Exploring Amman's Authentic Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Exploring Amman's Authentic Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Exploring Amman's Authentic Cuisine: Local Dishes, Restaurants & Recipes

Amman, the bustling capital city of Jordan, is a treasure trove for food enthusiasts. Its rich history and diverse culture have influenced its local cuisine, resulting in an array of delicious dishes that showcase the region's flavors. From traditional Jordanian meals to international fare, Amman offers something for everyone. Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, here's a guide to help you navigate through the city's authentic cuisine.

Must-Try Jordanian Dishes

When exploring Amman's local cuisine, there are a few traditional Jordanian dishes you simply must try:

  • Mansaf: This is the national dish of Jordan, which consists of lamb cooked in a flavorful yogurt sauce and served over a bed of rice. It is usually garnished with pine nuts and accompanied by flatbread.
  • Falafel: These deep-fried balls of ground chickpeas or fava beans are a popular street food in Amman. Served in a pita bread with tahini sauce and fresh vegetables, falafel makes for a satisfying and flavorful snack.
  • Makloubeh: This fragrant one-pot dish features layers of rice, meat (usually chicken or lamb), and vegetables, such as eggplant, cauliflower, or potatoes, all beautifully spiced and cooked together. Once ready, it is inverted onto a serving platter, creating an enticing display.
  • Mouttabal: Similar to the well-known Baba Ganoush, mouttabal is a smoky eggplant dip made with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. It is often served as part of a traditional Jordanian mezze platter.
  • Knafeh: Indulge your sweet tooth with this popular Jordanian dessert. Knafeh is a rich, sweet pastry made from shredded phyllo dough, cheese, and drenched in a sweet syrup. It is commonly enjoyed with a cup of Arabic coffee.

Traditional Restaurants in Amman

Amman is home to numerous restaurants that offer authentic Jordanian cuisine. These establishments provide an excellent opportunity to experience traditional flavors and hospitality:

  • Hashem Restaurant: Located in downtown Amman, Hashem has been serving delicious, affordable Jordanian food since 1952. Visitors can enjoy falafel, hummus, and other Middle Eastern delights in a casual and bustling atmosphere.
  • Tawaheen Al-Hawa: Situated in Jebel Al-Weibdeh, Tawaheen Al-Hawa offers a cozy setting and a menu that includes authentic Jordanian dishes like mansaf and makloubeh. The restaurant's warm ambiance adds to the overall dining experience.
  • Sufra Restaurant: Nestled in Jabal Amman, Sufra is known for its traditional Jordanian cuisine served in a beautifully restored 1920s villa. From mansaf to mouttabal, their menu showcases the best of Jordanian flavors.

International Cuisine in Amman

If you're craving international flavors or simply looking to explore different cuisines while in Amman, you won't be disappointed. The city offers a wide range of international restaurants that cater to various tastes:

  • Fakhr El-Din: This Lebanese restaurant is a popular choice for those seeking authentic Lebanese cuisine. From mezzes to grilled meats, Fakhr El-Din delivers exceptional Lebanese flavors in an elegant setting.
  • The Living Room: With its cozy atmosphere and an eclectic menu that includes dishes from around the world, The Living Room is a go-to spot for international cuisine lovers. From pasta to sushi, there's something to satisfy every palate.
  • Buffalo Wings & Rings: Craving some American-style comfort food? Buffalo Wings & Rings is your best bet in Amman. From mouthwatering wings to juicy burgers, this restaurant provides a taste of the U.S.A. in the heart of Jordan.

Recipes Inspired by Amman's Cuisine

If you're feeling adventurous and want to recreate the flavors of Amman in your own kitchen, here are a few recipes to get you started:

  • Mansaf Recipe (Serves 4):
  1. Ingredients:
  • 1 kg lamb, cut into pieces
  • 1 kg plain yogurt
  • 4 cups basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • Spices: salt, black pepper, cinnamon, allspice
  1. Instructions:
  2. In a large pot, brown the lamb pieces in ghee until golden on all sides. Remove from pot and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, add the yogurt and spices. Stir well, then add the browned lamb back into the pot. Simmer on low heat for about 2 hours until the meat is tender.
  4. Cook the basmati rice according to package instructions.
  5. To serve, arrange the cooked rice on a large serving platter, place the cooked lamb on top, and pour the yogurt sauce over it. Garnish with toasted pine nuts.
  • Falafel Recipe (Serves 4):
  1. Ingredients:
  • 2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  1. Instructions:
  2. Drain the soaked chickpeas and transfer them to a food processor. Add the onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, cumin, coriander, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Blend until the mixture reaches a coarse texture.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Shape the chickpea mixture into small balls and fry until golden brown on all sides.
  5. Remove the falafel balls from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Serve in pita bread with tahini sauce and fresh vegetables.