Popular Jordanian Food & Where to Get it in Jordan

One of my favorite parts of Jordan is the food. It is flavourful and fresh. Jordanian food uses simple ingredients and is steeped in plenty of history and culture. Jordanian food offers time-honored, perfected recipes that are well-loved.

Most of Jordan’s food is considered to be Levantine or Eastern Mediterranean. Most of its recipes come from Syrian and Palestinian influences. The rest of the popular Jordanian foods come from bedouin traditional barbeque, known as a zarb.

Below you will find my favorite food from Jordan.

Jordanian food and typical food in Jordan.

I love sharing Jordanian food so much that I launched Amman Food Tours to give visitors a deep dive into the food culture in Amman. It is the perfect way to start a trip to Jordan and will give you lots of great tastes that you will be able to look for and identify for the rest of your trip!

Typical and Popular Jordanian Food

Hummus

Hummus is like its own food group. This chick pea and tahini (sesame paste) dish can be made with all kinds of flavors, from lemon and garlic to pine nuts or cumin. Nothing like what you will find in the store, freshly made hummus is a must when you are visiting Jordan. You can get it all over Jordan, with hotel breakfasts and with mezze style dining.

One of the most popular restaurants in Amman to get hummus mezze is Hashem Restaurant.

falafel at hashem in downtown amman
Plates of falafel and hummus from Hashem Restaurant. Photo by Lindsay Nieminen

Falafel

A must for any trip to just about anywhere in the Middle East is these deep-fried bits of deliciousness. Falafel is a combination of chickpeas, garlic, parsley, lemon juice, and seasonings like salt and pepper and coriander.

Whether you have it at Hashem Restaurant with a spread of mezze (appetizers) or in a falafel sandwich, it is a popular snack food in Jordan that you should try at least once!

Falafel
FALAFEL TO GO IS SERVED IN PAPER TO KEEP IT CRISP.

Falafel sandwich

If you love bread, get yourself a falafel sandwich. Falafel balls are flattened and then put into a pita making the perfect size meal. The pita is stuffed with varied accompaniments, either made to order or in a self serve topping bar. You can expect hummus, eggplant, salads, sauces and even french fries in a falafel sandwich. It is all up to the cook, or the customer!

One of the most popular places to get a falafel sandwich in Amman is at Falafel Al-Quds on Rainbow Street.

Falafel Sandwiches from Al Quds on Rainbow Street
Falafel Al-Quds on Rainbow Street. Photo by Lindsay Nieminen.

Shawarma

Another ubiquitous Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dish is Shawarma. You will find plenty of Shawarma stands in Jordan (one of the most popular is Shawerma Reem). Shawarma is a slow cooked meat (usually beef, chicken or lamb) that is then shaved into thin slices and served in thin bread. Each Shawarma has its own array of spices and everyone will have an opinion on who makes the most delicious flavoured meat. It is served with chopped salad, tahini, pickled vegetables.

Shawerma Reem near the second circle Jabel Amman
Shawerma Reem in Jabel Amman (near the Intercontinental Hotel). Photo by Lindsay Nieminen.

Knafeh / Kunafa

Knafeh is a popular Arabic dessert that can be found in Jordan. It consists of melted cheese topped with a pastry or shredded wheat topping, then soaked in sweet syrup. It is usually sold by weight and is heavily addictive.

There are two types of knafeh, most easily explained in English as “soft” or “rough.” One is topped with shredded wheat (kheshna) and the other is topped with semolina… (na’ma). Try both and see which one you like better.

The most popular knefeh in Amman will be found at Habibah in downtown Amman. Situated in a tiny alley, you will likely find the alley packed with locals and tourists, enjoying their dessert with a foam plate and plastic fork.

kunafa from habibah while on amman food tours
Kunafa from Habibah. Photo by Lindsay Nieminen

Baklava 

Baklava is a delicious filo pastry dessert. The layers of pastry are generally filled with different types of nuts and held together with a sugar syrup. You can find it at Jabri sweets in Amman.

Mansaf

Mansaf is a traditional Jordanian meal. It is served on a large platter with a thin flatbread, then rice is added and topped with lamb, nuts and a fermented yoghurt sauce called jameed. 

It is often served for special occasions or to show appreciation to guests. You can find it in many restaurants in Jordan, if you are looking for somewhere in Amman, check out Al Quds Restaurant. 

Mansaf on Amman Food Tour
Mansaf in Amman. Photo by Lindsay Nieminen.

Makloubeh

In English, makloubeh is often called “upsidedown” as the method of serving the dish is by turning a massive pot upsidedown and the layered contents of seasoned potatoes, eggplant, onions and rice spilling onto a massive plate on the table. 

Zaarb

Zaarb is a mix of meat and vegetables cooked in an underground oven. It is commonly served at bedouin camps in Wadi Rum. 

Mulukhiyah

Mulukhiyah is a popular local dish made of greens and chicken atop a bed of rice. Squeeze some lemon on top for the perfect about of tartness!

Arias

The easiest way to describe Arias is like spaghetti sauce inside a pita. It is then toasted on the BBQ and served like a sandwich.

Fuul (Fava Beans)

Fuul is another staple and is fava beans mixed with lemon, chillis and garlic. Every restaurant makes theirs a little different. Often breakfast buffets in hotels will have fixings on the side to add to your fava beans. They are often served in a tall ceramic tear drop-shaped container with a long spoon. If you see this at your hotel breakfast, inside you will find the fuul.

ful, falafel and hummus from hashem in jordan
Fuul from Hashem. Photo by Lindsay Nieminen.

Musakhan

Musakhan is a chicken based dish with sumac seasoned onions and olive oil. It is served with thin bread to scoop the meat and onions.

Zait and Zaatar with Bread

Basic breakfast can be bread (which is usually pita) with olive oil and a blend of zait and zaatar.

Mannaqesh

Mannaquesh (also often spelt Mannaesh) is breakfast pizza in Amman and a popular Jordanian food. Traditional mannaqesh is a round dough topped with zaatar (thyme mixture with salt, sumac and sesame seeds) and olive oil and baked in a fire oven. You can also try an array of different options depending on the restaurant. I like the halloumi (a salty cheese), and eggs and dried meat. I usually order all three types for just a few JD

local manaqish with zaatar spice

Fatteh

Fatteh or Fattet typically consists of pieces of pita bread and chickpeas that have been layered in a serving dish and soaked, making a soupy type hummous that is eaten with a spoon. It is topped with a tahina sauce. This specialty is usually garnished with toasted pine nuts or almonds, fresh parsley or paprika and olive oil.

Do you want a deep dive into food culture in Amman? Check out a tour with Amman Food Tours!

Jordan food fatteh.
FATTET served to-go from one of Amman’s oldest restaurants.