Whether you experience a little discomfort or end up with serious trouble… A gluten allergy is always difficult when it comes to traveling abroad. How do you explain your condition to locals? And what can you eat? Learn all about going gluten free in Jordan! 

Maglooba - the upside down one-pot gluten free Jordanian dish!
Maglooba – the upside down one-pot gluten free Jordanian dish!

Gluten free in Jordan

Gluten allergies are not really known in Jordan. It’s better known in the bigger cities such as Amman, where there more and more gluten free menu’s and food are on offer. If you go to the high end restaurants and 5* hotels you will find professionals who know everything about gluten, cross contamination and how to avoid that last one.

But most of the locals don’t know what it is, let stand ever heard about it. Therefore we provide everyone with a gluten allergy, with a document that explains a gluten allergy  in Arabic what you can and can’t eat. You can also show it to the locals when going to any restaurant. We also always communicate your food preferences and allergies to the hotels and restaurants when you pre-book your meals.

Maglooba - Jordanian gluten free dish
Maglooba – Jordanian gluten free dish

Gluten free dishes

It might surprise you but there are many dishes in Jordan that are gluten free! Think about the delicious local mezzes with dips such as hummus*, baba ganouch*, Dawali (Rice stuffed grape leaves) or Makdoosh (garlic and hazelnut stuffed baby aubergines). Another great gluten free starter is Lentil soup, a nice full soup with loads of protein but especially taste.

There is no such thing as gluten free bread in Jordan. You can buy it at select amount of selling points and in Amman only. For example at Crumz or at the “Beat tha wheat shop’ in Cozmo 7th circle. If you’re don’t have the opportunity to go here, it’s better to bring your own gluten free crackers or bread and dip away; going gluten free in Jordan!

Be careful though, some of these dishes contain *tahini (sesame paste), which may be processed in a factory that also processes wheat.

Makdoush : stuffed baby aubergines - Gluten free in Jordan
Makdoush : stuffed baby aubergines – Gluten free in Jordan

Gluten free main courses

You can eat a variety of main courses. Jordan is rich in one-pot rice dishes such as Maglooba. It’s a one-pot upside down rice dish, with veggies, potatoes, chicken, sprinkled with roasted peanuts and parsley. Or go for the traditional Zarb Dinner, the famous Bedouin dish that’s prepared under the ground. It consists of roasted chicken and a variety of roasted vegetables. But also dishes such as Bamia and Mlokhia are incredibly delicious and gluten free. Bamia is made out of okra’s in tomato sauce. Mlokhia is a kind of spinach soup full of garlic. Both are traditionally eaten together with rice.

Dishes to watch out for, they contain gluten:

  • Fattoush salad. Part of this salad is deep-fried bread.
  • Foul: Although this dish is made of beans, they often come from cans before being processed into this dish.
  • Tabouleh: Parsley salad that contains couscous.
  • Any pastry or other types of bread.

Please note that you always should be very careful with what you eat. The above list is just a small one; the Arabic cuisine contains many many dishes and varieties of them, making it impossible to list all of the Arabic dishes that contain gluten.

NOT GLUTEN FREE - Tabouleh salad - parsley salad with couscous. Watch out!
NOT GLUTEN FREE – Tabouleh salad – parsley salad with couscous. Watch out!

Other allergies

Also when you have other allergies, you can come to Jordan. Our travel consultants live in the country and can help you with an advise on what (not) to eat and give you a proper advise on food in Jordan. We also create wonderful itineraries that meet all of your wishes! Contact us any time and we’re more than happy to help.

 

Generous meals in Beit al Baraka
Generous meals in Beit al Baraka
A typical Arabic breakfast – do you know what’s gluten free?

 

A special thanks goes to Mariangela, our favorite Chef in Jordan and Italian Chef the Cuisine of Hilton Dead Sea for the extra tips and tricks about going gluten free in Jordan! 

 

 

Inside In2Jordan: Meet Henk

Meet Henk, the newest member of the pack! Let him tell you about his favourite places in Jordan, what he likes to do in his free time and his (new) job with In2Jordan!

Name: Henk (Jan) Sanders

Age: hmm… I don’t remember when I was born, too long ago. Someone told is now 55 years ago, but I don’t believe it. Still feels like 30 or so.

