives.

It is a versatile and satisfying dish that showcases the creativity and craftsmanship of Jordanian bakers.

13. Kaek Bread Sandwich

Kaek Bread Sandwich is a popular street food in Jordan that combines the goodness of fresh bread with a variety of savory or sweet fillings. The kaek bread, a round and slightly sweet bread, is often filled with ingredients like falafel, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a drizzle of tahini sauce. 

This handheld delight offers a perfect balance of textures and flavors, with the bread providing a soft and chewy base for the fillings.

The combination of savory and tangy elements makes it a satisfying and portable option for those on the go. Whether enjoyed as a quick bite or a light meal, the kaek bread sandwich is a delicious representation of Jordan’s local food culture.

14. Mujadara

Mujadara is a comforting and flavorful dish that is popular in Jordan local food. It consists of cooked lentils and rice, flavored with caramelized onions and aromatic spices. The dish is often topped with a drizzle of olive oil and served with yogurt or a side salad. 

The combination of lentils and rice creates a protein-rich and filling meal, while the caramelized onions add a touch of sweetness and depth of flavor.

Mujadara is a true comfort food that is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike, and it showcases the simplicity and richness of Jordanian home cooking.

15. Shawarma

Shawarma is a beloved Middle Eastern dish that has found its way into the hearts and stomachs of people worldwide. It consists of thinly sliced marinated meat, typically chicken, beef, or lamb, that is slow-roasted on a vertical rotisserie.

The meat is then shaved off and served in a warm pita bread, along with a variety of accompaniments such as pickles, garlic sauce, and tahini. 

The result is a flavorful and succulent sandwich that is a favorite among street food enthusiasts. The tender and juicy meat, combined with the tangy and creamy sauces, creates a taste sensation that is hard to resist. Shawarma is a true delight and a must-try for anyone exploring Jordan’s local food.

16. Ara’yes

Ara’yes is a delicious and satisfying dish that combines the best of both worlds – meat and bread. It features seasoned ground meat, usually lamb or beef, that is spread onto pita bread, which is then grilled or baked until crispy.

The result is a flavorful and juicy meat-filled sandwich that is perfect for sharing. 

Ara’yes is often enjoyed as a meze or appetizer, and it can be served with tahini sauce, yogurt, or a side salad. The combination of the fragrant spices, the tender meat, and the crispy bread creates a delightful contrast of textures and flavors.

Ara’yes is a crowd-pleasing dish that showcases the ingenuity and creativity of Jordan’s local food.

17. Shish Kebabs

Shish Kebabs are a popular grilled dish in Jordan, featuring skewered pieces of marinated meat, usually lamb or chicken, that are cooked over an open flame.

The meat is typically seasoned with a blend of herbs, spices, and olive oil, resulting in tender and flavorful kebabs. 

The grilling process imparts a smoky charred flavor to the meat, adding depth and complexity to the dish. Shish Kebabs are often served with a side of rice, grilled vegetables, or bread, allowing you to savor every delicious bite.

This iconic Jordan local food is a testament to the mastery of grilling techniques and the love for meat in the local cuisine.

18. Kofta Bi Tahini

Kofta Bi Tahini is a mouthwatering dish that features seasoned ground meat, usually lamb or beef, shaped into meatballs and cooked in a rich tahini sauce.

The meatballs are made by combining the ground meat with onions, herbs, and spices, forming a flavorful mixture that is then cooked in a creamy and tangy tahini sauce. 

The result is a tender and succulent meat dish with a luscious and nutty sauce. Kofta Bi Tahini is often served with rice, bread, or a side salad, allowing you to enjoy the interplay of textures and flavors.

This dish exemplifies the skillful combination of meat and creamy sauces that is characteristic of Jordan local food.

19. Musakhan

Musakhan is a traditional Jordan local food that celebrates the flavors of roasted chicken, sumac, and caramelized onions. It starts with marinated chicken, seasoned with a blend of spices, which is then roasted until tender and juicy.

The chicken is placed on a bed of flatbread, and a generous amount of caramelized onions and sumac is spread over the top. 

