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  • Writer's pictureWadi Rum Desert Home

Exploring Bedouin Food: What to Eat in Wadi Rum

When you visit Wadi Rum Desert Home, you'll not only experience the natural beauty of the Jordanian desert, but also get a taste of the rich cultural heritage of the Bedouin people. Food in Wadi Rum is known for its simplicity, freshness, and unique flavor profiles, and has been passed down through generations. Here are six traditional Bedouin dishes that you simply must try during your visit:

1. Magloubeh

a dish of magloubeh, the palestinian food

A one-pot meal of rice, vegetables, and meat, magloubeh literally means "upside down" in Arabic, referring to the way it's served. The ingredients are layered in a pot and cooked together, then flipped over onto a platter for a stunning presentation. Magloubeh is often made with chicken but can be made vegetarian too. Aubergine, potatoe, cauliflower and a variety of herbs, nuts and spices are used to create a unique, deep flavour for the dish. Although it's the national dish of Palestine, magloubeh is popular across Jordan and the wider Arab world.

2. Kapse

a dish of kapse, the saudi national food

The national dish of Saudi Arabia - kapse is a staple in Wadi Rum and Bedouin communities across Jordan, given its simple ingredients. Kapse is another one-pot dish that is essentially rice and chicken, lamb or goat meat, flavored with a variety of herbs and spices, such as cumin, coriander, and mint. The dish is typically served with a side of yogurt or salad. It's our favourite food in Wadi Rum and we eat kapse almost every day!

3. Mansaf

a dish of mansaf, the jordanian national food

Considered the national dish of Jordan, mansaf is a hearty meal of rice, lamb, yogurt sauce (called jameed) served on top of very thin bread (sharak) and topped with coriander and nuts. Due to the long time needed to cook it, and the richness of the dish, mansaf is usually served during special occassions such as weddings, religious celebrations like Eid, and when guests visit. Like magloubeh and kapse, mansaf is traditionally served on a large communal platter and eaten by hand. You usually need a nap after eating, too!

4. Zarb

bedouin guides taking zarb, a slow-cooked dish, out of the ground

Zarb is a Bedouin method of cooking that involves burying a metal container filled with meat, vegetables, and rice in a pit lined with hot coals. The ingredients slowly cook in the heat, resulting in a tender, smoky flavor. Cooking zarb has become particularly famous recently, as the Bedouins prefer to serve this to guests in their tourist camps. It's an easy way to make a large amount of food that tastes great!

5. Gilayet Bandora

a bedouin guide making gilayet bandora, a bedouin dish

A simple yet delicious dish, you're most likely going to try gilayet bandora whilst out in the desert exploring. Our guides will cook tomatoes, onions, and green pepper together and serve the dish with bread and dips like humus, muttabal (baba ghanoush), and lebaneh (a yogurt dip).

6. Ful

ful, a dish made with beans and olive oil

Ful is a hearty breakfast dish made with fava beans, onions, and spices. The beans are simmered until they're tender, then mashed together with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic, and served with tomatoes, olive oil, and chopped parsley. Our guides usually make ful or gilayet bandora for lunch on the desert tours, so you'll get to try them then!

These are just a few examples of the most famous dishes you can experience during your stay in Wadi Rum. Our expert guides and cooks use locally sourced ingredients and traditional cooking techniques to bring these dishes to life. We hope you come to try them soon!

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