Occupation: My last jobs were business manager. I had my own business in IT-consulting. Over the years I used to buy, re-organize companies, re-structure, make them profitable and sell them again.

Languages spoken: Dutch of course, English and German are standard second languages for most Dutch people.

 

Q: How long have you been working with In2Jordan?
A: 3 weeks now! Yes, quite an achievement!

Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: I must say, the selling part, communicating with costumers, making nice presentations these are the things I like most. 

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: Dealing with some of my colleagues , who ask too many questions! No, just joking… I have very nice and helpful colleagues. Hardest is collecting all the prices and once a trip is booked by our costumer, making sure that the costumer has the holiday of his life in Jordan and wants to come back! 

Q: What parts of Jordan do your guests get most excited about?
A: For sure Petra and Wadi Rum!

Q: Where is your favourite place in Jordan?
A:. The deserts, the mountains, not only in Jordan, but all over the world. And in Jordan, of course Petra is spectacular to see and visit. The best thing for me in Petra is the hiking and climbing to the high parts of this city. But I go crazy for deserts and mountains: the views, the air that you breathe – always amazing for me!
I used to drive rally (4X4 Landrover Dutch Profi team) in some of the worlds most beautiful deserts and therefor visited many deserts. I love to be in these places, just sit or lay and listen to the silence. In the time I still lived in Holland, I frequently just went for a weekend to Switzerland or Austria to walk in mountains. 

Q: Why did you decide to move to Jordan?
A: We lived in Egypt for several years before last summer, and left for Jordan, because my wife received a job offer in Jordan. She really wanted to do this job and enter this company, so we went to Jordan. 

 

Inside In2Jordan: Meet Henk

 

 

 

Inside In2Jordan: Meet KhaledMeet Khaled Sabbah Atieg, In2Jordan’s colleague in Wadi Rum! Let him tell you about his job, his favourite places and what it’s like growing up in the desert.

Name: Khaled Sabbah Atieg
Age: 34 years old
Occupation: Tour guide and camp owner of Khaled’s Camp in Wadi Rum
Languages spoken: Fluent in Arabic and English

 

Q: How long have you been working with In2Jordan?
A: I have been working with In2Jordan for 6 years now.

Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The best part of my job is meeting new people every day! It is very nice is to help them explore and discover the desert of Wadi Rum, especially if they are visiting for the first time.

Q: What parts of Jordan do your guests get most excited about?
A: I think usually people who come to Jordan and Wadi Rum are most excited about Petra, the Dead Sea and of course Wadi Rum.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: There is not really a hard part in my job but what I don’t like when guest leave Wadi Rum and they are sad because they don’t have enough time to stay longer in the desert.

Q: Where is your favourite place in Jordan?
A:. My favourite place in Jordan is Wadi Rum, of course! But I also like Petra as well as Um Qais and Jerash in the north of Jordan.

Q: What was it like growing up in Wadi Rum?

A: Growing up in Wadi Rum means being close contact to nature. 

There is  a big connection between me and the desert because I was born and grew up here. I’m in love with the desert and I cant imagine any life different.

Being a Bedouin means knowing how to live in the desert and how to survive with limited resources in food, water and technology. It also means to know how to appreciate everything that nature has to offer. Our rhythm of life is the rhythm of nature.

For us, it is important to keep our traditions with generosity and hospitality and welcoming people. I am really proud to be a Bedouin .

 

 

To find out more about Khaled and his camp, check out his website: http://www.wadi-rum.com/index.php

or follow him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WADIRUMCAMPING/

 

 

Inside In2Jordan: Meet Khaled

Looking for a new destination for your New year’ resolution on taking care of yourself? If you’re looking for some great adventures to a special destination, we got you covered! Recently we were featured in this fantastic article on the Telegraph UK. It covers 10 destinations to find peace and quiet around the world. Our unique Horse Wisdom Retreat we offer in Little Petra is one of them. 

Jordan: a place for your next horse wisdom retreat

Jordan is a fantastic country, where we daily learn from the local customs. For example from the Bedouins, who love to live in the moment. Something we tend to forget in our daily lives. Being your authentic self, or just enjoying the moment without the continue updates from social networks or work. Just with a cup of tea, slowly brewed on the camp fire.

