Jordanian cuisine is very similar to that in other parts of the region. The daily staple is khobez, a large, flat bread sold in bakeries throughout the country for a few hundred fils. Delicious when freshly baked.
Breakfast is traditionally fried eggs, labaneh, cheese, zaatar and olive oil along with bread and a cup of tea. Falafel and hummus are eaten at the weekend by some and more often by others. There is no convention for when you should or should not eat what kind of food. It is up to you. This is the most popular breakfast. Manousheh and pastries are the second most popular breakfast choices. All hotels offer an American breakfast.
The national dish of Jordan is mansaf, prepared with jameed, a sun-dried yoghurt. Grumpygourmet.com describes mansaf as “a huge platter of crêpe-like traditional “shraak” bread, mountains of glistening rice and chunks of lamb cooked in a unique sauce of reconstituted jameed and spices and sprinkled with golden pine nuts.” In reality, more people use roasted almonds instead of pine nuts because they are cheaper. Although mansaf is the national dish, most people in urban areas eat it only on special occasions and not every day. Other popular dishes are maklouba, stuffed vegetables and freekeh.
The most popular place to eat cheap mansaf is the Jerusalem restaurant in downtown Amman.
Levantine-style mezza is served in “Lebanese-style” restaurants – which is typical of Jordanian style – throughout the country, and you can easily find international fast food chains such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Burger King. In addition to the well-known chains in Europe and North America, there are also some local establishments such as:
- Abu Jbarah: one of the famous falafel restaurants in Jordan.
- Al kalha: famous falafel and homous restaurant in Jordan.
- Al-Daya’a and Reem: Famous places to get Shawerma sandwiches and dishes.
There is no shortage of foreign-style restaurants. The best are usually found in 5-star hotels, but the price tag is high. Italian restaurants and pizzerias are somewhat plentiful in Amman, Madaba and Aqaba, but are very hard to find in other cities.
More and more cafés are now serving food. There are plenty of Middle Eastern-style cafés that serve argeelleh as well as the full range of Western and Middle Eastern coffee drinks. There are also a good number of Western-style cafés that usually serve Western-style desserts, salads and sandwiches.