Jordan Food and Drink

Jordanian cuisine shares many of the characteristics of Middle Eastern cooking, but the inclusion of freshly made, local yoghurt and cheese adds a twist to the menu.

Aubergines, chickpeas, lentils and beans turn up in many of the dishes and rice and khoubs (flat Arabic bread) are staples used to scoop up spreads and dips, such as hummus and labneh (a yoghurt-like cream cheese).

Alcohol is served in most restaurants and bars, except during the fasting month of Ramadan (non-Muslim nationals can drink alcohol only in hotels during Ramadan). Black tea is the default drink and is usually served with a spoonful of sugar, though herbal blends are also common.

Specialities

Mezze: A selection of starters that kick off almost every main meal; they include fool, a thick stew made from broad beans; hummus, mashed chickpeas with tahini or sesame paste; moutabel, smoked aubergine dip; and tabbouleh, finely chopped parsley salad.
Mensaf: A Bedouin dish of stewed lamb in a yoghurt sauce.
Maglouba: Chicken casserole with spices, including cinnamon, allspice, cardamom and nutmeg and rice.
Kibbe: Deep-fried ground lamb or beef combined with burghul (ground, steamed wheat), onion and cinnamon.
Fatet Batinjan: A casserole-style dish made with roasted eggplant, labneh (a kind thick yoghurt-like cheese) and minced meat.
Zarb: Meat, chicken or vegetables cooked on a Bedouin barbecue pit dug into the ground.
Shraak: A traditional flat bread made from whole wheat.
Baklava: Assorted honey-drizzled, nut-filled filo pastries.
Kunafeh: Palestinian speciality dessert of goat’s cheese layered with pastry, served warm and drenched in syrup.
Araq: A local aniseed liquor, similar to Greek Ouzo, usually served with water and ice.
Arab coffee: A small but strong concoction made by boiling cardamom-flavoured grounds with sugar.
Muhallabiyyeh: A wobbly milk pudding flavoured with almonds.

Things to know

Wherever you are, diners generally use pockets of flat bread to scoop up their food: forks and spoons are rarely used, other than for serving. When eating without cutlery, use your right hand only (the left hand is traditionally reserved for toilet matters).

Tipping

Generally, a 10% service charge is added in hotels and upmarket restaurants; extra tips are discretionary.

Drinking age

18 years.

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