Mansaf, the national dish of Jordan

I wasn’t overwhelmingly impressed with the food in Jordan. They do meats very well (and mixed grill is always on the menu), but I found the similar dishes in neighboring Israel (falafel, hummus) fresher and more flavorful.

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That said, an absolute must-try is mansaf. It’s the national dish of Jordan and while I believe it’s more of a special occasion dish, it’s widely available in restaurants. It basically consists of a dish of rice with a big chunk of tender, melt-in-your-mouth lamb on top, and then you’re given a large dish of warm, thinned yogurt sauce to pour over the whole thing. There’s typically some flatbread under the rice as well to sop up the excess juices. It’s also garnished with chopped herbs and nuts. Almonds and pine nuts are most common, but I also had it served with peanuts at a restaurant in Wadi Musa, as pictured.

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I ate this several times during my nine days in Jordan and find myself craving it now that I’ve moved on and it’s no longer available. It’s strange, I don’t like yogurt on its own but I love yogurt sauces on things, and I think mansaf is definitely the best way to eat it.

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