The dish is then baked to allow the flavors to meld together, resulting in a fragrant and delectable meal. Musakhan is often served with yogurt, fresh vegetables, or a side salad, offering a well-rounded dining experience.

This flavorful and comforting dish is a true representation of Jordanian culinary heritage.

20. Kibbeh Bi Laban

Kibbeh Bi Laban is a classic Jordan local food that showcases the use of bulgur wheat and yogurt in a harmonious combination. It features ground meat, typically lamb or beef, mixed with bulgur wheat, onions, and spices, and shaped into oval or cylindrical patties. 

The kibbeh is then cooked in a creamy yogurt sauce flavored with garlic, mint, and other aromatic herbs. The result is a hearty and flavorful dish with a luscious and tangy sauce.

Kibbeh Bi Laban is often served with rice or bread, allowing you to savor the tender meat and the creamy sauce together. This dish is a testament to the versatility of ingredients and the skillful use of yogurt in Jordan local food.

21. Mansaf

Mansaf is the national dish of Jordan and holds significant cultural importance. It is a lavish and celebratory dish that consists of tender pieces of lamb cooked in a tangy and aromatic sauce called jameed, made from dried fermented yogurt. The lamb is slow-cooked until it becomes succulent and falls off the bone. 

Eating Mansaf is a communal affair, with everyone gathered around the platter using their right hand to scoop up the rice and meat.

This traditional dish reflects the hospitality and generosity of Jordanian culture and is a must-try for a truly immersive culinary experience.

22. Maqluba

Maqluba, which translates to “upside-down,” is a flavorful and visually stunning dish that is a favorite in Jordan local food. It is prepared by layering rice, meat, and a variety of vegetables in a pot, then cooking it until the ingredients are tender and the flavors meld together. 

Once cooked, the pot is inverted onto a serving platter, revealing a beautiful arrangement of rice, meat, and vegetables. Maqluba can be made with different types of meat, such as chicken, lamb, or beef, and a variety of vegetables, including eggplant, cauliflower, and potatoes. 

23. Zarb

Zarb is a traditional Bedouin dish that is cooked in an underground pit, resulting in a unique and flavorsome experience. It is a communal meal that brings people together to share the joy of preparing and enjoying food.

The preparation involves marinating a whole lamb or chicken with a blend of spices, then placing it in a large underground pit lined with hot coals and covered with sand. 

The meat is slow-cooked for several hours, resulting in tender and succulent meat with a smoky flavor. Alongside the meat, an assortment of vegetables and rice may be cooked in the same pit, absorbing the flavors from the meat and coals.

Zarb is a feast for the senses and a testament to the resourcefulness and ingenuity of Bedouin cooking traditions.

24. Hareeseh

Hareeseh is a traditional Jordanian dessert that is rich and indulgent. It is made from a combination of semolina, butter, sugar, and milk, which are cooked together until the mixture thickens and becomes creamy. The dessert is then flavored with rosewater or orange blossom water, giving it a delightful floral aroma. 

Hareeseh is often served warm, topped with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon or pistachios, adding a touch of color and crunch.

The dessert has a comforting and satisfying texture, similar to a creamy pudding, and the sweetness is balanced by the subtle floral notes. Hareeseh is a beloved treat that represents the sweet side of Jordan local food.

25. Kanafeh

Kanafeh is a beloved Middle Eastern dessert that has become a symbol of Jordanian culinary heritage. It consists of a layer of shredded phyllo dough or semolina pastry, filled with a generous amount of sweet cheese and soaked in a sweet syrup flavored with rosewater or orange blossom water.

The dessert is baked until the cheese melts and the pastry becomes golden and crispy. 

Kanafeh is often garnished with crushed pistachios or a sprinkle of powdered sugar, adding a delightful touch of color and texture.

The combination of the creamy cheese, the flaky pastry, and the fragrant syrup creates a luscious and indulgent treat that is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Kanafeh is a true delight for those with a sweet tooth and a must-try dessert in Jordan.

Conclusion – Jordan Local Food

In conclusion, Jordan is a treasure trove for food enthusiasts seeking a tantalizing culinary journey. From savoring the authentic flavors of Jordanian cuisine to indulging in local delicacies, this vibrant country offers a gastronomic adventure like no other.

