5 min.

Jordan, due to its geographical location in the Levant, has culinary influences from North Africa, the Middle East, Persia, and the Mediterranean.

Street food and home-cooked meals are the heart of Jordan’s Levantine cuisine. Jordanians proudly serve their rich, robust food with warm hospitality. Local cuisine has been influenced by neighboring countries like Armenia, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Thousands of years of history and culture blend together flawlessly to create the modern dining experience you will find in Jordan today.

Roast lamb with tart yogurt sauce called mansaf, syrupy pastries like knafeh and balava and endless sweet tea with mint and strong cardamom and arabic coffee: a trip to Jordan is a culinary experience that will leave you wanting more. The flavorful Jordanian cuisine is handcrafted with the freshest herbs, spices, and olive oil (Jordan is one of the largest producers of olives in the region), which are procured from these very markets.

Mezze is an experience in itself. It’s usually an appetizer, consisting of small shared tasting plates of dips, salads, roasted vegetables, falafel, hummus and olives with bread (pita) used for dipping and scooping. It’s a community style of eating and there is plenty to go around, so much so that it’s difficult to face the main course when it appears.

It’s all about food sharing and brotherhood.

List of the best jordanian drinks & food you should try in Jordan.

1. Drinks

  • Tea – is the Jordanian drink of choice and has a very social aspect. Instead of asking “how are you” Jordanians ask “would you like some tea?” The teas vary from black to herbal served with combinations of herbs (sage, thyme, mint rosemary or verbena), mint tea seems to be the favorite.
  • Arabic coffee – is made with ground fire-roasted beans and cardamom – not just a drink – in Jordan it’s a traditional sign of respect, a way to bring people together.
  • Turkish-style coffee – is stronger than Arabic, actually ‘high octane’. The coffee grounds, cardamom and sugar are added to a tiny pot of boiling water as it continues to boil – It’s served thick and sweet and available at street vendors all over Jordan.
  • Lemon – mint juice – is a common drink in Jordan, made from lime juice and ground mint. A sugar syrup is served on the side so you can control the sweetness.

2. Snacks

  • Manakish – is a flatbread topped with thyme, olive oil and za’atar, cheese or ground meat (like a pizza) and can be sliced or folded. It’s usually served at breakfast or lunch.
  • Arayes – are grilled or baked pita bread sandwiches, stuffed with minced meat. They’re crispy and really deliciously popular.
  • Chicken Shawarma (sometimes made with lamb or beef) Shawarma is also popular in Europe and now North America; its thin layers of meat stacked on a sword like spit that revolves over a heat source. When cooked it’s shaved off and wrapped in bread with a garlic sauce or tahini and pickled vegetables.
  • Falafel (Sandwich) – is a combination of ground chickpeas, mixed with a variety of spices, then deep fried into mini patty like shapes, is one of the most common street food snacks or light meals in Jordan. They can be eaten on their own like veggie nuggets, eaten with bread, or stuffed into sandwiches.

3. Dips

  • Hummus – hummus is possibly the most well known Levantine and Middle Eastern food around the world. The hummus in Jordan is fantastic and it’s amazing how each restaurant version tasted just slightly different – the amount of lemon juice, and ratio of garbanzo beans to tahini, the texture, and also, very importantly, the olive oil. You need to try Fattet hummus!
  • Foul – while ful medames might be originally from Egypt, this dish of mashed fava beans and olive oil, is also widely available and commonly eaten throughout Jordan. You’ll find ful at most restaurants that serve hummus and falafel.
  • Mutabal – roasted eggplant dip with yoghurt, tahini, garlic and lemon juice.It is similar to baba ganoush, but quite different. One of the main ingredient differences is that moutabel uses yoghurt in its recipe. When it’s roasted over fire, to give it a wonderfully smoky taste and a smooth and creamy consistency.