During the horse wisdom retreat in Little Petra

The authenticity of the Bedouins, living in the moment and getting back to who you really are. All of this is combined in our horse wisdom retreat. Host Sandra Jelly is a great coach and certified yoga teacher. Together with her horses she guides you to on a quest to find your true self.

You can experience the horse wisdom retreat during this round-trip to Jordan. Or as an extension to your own itinerary with this 3 day workshop. During this mini retreat you increase wellness & get inspiration while on a breathtaking in Jordan; Little Petra.  You enjoy yoga, but also meditation & horse coaching, which will all invite you to connect from the heart and embrace the moment.

Sandra, coach during horse wisdom retreat in Little Petra Jordan
Sandra, coach during horse wisdom retreat in Little Petra Jordan

Our horse wisdom retreat is mentioned in the Telegraph UK by Travel Journalist Emma Thompson:  “Take your Namaste to the next level and try horse meditation. In this version of equine-assisted therapy, the horses intuitively mirror your state of being to offer powerful insights into your hidden behaviour. This three-day retreat at Little Petra combines yoga sessions with excursions to Wadi Rum and private Bedouin camps inside Petra. Massages, horse rides and stargazing are also on offer. It’s hard to say neigh…”

You can find the full article here.

 

Namaste! 

Salt is located only 35 km outside of Amman and has recently been nominated as UNESCO world heritage site. This ancient town was once the most important settlement between the Eastern Desert and the Jordan Valley. We figured this small town is definitely worth a visit when in Amman – here are the top 10 things to do in Salt on a day trip!

 

1. Stroll down Hamman Street and Al Ein Plaza

You should not miss a stroll down Hammam Street. With plenty of small shops lining up next to each other and full of locals, there is lots to see (and taste!). Vendors offer everything: local food and produce, clothing, household goods, handmade perfumes, delicious sweets from bakeries, old Arabic beddings, traditional crafts, more clothing and more food. Back in the days, the lower half was sued to sell cattle and horses, while the upper half was filled with shops selling fruit and veggies.

Al Ein Plaza is considered the heart of the city. Here you’ll see the local old men playing a traditional game called Manqala and you’ll hear the Islamic call for praying. Most people from As-Salt come here every day to talk to others, pray in the surrounding churches or head to the markets, as part of their daily routine.

2. Eat at Salaam (Peace) Restaurant

The perfect place for lunch on a day out in Salt! Head to Salaam Restaurant, which is located close to the Archaeological Museum for some good and local food. We ordered half a chicken with bread, cucumber salad, tahina salad and pickled vegetables – very delicious!

 

3. Head up to the mosque on top of the hill for amazing views

Climb up the hill towards the mosque on top, and you can enjoy nice views over As-Salt – in every direction! Just head towards the tower of the mosque on the hill from the Al Ein Plaza, which will also lead you through characteristic, small alleyways.

Photo by: Vadim Skorobogatko

4. Check out Salt’s museums

In Salt, there is the Historical Old Salt Museum and the Archaeological Museum that are well worth a visit. The Historical Museum has free admission and is located right next to the visitor centre. In the visitor centre, you’ll also find plenty of useful brochures and maps for walking tours through As-Salt. There is also a nice cafe with a terrace, and you can buy local produce from there. The rather small Archaeological Museum is 2 JOD per person and filled with old artefacts from the surrounding region.

5. Dinner with a local family

The perfect finishing touch for a day out in Salt: Have dinner with a local family. You’ll meet them at their home, help prepare the food and learn how to prepare a traditional dish. And then, of course, you’ll eat dinner together. This is a great way of meeting locals, learning from them and discovering new food! Get in touch with us, we can organise it for you[email protected] 

6. Empower locals by buying handmade products

The ideal place to get some souvenirs for your loved ones back home! The shop is located right next to the visitor centre and sells local products made by the people in As-Salt. It is a community project which aims to give locals the opportunity to display their items. That way, they can sell their products directly and without intermediaries, ensuring a fair price. You’ll find things like soaps, oils, jewellery, homemade jams and other produce or bags and paintings.

