Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gluten Free Eating in Jordan

Eating Gluten Free in Jordan was surprisingly easy.  The only thing you really miss are the pita breads (and boy did they look delicious!)

Here's a run-down of how to keep your tummy full and the wheat far far away.  The easiest thing was having Mike, who lived there while we visited, to write down "no-wheat" in Arabic and show it to restaurants.  Surprisingly, I didn't show it to one waiter!

Reem Shawarma.  Totally local, totally yummy shawarma.  I didn't eat the pita that it was served in, but the meat itself is still delicious!  Check out the huge log of shawarma!  It was even reviewed in the New York Times.

Raw Almonds.  Have you ever eaten a raw almond? Did you know they look like this:

Habibah Knafay.  Kanafay is melted cheese, sugar and oil on wheat cake. It sounds disgusting, but it's actually quite good. I did break my gluten-free diet for one teeny bite of this local dessert.  No bad after-effects!!  Dessert before Dinner - always a good option.

Hashim's Falafel.  The falafel maker was so speedy! Watch this video of him making the delicious little balls of mashed chick peas and spices.

Jerusalem (Al Quids) Restaurant.  We went here for the local dish called Mansaf. It's basically a bed of rice with either marinated chicken or lamb on top. It's served with a white yogurt sauce and of course flat bread. You'll have to avoid the flat bread, but everything else is gluten-free-friendly!

Biggly Wiggly honestly has the best falafel in town. Yes, it's located in the gas station. and Yes, you should definitely eat there. All 5 of us feasted for $3.

Zad El Khair Iraqi Restaurant.  Check out the menu. Fried birds? So Mike and Elisa tried some. Not me, no thank you!  They said the birds were crunchy like you could chomp your teeth on the bones.  We did also actually get normal food.  Fantastic. Lots of curry and rice dishes in Iraqi style cooking.  Another NYT Recommended joint.

Not many remarkable places to mention in Petra, or at Kerak Castle where we skipped lunch and I was a grumpy bear.

Wadi Rum had some amazing eats! We stayed at the Jordan Tracks campsite and the chef was amazing!!! Spectacular buffet of many Arabic Foods. The BBQ chicken was aaaaaammmmmaaaaazing. The best we ate during our entire trip!

Hayat Zaman. A new restaurant in Aqaba with huge portions. Someone needs to help them with the English on their menu.  Lamp Brains? Anyone?

Wesalak. A famous ice cream joint. Supposedly their ice cream is 'strangely elastic' says Rough Guide Jordan 2010.  And yes, as you can see from this picture, it's definitely elastic.

We went there a second night. Language Barrier picture below. I asked for "ice cream with hot fudge." I got ice cream (with chocolate syrup by chance) and a hot chocolate.  Awesome!

Back in Jordan for our last night: Mike says, "look for the blow up chicken! That's where we are eating!" and so... here's the blow up chicken at Yemeni Restaurant.  The food was delicious - and extraordinarly cheap! I think it was 10 or 12 Dinars (maybe 15 bucks) for all four of us to be stuffed full!

But there was still room for Gerard's Ice Cream.  A go-to spot for ex-pats in Jordan. You can even see from Angie and Brad's last trip to Jordan that even the big-dawgs make it there!

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