The Food and Drink of Jordan
Food and drink, particularly tea and coffee, will be offered to you in prodigious quantities; and
if you are full, just politely (and with a smile) say so. Note, that “La, Shokran” is the way to say, “No, Thank you”. The traditional way to indicate that you are full of coffee is to hold your small coffee cup and ‘waggle it’ from side to side! (only done with ‘Bedouin’ coffee.) If you do not drink the ‘traditionally-offered’ tea or coffee, no problem! Just ask for juice. Soft drinks are not always available in private homes, although they will be in restaurants, at a charge of course).
Pork is essentially unavailable in Jordan, as it is prohibited in Islam. For breakfast in restaurants you will often see beef or chicken sausages as substitutes, so please do not ask for nor expect to get pork. And please do not give pork or pig items as gifts, even ‘cute ones’ such as little frames, key chains, etc. Most traveler’s meals in Jordan include poultry or meat, but it is possible to arrange vegetarian meals. It is best to do so in advance, so please advise INSIDER’S PETRA in advance of any dietary restrictions.
INSIDER’S PETRA recommends that travelers do not drink or brush their teeth with tap water in Jordan; and instead use widely-available bottled water. That being said, it is important to stay well-hydrated in Jordan. It is a desert country after all, and the climate is very dry. Especially during the summer months, when outside, it is essential to drink water often. INSIDER’S PETRA supplies all vehicles with bottled water; but you may wish to purchase and keep an extra small bottle with you, just in case.
Alcohol is generally available at most of the better hotels and restaurants (not all, however, due to Islamic restrictions). Beer may be more generally available than hard liquor. Fresh fruit juices, favored by the Jordanians, are available in most restaurants; and soft drinks and bottled water are generally very available, as well. Hot tea and coffee will be offered virtually everywhere. Note: the coffee available will generally be the thick ‘Turkish’ or ‘Arabic’ style coffee or the weaker, ‘Bedouin’ coffee; all served in small cups. ‘American-style’ filtered coffee will be available in most of the better hotels; but may not be available elsewhere.
Jordan is known for its excellent cuisine; and the food in Jordan is generally quite ‘clean’ and prepared in a safe and sanitary manner. That being said, travelers prone to intestinal upsets may wish to avoid raw vegetables, fruits without peels, and salads. INSIDER’S PETRA recommends that travelers pack a diarrhea medication just in case; and those travelers who are particularly prone to intestinal upsets may wish to ask their physicians for an antibiotic prescription to bring, just in case. It is also advisable to bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer in case you are not able to wash your hands as frequently as you’d like.
INSIDER’S PETRA recommends that travelers try the Jordanian national dish called ‘Mansaf’, consisting of meat, typically lamb or sometimes chicken, stewed in a thin and delicious yogurt sauce and served with browned nuts atop a bed of rice. It is traditionally eaten with the right hand (this dish and manner of eating is a tradition of the original Bedouins, your guide can show you how to eat it. Barbeques are very popular, especially in the south of Jordan, and INSIDER’S PETRA can arrange these and many other special (and spectacular!) meal experiences for our clients; just ask us!