7. Go on a city walking tour with a local guide

A great way to get to know As-Salt is by going on a walking tour through the city with a guide, who will be able to tell you about the history and personal stories of local people. There are also several different routes, depending on your interests. The first one focuses on religious harmony in As-Salt and will take you to various mosques, churches and heritage buildings. The second trail is called Daily Life trail and is all about tasting new foods, buying unusual products and speaking to locals. Finally, you can choose to do the Educational Trail, where your guide will tell you more about the educational buildings in As-Salt, and you will pay a visit to the secondary school there. Click here for more information: http://www.saltcitytour.com/

8. Visit the churches in Salt

There are three churches you should visit in Salt: the Al-Khader Orthodox Church was built over the remains of an old chapel and Muslims as well as Christians come to pray at this church. There is also the Dormition of Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, constructed in the 16th century. The local community funded part of the refurbishment of this church. Last but not least, you should visit the Latin Church. It was designed by an Italian architect and back in the days, the basement of this church was used for storing supplies of the Turkish Army and local citizens.

Photo by: L’esc Photography

9. Go paintballing at the Mountain Breeze Resort

You can also combine your day in Salt with an overnight stay or visit to the Mountain Breeze Resort. Here you can do all sorts of exciting and fun stuff: Go paintballing (the only paintball field in Jordan!), unleash your inner Robin Hood and do some archery, play volleyball or football, hire a bike, ride ponies or go on a hiking tour! Follow this link for more info: http://www.mountainbreeze.jo/about/

Photo by: Mountain Breeze Resort

10. Get Lost

You can discover many characteristic alleyways in Salt. Most likely you will get lost, which is not as bad as it sounds: You will find small local shops, old and abandoned houses, stunning architecture and lots of friendly people who are more than happy to help you to get back on track again!

Photo by: Adeeb Atwan

Going to Jordan for an internship that has nothing to do with NGOs or aid organisations but for tourism sounds pretty random at first. When I tell people what I’m doing here, most people look at me in surprise and wonder “Why Jordan?”- I found that the best answer is “why not Jordan?”

 

Why Jordan?

Jordan is a great place to do an internship. It has so much to offer: from breathtaking landscapes and a warm and welcoming culture to endless activity offerings and food that makes your mouth water. Whether it’s an internship for 3 months or a year, you’ll have plenty to see and do in your free time. You can, for instance, go diving (or snorkelling), abseil from waterfalls, go on exciting hikes through canyons, sleep in Bedouin camps, join Arabic classes, see the world wonder Petra, float in the Dead Sea or race on a camel through the desert. From Jordan, it is also easy to pay a visit to the surrounding countries like Israel, Egypt, the UAE or Lebanon for example on a slightly longer weekend.

 

Why In2Jordan?

In2Jordan is a fantastic company to work for. Everyone in the company is incredibly friendly, doesn’t hesitate to help, give advice and share their knowledge. I always felt very comfortable and when working and enjoy going to work every morning.

Moreover, I was able to learn a lot from my internship with In2Jordan. Through the fact that I was involved in so many different and varied tasks, I feel like I gained more experience in several areas at the same time. Like, for instance, sales, product development or social media.

If there is a conference or seminar taking place, In2Jordan will send you to go there if possible. I, for example, was able to visit the women cooperation in Iraq al Amir, which was a great day and gave me a better insight of what they are offering.

When I arrived and before coming here, In2Jordan was very helpful with getting things organised. They helped me in finding a place to stay as well as pickup, transfers and accommodation in the first few days. They also assisted me with visa renewals and helped me to get a Jordanian phone number.

Last but not least, for some periods during my internship, I was able to work from home – or where ever I was. One day I worked in Wadi Rum!

 

My role during the internship

My duties in my role were varied and wide-ranging. I communicate directly with clients about what they want and how they imagine their holiday to be like, and create an itinerary accordingly. Part of that is also to calculate quotations and look after the payment procedure. I also book the hotels and activities for them, which means that I am in direct contact with suppliers. I am also available while customers are travelling, in case there are any issues or they have questions. Although colleagues who are from Jordan or lived here longer are often more useful in that as they know the country better.