4. Dishes

  • Dolma – is a stuffed vegetable (tomato, pepper, onion, zucchini, eggplant) or leaf. The most common dolma is made from grape leaf stuffed with meat. Meat dolmas are usually served warm or hot, often with sauce; vegetarian dolmas are typically served cold.
  • Makdous – usually made in the fall and stored for use over the winter. Baby eggplants get Stuffed with walnut and sun-dried red pepper, garlic, oil and salt, then preserved in olive oil.
  • Mansaf – Jordan’s “national dish”, this magnificent Bedouin dish is served on big occasions like festivals or family reunions. It consists of simmered lamb (or beef) and onions mixed with yoghurt served on top of rice piled on top of buttered flatbread. The whole dish is topped with butter, almonds and pine nuts. It comes to the communal table on a large tray.
  • Makloubeh – Maqluba means ‘upside-down’ which is how this dish is served. It’s a chicken dish (sometimes called upside-down chicken) cooked with rice and fried vegetables; when it’s ready to serve it’s flipped upside-down.
  • Zarb – is a Bedouin barbecue consisting of lamb and vegetables; a traditional Bedouin way of cooking. A 3-tiered container (meat on the bottom shelf, veg on the others) is topped with a lid, placed in a pit, covered with hot coals then buried in the sand. After many hours the 3-tiered racks are dug up and the meal is served at sunset.
  • Lamb – Jordanian food contains lots of meat, especially lamb. Popular across the Middle East and the Levantine, shish kebabs in Jordan are typically made from minced lamb, which is mixed with parsley and lots of salt, then molded onto big sword like skewers, and grilled over hot charcoal.

5. Salads

  • Tabbouleh has become one of the most popular salads in the Middle East. It’s traditionally made of tomatoes, lots of fresh finely chopped herbs (parsley & mint) bulgur, onion and a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and salt; sometimes garlic or lettuce and couscous instead of bulgur.
  • Fattoush – is a wonderful Arabic salad made of chopped vegetables (tomatoes, cucumber, radish) and crisply toasted pita chips dressed with olive oil, lemon and sumac

6. Bread

  • Kubz (pita) – is referred to as “ordinary” bread. This pocket bread is served an almost every meal
  • Shrak – is a Bedouin flatbread, baked on a large domed metal griddle (like an inverted wok).It can be tossed until very thin then thrown on the griddle.

7. Desserts

  • Knafeh – is a rich, creamy dessert made with a cheese pastry soaked in sweet sugar-based syrup.
  • Halava – often served as a side at breakfast this sweet treat is made of honey or sugar-sweetened tahini sesame paste; sometimes flavored with pistachios, almonds or chocolate.
  • Baklava – a baklava is made of filo pastry with layers filled with nuts, such as pistachios, and sugar or honey syrup.

8. Cheeses

  • Halloumi – is similar to feta but not quite as dry and salty – a semi-soft white cheese often served in salads
  • Nablusi – one of a number of Palestinian white brined cheeses made in the Middle East. Its name refers to its place of origin, Nablus and it is well known throughout the West Bank and surrounding regions. Nabulsi, along with Akkawi cheese are the principal cheeses consumed in Jordan. Produced primarily from sheep milk, goat’s milk is also used.
  • Akkawi cheese – made with cow’s milk, but can also be made with goat or sheep milk. This cheese is largely produced in the Middle East but also in Cyprus. In these regions, people usually eat it with a soft flatbread during lunch and dinner. Akkawi is hand-packed into square draining hoops and then cured in a salted whey brine for two days.
  • Labneh – is a strained yogurt cheese shaped in small balls and preserved in oil. It’s often eaten for breakfast; served with *za’atar and olive oil and spread on warm flatbread. This is a serious addiction.

