For those of you unfamiliar with traditional Jordanian food dishes, let me introduce you to Mansaf.

It is Jordan's national food, or something like that. And if you have lived in Jordan and not eaten mansaf, you are either very lucky or just haven't eaten at any Jordanian's house.

Or both.

Needless to say, I don't really enjoy mansaf. The actual "food" part of it is not so bad--it is rice and some sort of nuts sprinkled on on top of a big bread/tortilla type thing, with pieces of lamb on top (sometimes chicken, but "real" mansaf always has lamb. If you are lucky, there aren't any pieces of lamb hair still stuck to the bones and meat. If you aren't...well, does it make you feel better that I have been there, too?).

The worst part of the mansaf (and, according to Jordanians, what makes mansaf) is the "yogurt/lebene" sauce they drench the thing in. I don't really know how to describe what it tastes like. The actual taste is not so bad, except the first time I ate mansaf, I stuck the first yogurt sauce-covered bite in my mouth and my tastebuds started screaming and shrank back from this vile liquid that I had just subjected them to. Something about the curdled lebene in the sauce makes my tastebuds shrink back in despair and my throat close off, begging me not to swallow the thing.

I have eaten mansaf a lot here. Fun, eh?
This is a picture of the yogurt sauce the pour on the mansaf.
And this is my friend Lorien. Mansaf is eaten from a communal dish and it is eaten with ones' hands (although we have come to find out that many Jordanian women don't eat it with their hands--"we don't know how," they explain to us). Lorien is a pro at making "mansaf balls," which are then eaten. I am not so good at it, as you might be able to tell from my hand and the awkward mush therein, which is also in the picture.

Lorien doesn't like mansaf either. Maybe it is an acquired taste?


The Paradox said...

Hmmm...it doesn't look so bad, but after reading the word "curdled" it wasn't so appetizing anymore...

ruby said...

u have to be more respectful . u are speaking about a traditionnal food which represents a whole culture and a history of the generosity and hospitality of jordanians !!! can u remind me of some sort of food cooked in your country which has got a taste ?
u just boil and serve !!

Muhammad said...

yea u have to be more respectful ..
I'm Jordanian and this is our culture
i don't know really how u talk in this way about other people ..!! and ur job is "Missionary"


breanne said...

I hope I didn't offend anyone with this post! I ate a lot of things in Taiwan that I thought were disgusting, too. I know a lot of Jordanians like mansaf, but there are also Jordanians who don't like it. And I don't like a lot of American food, too. Just my opinion.

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