Further duties include doing the monthly accounting, keeping up with posts on our social media channels, writing blog posts for our website or creating new trips and uploading them to our various sales channels. Lately, I have also started translating our itineraries into German, as we will soon be offering our customised holidays to the German market. This will be very exciting…

 

Options for after the internship

If the internship goes well for everybody and you enjoy the work, there are several possibilities for once the internship finishes.

You can, for example, continue working for In2Jordan as a travel consultant, but be based outside of Jordan. That means that you can choose to live where ever, as the job can be done from your laptop. Also, you might happen to be in the same country as some of the clients, which is also an advantage.

There is also the possibility of staying with the company as a fully trained travel consultant and living in Jordan. You can choose to base yourself in Amman, Aqaba, Petra or which place you would like best.

So, all in all, it might have been a bit of a lucky coincidence for me to have ended up in Jordan. I did not assume that this was the country I would work in after my studies, and before coming here I would not have thought that I would decide to stay in Jordan after my internship. But I have to say, I had a great time in Jordan and with In2Jordan, and I can only recommend it.

To see what vacancies we have at the moment, check out the career section of our website: https://in2jordan.com/about/careers/

 

 

Hubbly bubbly, Sisha, hookah or in Arabic: “Argilah”, the water-pipe is a common tool to smoke different flavors of tobacco in Jordan. What is it and where can you smoke the best Sisha in Jordan? 

Preparing the Sisha

How do you prepare the best sisha? Learn from the locals in Jordan and use the following tips and tricks:

  • Fire up! Get some coals from your BBQ or put some on the fire. In the meanwhile you can continue with prepping your pipe.
  • Fill the bottle with cool water. You can also add ice-cubes, slices of lemon or some mint to the water for an extra fresh taste.
  • Fill the head of the Sisha with the tobacco of your taste. Put a piece of foil on top and prick small holes in there so the air can go through.
  • Make sure all pieces are well connected. Put some small coals on top of the foil and suck the air through the tube. You’ll see smoke coming into the bottle above the water.
  • While smoking, sometimes it becomes ‘very heavy’. Instead of leaving it, you can go another round by taking the head off and blow in it from the other side.
  • If you’re sitting outside, you can protect the coals from blowing off by either wrapping some foil around the head of the water-pipe or use the little wind-shield that came with the sisha.
  • Drink a small cup of Turkish coffee along with your sisha like a real pro.

For this blog we went out and captured the process with a how-to photoguide:

 

Buying a sisha in Jordan

There are many shops to buy your sisha in Jordan. If you are looking to take this souvenir home, consider buying a full set so you can enjoy it at home. A complete set contains:

  • The sisha itself
  • A good tube and some plastic mouth pieces if you are planning to share it with others
  • Spare parts such as rubbers and ceramic top-pieces
  • Tobacco – keep in mind the regulations of your home country (or next destination) to prevent hassle at the airport!
  • The big tweezers to handle hot coals.
  • A rag to clean it after use
  • A small metal basket so you can burn your coals on the fire.
  • A bag that fits the sisha and all parts exactly, perfect when you want to take it to the beach or on a picnic!

Another tip to clean the tube: put a bit of water inside and sling it while holding both ends. Blow out the water and there you go, ready for the next round!

Shop for tabacco and sisha in Jordan – Picture by Marre

Types of tobacco

The most common enjoyed flavor is double apple. You’ll find it available everywhere. But there’s also the Zaglool – a cigar like taste where the coals are put directly on top of the tobacco (without foil.) But there’s a range of other flavors as well. The tobacco shop can even mix your favorite flavors. Some popular combinations are lemon and mint or watermelon that tastes like sweet sweet bubblegum. But you can also go for something more tropical, for example with a combination of coconut, mango and peach flavor.

"tombac" sisha in Jordan - Photo by Carmen Scholten
“tombac” sisha in Jordan – Photo by Carmen Scholten

Where to smoke a sisha in Jordan:

Almost everyone has a sisha at home in Jordan. In most restaurants in Jordan the water-pipe is part of the menu. But also Bedouins in the most remote places can prepare it for you. In Papaya Restaurant in Aqaba (Pizza street) you will find a beautifully crafted sisha with different and unique flavors.  Sisha Way in Amman – the name already says it, serves different kind of sisha’s. Or visit [email protected], LEMON Jordan or just hop in where-ever you see other people smoking their sisha’s!

