Our table at Hashem in downtown Amman was laden with simple and delicious mezze. We ripped off hunks of khubz, the ubiquitous flatbread, to dip into hummus and ful mudammas, a Middle Eastern dish of stewed fava beans. We tucked into stuffed falafel, its fluffy centre wrapped in a crispy, sesame-crusted shell.
Down the road at Habibah, the queue snaked around the block for the calorie-laden sweet treat kanafeh. We joined locals eating this salty cheese pastry, drenched in sugar syrup and sprinkled with crushed pistachios, as our guide Mohammed recited the Jordanian proverb: “Even when you’re full, you can still always eat 40 more bites of food.”
I was discovering that Jordan is a mesh of cultures with a cuisine to match, its eating habits shaped by invaders and neighbours, alongside the Bedouins. And on Intrepid’s new food-focussed tour, I was getting a new take on its dramatic landscapes and legendary monuments.
Driving across the stark and beautiful Wadi Rum, we stopped to scramble up sand dunes and marvel at ancient Nabataean graffiti, arriving at our simple tented camp in time to watch the setting sun paint the sandstone mountains gold, red and purple, while our dinner cooked underground.