Brunching, Shopping and Farming in Amman!


This weekend we explored more more of the city around us as well as the Jordanian countryside. My flatmates and I decided to go to brunch in Abdoun, a more Western and wealthy neighborhood, to a restaurant called Blue Fig. It was delicious! We opened the menu and one of the first dishes was avocado toast, so naturally, since we are millenials, we HAD to order some. They made the toast with a layer of labneh, a local type of yoghurt and the sourness that it brought to the creamy avocado texture made it the BEST brunch I have had since being here. It was so interesting to be part of the different culture in Abdoun where dress and style is less conservative than the area of Sports City that we are accustomed to.

Afterwards we wandered over to TAJ Mall, where we found a roller rink at the front entrance! It was one of the largest malls I have ever seen. It was a very interesting experience to see the American stores such as H&M and American Eagle juxtaposed with Jordanian clothing stores. The mix of culture present in the physical stores was representative of the individuals themselves in Abdoun.

The following day we went on a farming tour of the Jordanian countryside. We spent the day traveling to different homes and experiencing life on a farm. At each home there was a specific activity. At the first home, the woman of the house taught us how to make za’atar, a mixture of spices, including sumac, ground wheat, ground chickpeas, oregano, sesame seeds and olive oil. This spread is then put on bread and baked with more olive oil that acts as an adhesive. Za’atar is by far my favorite food in Jordan—its simplicity is delicious, and it’s savory and salty flavors are incredibly unique to the area.

Afterwards we moved to another farm where we learned about bees and got to try some honey. The beekeeper explained to us the process of beekeeping in Jordan and how in different seasons, you can have different flavored honey. He expressed that in April the bees feed off of a sweeter flower so the honey has a more sour and tangy flavor rather than a sweet taste. At first I thought that the honey would be overwhelming sweet but the freshness and gummy-ness of the wax inside the honey was beyond amazing. It was the best honey I have ever tasted. It was good enough to eat by the spoonfuls!

Our next stop was a larger farm where we milked goats, chased chickens, collected eggs, played marbles and are a delicious, farm-fresh meal. We also learned, or at least tried to learn, how to make the local large, thin bread favored here. The oven that you lay the dough on was a large round dome that allowed for the larger shape of the bread. The bread had a salty after-taste and the grain was a darker brownish hue. It was very hard to make the bread into a round circle as the woman of the house did and my bread ended up looking more like a thin breadstick that you find at a pastry shop rather than a larger circle of dough. After that, the woman of the house made us a delicious spread for lunch, including our just-picked eggs and fresh goat cheese. One of the local family members told me to take a chunk of the goat-milk butter with my bread and dunk it in the sugar. It was one of the most delicious desserts I have ever tasted. I have found here that they have simpler recipes and foods that are so enjoyable.

After finishing our meal, we hiked up a hill where we used a wood fire to make mint tea and a stew with lamb in a tomato base. It was a day full of eating and exploring the countryside of Jordan. It was interesting to be able to interact with and be accepted into the homes of so many different families.They were very willing to provide for us such a rich experience and share part of their livelihood with us. It makes me appreciate even more the food that I am able to buy here and the care with which it is prepared.