Immerse yourself in the savory treats, uncover the hidden gems of Jordan’s culinary scene, and let your taste buds dance with delight. Experience the rich heritage and diverse flavors that make Jordanian dishes truly exceptional.

So, pack your appetite and embark on an unforgettable gastronomic exploration through the tantalizing flavors of Jordan’s local food.

FAQs – Jordan’s Local Food

What are some popular local dishes to try in Jordan?

When it comes to Jordanian cuisine, there are a few must-try dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. One of the most famous is mansaf, a traditional Jordanian dish made with tender lamb cooked in a rich sauce of fermented dried yogurt called jameed. It’s often served over a bed of fragrant rice and garnished with toasted almonds and pine nuts. Another delicious dish is falafel, deep-fried balls made from ground chickpeas, herbs, and spices. Served in pita bread with tahini sauce and fresh vegetables, falafel is a beloved street food in Jordan.

Are there any vegetarian options available in Jordanian cuisine?

Jordanian cuisine offers a range of vegetarian dishes that are equally flavorful and satisfying. One popular vegetarian dish is maqluba, which means “upside down” in Arabic. It’s a flavorful layered dish consisting of rice, vegetables like eggplant, cauliflower, and carrots, and tender meat or chickpeas, all cooked together and then flipped onto a serving platter. Another delicious option is mutabbal, a creamy eggplant dip similar to baba ganoush, served with warm bread. You’ll find plenty of vegetarian-friendly options to enjoy in Jordan.

What are the typical ingredients used in Jordanian cooking?

Jordanian cuisine relies heavily on fresh, local ingredients and aromatic spices. Some commonly used ingredients include olive oil, yogurt, garlic, onions, parsley, mint, sumac, and za’atar—a delicious blend of thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac. Meats like lamb, chicken, and fish are popular, as well as grains such as rice and bulgur. Jordanian dishes often incorporate a variety of vegetables, including eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. The use of these ingredients contributes to the vibrant flavors found in Jordanian cuisine.

Are there any traditional desserts in Jordan?

Yes, Jordan boasts some delectable desserts that are worth trying. One popular sweet treat is knafeh, a pastry made of shredded phyllo dough, melted cheese, and sweet syrup. It’s often topped with crushed pistachios, adding a delightful crunch. Another dessert to indulge in is baklava, made with layers of crispy phyllo pastry filled with a mixture of nuts and sweetened with honey or syrup. Jordanians also enjoy qatayef, which are sweet dumplings filled with cream, cheese, or nuts and then fried or baked until golden and delicious.

Can you recommend any local markets or food stalls to experience the authentic food scene in Jordan?

If you want to immerse yourself in the local food scene, make sure to visit places like Amman’s Downtown area, where you’ll find a bustling market called Al Balad. Explore its narrow alleys and discover an array of food stalls serving up traditional dishes like falafel, shawarma, and freshly squeezed fruit juices. Another must-visit is the Hashem Restaurant, an iconic spot that has been serving delicious falafel and hummus for decades. Don’t miss out on the experience of wandering through local markets and tasting the flavors of Jordan firsthand.

Is it safe to try street food in Jordan?

Trying street food in Jordan is generally safe, as long as you take a few precautions. Stick to busy stalls or places that have a good reputation among locals. Look for cleanliness and hygiene practices, such as food being prepared and cooked in front of you. Pay attention to how the food is handled and make sure it’s served hot. Street food is a fantastic way to experience the local flavors of Jordan, so go ahead and savor the deliciousness with a sense of adventure.

Are there any dining etiquette or customs I should be aware of when eating in Jordan?

Jordanians are known for their warm hospitality, and there are a few dining customs to keep in mind. When invited to someone’s home, it’s customary to remove your shoes before entering. Always accept food and drink offerings as a sign of respect, and it’s polite to try a little bit of everything. When dining out, it’s common to share dishes with others at the table, creating a communal and social dining experience. And don’t forget to savor the flavors and express your appreciation for the delicious Jordanian cuisine.
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