Looking for a customized program with visits to beautiful places, good restaurants and the highlights of Jordan? Contact our Jordan destination experts for a custom-made trip! 

Disclaimer: don’t smoke tobacco if you are too young to do so, or if you have an addictive personality. It can become a first step to smoking real cigarettes! 

 

Do you have a sisha yourself? Did we miss any tips and tricks? Comment below! 

 

We notice that nowadays more often people choose to ‘’travel local’’. But what does it mean to travel local in Jordan and why would it be something for you? 

Did you ever wonder where your money would end up during your all-inclusive holiday?

Perfect, your holiday is arranged from A – Z, you don’t have to worry about anything. Your room is getting cleaned, three times a day a hot buffet meal is waiting for you and if you are bored of the beach and the swimming pools, then the inhouse ‘travel agency’’ can arrange a ‘jeep safari’, ‘local diner with authentic dance performance’ or a ‘camel tour’ in just a wink. Why not? It is often cheap, easy and arranged without any hassle and you will even have the idea that you have learned something about a new country. But, did you ever wonder about what kind of impact your dream holiday has on the local community and economy?

Wadi Araba

Often, your money will disappear and goes to all those who are working behind the scenes. For the locals, there’s nothing left. The wages are poor, working conditions bad and often Europeans are flown in to take over the reception and hostess work. Even worse, local tour guides can’t find business anymore when the tour operators take their own guides from abroad. The same counts for cab drivers and restaurant owners. They get an offer from the big companies. But in the end, they lose their profit on ridiculous high amounts of commission. It’s not worth to participate in the end. I am sure you cannot agree with this. But can you change this positively? You can, and it is even easier than you think!

Travel local!

This way, the local people and the country’s economy benefit from your stay. Make sure to choose how and where to book your next holiday wisely. There are numerous companies who do care about the country and their people. Like this, drivers and guides will be booked and paid directly instead of the money rolling from here to there before arriving in the country.

Something else you can do while traveling, participate in a community based project such as a local family dinner or come along for the day with a local farmer and see how he’s harvesting olives to make soap or oil out of it. Projects like these can be found in almost every country in the world. Have a sincere look at the holiday destination of your choice and sign up for one of those projects to support the locals.

Zikra initiative, local family dinner

Traveling local is not boring or old fashioned. Local destination experts know the ins and outs, like hidden gems and hotspots, that you definitely must visit during your holiday. Traveling local will certainly has a positive effect on your holiday experience.

Enough reasons to think twice about where to book your next holiday, so that you can ensure that local people get the profit they deserve and that your money is not disappearing behind other people’s back.

Traveling with In2Jordan automatically means that you are supporting Jordan’s locals. We choose our drivers and guides carefully. We know them and their family’s personally. In this way, we know that the profit goes to our drivers and guides and their families as well.

This list shows you 5 of the many community based activities that In2Jordan is offering in order to support local communities:

1) Local family dinner: Enjoy a fresh home-made dinner at a local family. Experience how Jordanians live. Enjoy a cup of sweet mint tea while listening to their stories.
2) Bedouin weaving workshop: Experience centuries of old weaving techniques together with the Woman from Udruh (Petra area). You will go home with a unique handmade souvenir.
3) Visit the woman’s initiative of Iraq al Amir: Let the ladies show you their handicraft skills: from making soap to pottery and handmade paper.

Local woman in Udruh, weaving course

4) Visit local initiatives in Ajloun: At the soap house, you can learn more about traditional soap making, don’t leave without buying one of the unique soaps.
5) Come along with a local Bedouin and his goats to experience what it’s like to be a herder in rural Jordan. This day you can experience in Feynan, a ecolodge situated in the middle of Jordan.

 

To get more information about community based itineraries and what excursions we offer, please click here.

Don’t miss out on the ultimate food experience when travelling in Jordan. The kingdom’s national dish, Mansaf, should be a point on every traveller’s bucket list.

Photo by: WAELBQ

What is Mansaf?

It is a traditional Arabic dish, noticeably most popular in Jordan, which has made Mansaf its national dish. It is a dish made of rice, lamb, dried goat yoghurt (also called jameed), pine nuts and shrak (very flat bread, similar to crepes). Sometimes, the head of the lamb is placed on top as a symbol of good quality and fresh meat. In fairness, Mansaf is also popular in Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Palestine, with slight variations in preparation.

