I arrived from India into Jordan without any idea of what to expect. I had long desired to travel to the Middle East but now that I was finally here, I recognized I really had no plan.
No plan, no problem. I would start with what I know how to do in any country.
Step 1. Get my bag and get out of the airport in the cheapest way possible. Step 2. Drop my bags off at my hotel. Step 3. Ask the front desk where the best local food is.
As a lifelong lover of hummus and falafel, I was eager to toss aside Indian masalas and find the best food in Jordan. Pricey organic versions of Middle Eastern food had long invaded my home, and I was ready for the real Arab food.
What I learned: You think you know hummus, but you have no idea.
Middle Eastern food brings together the freshest, smoothest, brightest, crispest, tartest flavors into a simply perfect ingredient or an actual culinary masterpiece. If you find yourself anywhere in the Mediterranean, here is a list of the 10 Best Middle Eastern Foods for you to enjoy!
- Hummus: This classic Mediterranean appetizer is mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. Eat a freshly prepared batch with parsley and pita to have your life changed dramatically.
- Shawarma: This fast food option is the enticing meat block you’ve probably seen twirling around on a vertical spit. Shavings are wrapped up in a pita with anything from tahini to tabbouleh.
- Falafel: Falafel is the vegetarian fast food option that is equally as delicious and equally as unhealthy as Shawarma. Falafel is chickpea balls mashed with spices and onions, then fried and served as a snack or sandwich option just about everywhere.
- Olives & Pickles: Practice has made perfect for pickled goods in the Middle East. An abundance of pickles and olives are readily available, and shouldn’t be overlooked as an afternoon snack.
- Mansef: This dish is more of an authentic home experience than a meal. A flavorful rice mixture with goat and nuts is served over a thin bread with a prepared yogurt and served on a communal platter. Be prepared to get your hands dirty for this one.
- Tabouleh: Tabouleh is salad of fresh parsley, bulghur wheat, tomatoes, and lemon juice that holds its own against a table full of entrees. It is tart and fresh, and probably one of the best simple salads on the international scene.
- Kofta: Kofta is essentially a skewered meatloaf mixed with onion and parsley, then grilled to deliciousness.
- Baba Ghannouj: If you’re not burned out on appetizers, baba ghannouj is a hummus look alike made with eggplant that is equally appetizing.
- Kibbeh: Kibbeh is a tasty football-shaped spiced meat pie that is either fried brown or served in a soup in most Midle Eastern countries.
- Tea & Turkish Coffee : While these don’t technically classify as a food, I would say that they are the most significant of all. Whether you start your day or finish your meal with a cup, coffee and tea are at the epicenter of Middle Eastern dining.
Got a Middle Eastern favorite that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!