9. Olives and olive oil.

Silvia P
Silvia P
Fantastic tour with an Italian speaking guide We received an excellent service and support from zamantours. Our Italian-speaking guide, Abdullah, was outstanding: he gave us precise and comprehensive information about places and culture, he was highly flexible in the program and tireless in his work. He has been a reference for us throughout our trip. Also Yusef, the driver, was kind and flexible. All the personnel were always punctual and professional.
Paula S
Paula S
Amazing experience It was a wonderful experience. Petra is an awesome place, breathless sunset at the Wadi Run desert, there are many archeological sites and significant religious places of the Bible.Floating on the Dead Sea was just incredible. Thanks to Ahmed, our tour guide, he's really professional and kind, with a great sense of humor and Samir, excelent and safety driver, both of them are the best advicers in Jordan.
Alberto D
Alberto D
Best experience in Jordan We enjoyed one week touring Amman, Jerash, Petra, Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea. The sites were extraordinary, the guide Fadl very competent and the driver Samir very kind. Hotels were first class, people always very friendly. Food very appreciated.
Maclain N
Maclain N
Skip the Petra by Night experience. Don’t be tricked into doing Petra by night. We saw it last night on 6/12/23 The production value is horrible and the show is really short. Basically by the time you hike down the show is over within 30 min and it is not lit well. The city of Petra is amazing by day and the donkey ride to the monastery was the an incredible experience but I would NOT recommend the night experience.
Deepan P
Deepan P
1-week trip to Jordan Excellent organization, accomodation, and meals. Our driver Hisham is very knowledgeable, great communication and attitude that made our trip memorable. Hisham is a very safe driver, took us often on interesting side routes, and made extra effort to show as much of Jordan as he could in the time we had. He is punctual, and checked on our accomodations and visits. Hisham cares deeply about Jordan and his guests
John Moorcraft
John Moorcraft
Family Holiday with 5yr old expertly delivered. We booked our holiday for our five year old through Zaman and couldn’t have been happier. Everything around booking was painless and easy. All airport procedures were a breeze and they fast track you through immigration. We were out of the airport with all luggage within 15mins of landing! Our driver, Sayall, was outstanding with my daughter and ensured she was the focal point of the whole trip. First class. I would strongly recommend the Hilton in the Dead Sea if you have young children. Very friendly and great swimming pool. The Labdmark Hotel in Amman also good for kids and 100pct do the children’s museum. Our kid loved camel riding in Wadi Rum and found Petra fascinating (she climbed up to the high place of sacrifice). She enjoyed snorkelling as well. I’d caution against the Intercontinental in Aqaba. The policies there on swimming pool access work against 5-10yr olds. I’d look elsewhere there given the pricing structure. Overall, if you want to go to Jordan (and you should) and you want to travel with young children then Zaman will have you sorted. Top agency and it really worked for us.
fabrizio g
fabrizio g
Grazie Sam! Grazie Mohammad Saleem ci hai guidato attraverso la Giordania con professionalità competenza simpatia sempre molto attento alle nostre esigenze. Lo abbiamo molto apprezzato
Cheri R
Cheri R
Terrific value, tremendous fun Samanta of ZamanTours, whom we accessed through KimKim, was honestly fantastic. She planned our itinerary around our dates and requests, got us luxury hotels and meals, and best of all--arranged for driver/guide Hamdi Das. We were able to contact her anytime and she was immediately responsive (we made an error and she was able to help us rectify it--cheerfully!). All communications were clear and easy--fantastic Hamdi accompanied us to every entrance (even hotels) and made sure there was never a problem. We had 6 terrific days in Jordan, and are so completely happy. On our flight home, we talked with others who had used a luxury tour group and our experiences were hugely better --at half their price! We highly recommend Samanta at Zaman Tours and Hamdi, guide/driver-extraodinaire.
Carmelo L
Carmelo L
Amazing tour of Jordan Dear Zamantours, We would thank you for the quality of the service provided us during our travel in Jordan. We were very happy for the assistance we got at the Airport and especially for the professional driver Mr. J. Al Z. who has safely and kindly driven us for the entire week across Jordan A special thanks for our tourist guide Mr.M. Al-S. that made an excellent job explaining us a lot of things about Jordan History and beeing available for each of our need. Thank a lot for your great work Kind regards Carmelo & Fiorella
Peter Tass
Peter Tass
Petra once in a lifetime tour Zayed was extremely helpful. Beautiful waiter. He attended to us all the time. And the cocktails were very well priced.