In Jordan, it is usually served on a huge platter, with the shrak spread out on the bottom. Then, a gigantic mountain of rice is piled on top of it. The lamb meat is scattered on top, and pine nuts are sprinkled over the whole dish.

Mansaf is more than just delicious food, it is an experience in itself!

A bit of history

There is no better way of putting it: Mansaf is not only food, it is part of the Jordanian culture. In the past, the dish was known to resolve conflicts between Jordanian tribes. Nowadays, it is common to eat Mansaf at parties, family reunions or celebrations.

Mansaf was first prepared by Bedouins in the Arabian desert. Back then, it was made with camel or lamb meat, shrak bread and ghee or meat broth. Rice and jameed were included in the dish at a later stage. As Bedouins lived like nomads and moved around a lot, they spread their recipes throughout the region.

Photo by: Delphine Vincent

Etiquette around Mansaf

There is a certain Jordanian pride and significance that goes with eating Mansaf. The national dish is served on one big platter, with everyone eating from the same platter with their hands. Amongst locals, women and men sometimes have separate platters. Usually, Mansaf is eaten while standing around the table it’s served on.

In a very traditional setting, the host is always serving the guests. This shows appreciation, respect and good hospitality. The host is expected to continuously place pieces of lamb in front of all guests, and also keep pouring the jameed sauce. As a guest, you would not help yourself to the meat, but a good host will ensure that there is always some in front of you. You should also only eat from the “section” in front of you and not take food that is placed in front of other people. The host is not supposed to stop eating until the last guest has finished.

And finally: After your feast, you are allowed to lick your hands! Only if you don’t intend to dip your hands back into the platter, of course…

How to eat Mansaf

To really get the taste of Mansaf, you should eat it the traditional way: with your hands. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. First and foremost, you should eat with your right hand and your left hand behind your back.

When aiming to catapult the first load into your mouth, take a good handful of rice and lamb, and form a ball in your hand. Avoid squeezing the rice too hard, as it will stick to your palm otherwise. Eat the entire ball in one bite and try not to touch your mouth or lips, if possible. Also, try to keep your face and the space around you tidy J

If you know how, Mansaf is not too difficult to prepare. Here is a good recipe: http://foodemag.com/recipe-mansaf/

Photo by: Gigiola

If you want to experience a Mansaf feast during your trip to Jordan, get in touch with us, and we make it happen! Contact us via Trip.me here: https://www.trip.me/profile/31265 or check out the trips on our website: https://in2jordan.com/intineraries/

 

Meet Ahmad Alomari, In2Jordans tour guide for Um Qais and proud camp owner. Let him tell you about his job and favourite places. 

Name: Ahmad Alomari
Age: 45 years
Occupation: Tour guide and camp owner in Um Qais, Northern Jordan
Languages spoken: Fluent Arabic, fluent English, proficient in German

 

Q: How long have you been working with In2Jordan?
A: I have been working with In2Jordan for three years now.

Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The best part of my job is that I get to go hiking in beautiful landscapes every day and help visitors discover the history and natural wonders of Jordan.

Q: What parts of Jordan do your guests get most excited about?
A: It’s not a specific aspect of my program that people enjoy. It is the way I put each piece together that my guests like most. When hiking, I take my guests on unique trails that other people don’t get to see. During the homestay, my guests get to forage and farm the organic food they will eat, and prepare it using traditional methods. All of this takes place in a camp surrounded by panoramic views. I also offer swimming in hot springs for further relaxing moments for guests in summer and winter seasons.

Q: Where is your favourite place in Jordan?
A:. I love Petra and I’m yet to find a guest who doesn’t love it too. Wadi Rum is my favourite place in Jordan though. The red sand and rock formations are amazing.

For first-hand insight into what hiking through Um Qais with Ahmed is like, check out Hiking In Umm Qais and Yarmouk Nature Reserve by Baker Alkarimeh.

Q: What is the hardest part of your job?
A: Actually, but the hardest part of my job is to find an assistant when I have a bigger group coming. It doesn’t sound so difficult, but it’s the hardest part.