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The range of culinary experiences in Amman truly run the gamut from American fare at chain restaurants to every ethnic cuisine imaginable. But for a true taste of Amman, Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you seek out these five traditionl food experiences:
1. Falafel. To capture the spirit of Jordanian food, head downtown to Hashim’s. This hole-in-the-wall specializes in falafel - balls of fried ground chickpeas - and fuul - hot Fava beans mashed with garlic and lemon juice. What this place lacks in ambiance it makes up for in its mouth-watering specialty dishes.
2. Mansaf. For a taste of Amman’s national dish, mansaf (a platter of lamb, rice and dried yogurt), head to Al Quds Restaurant downtown. Every cab driver knows where this reasonably-priced place is.
3. Knafeh. A hidden gem bakery called Habiba, meaning loved one, creates the most delicious traditional pastries and sweets in the city. Its trademark is the knafeh — a cheese and semolina-based pastry drenched in syrup.
4. Hummus. If you’re looking for a hands-on approach to Arabic food, then head to Abu Jbara, which specializes in making hummus. They’ve raised the ground chickpea snack to an art form. You’ll find Lebanese hummus with whole chickpeas mixed in and a smooth Jordanian style topped with a sauce of spicy grated green peppers and garlic.
5. Shawarma. Reem, one of the city’s most well-known budget eateries, specializes in meat shawarmas. You’ll probably have to wait in line at this roadside stand for your shawarma that starts with of lamb meat slowly roasted on a spit. It’s thinly shaved into a warm pita, and wrapped up along with ripe tomatoes, sauce and a sprinkle of onions. However, Forbes Travel Guide editors promise that the first bite makes up for the wait.