The Midde Eastvore/Jordanvore Challenge
Sitting on the apartment balcony late evening as the sun goes down across Amman, Jordan. The desert coloured buildings glow as the sun sets and the ‘Call to Prayer’ echoes across the valley from the mosque next door. Men hurry along the street to the Mosque for evening prayers, the smell of garlic flavoured cooking wafts in the air mingled with aromatic spiced coffee, and in the distance horns sounds from the crazy driving/traffic in the city. Grasping a mug of cardamom flavoured Arabic coffee, some flatbread and hummus and my evening is complete. After spending the days working in a refugee camp near the Syrian border, I am as ever thankful for the little things in life – and how frigging lucky we are to live in Australia.
Out of all of the countries and regions I travel to for work, the Middle East is definitely one of my favourite. The culture and street scenes, being able to wander aimlessly in the souks (markets), the novelty of having aisles of ‘scoop your own’ spices in the supermarket. Food is central to life here, fresh and delectable food, with spices and flavours that I try desperately to recreate at home. Mezze, fresh salads using crisp produce, falafel, hummus and spicy rice – the Middle East vegetarian diet is an absolute delight. And don’t get me started on the cheeses and yoghurt. Haloumi so squeaky your head aches, falafel and schwarma kebabs via some frantic sign language/charades from the Arabic only speaking man for lunch, tangy/sour yoghurt and traditional meat dishes from the Bedouin (desert). Toto we are not in Tasmania anymore, welcome to the tasty and enchanting Middle East.
Taking the Jordanvore Challenge is pretty darn enjoyable. Most restaurants and cafes deliver so you don’t have to deal with the traffic, and the Safeway Supermarket down the road has an amazing produce section with clearly labelled ‘Produce of Jordan’ fruits and vegies, overcrowding the random ‘Bananas from Ecuador’ in the shop. Trucks piled high with produce drive around the streets with recorded Arabic male voices spruiking at high volume in a jumbled blurred angry yell. If you miss the shops the produce comes to you. This is my type of place!
I may be eight hours behind Eastern Standard time in Tassie (and 30 hours in flights/transit) but I’ll still be starting the Challenge – just on a different timezone and slightly modified. By questioning the provenance of my food, buying local, experimenting with different foods and meeting the growers/sellers – and having some fun communicating across the language barriers
Wherever you are and whatever form you decide to do for the Challenge, Good luck! And most importantly, ENJOY! This is YOUR Challenge!
Next stop for this Tassievore, attempting the Israelvore Challenge and then the Turkeyvore Challenge on R&R breaks.
Note: Kym lives in Tasmania but works as an Emergency Nutrition Advisor for a number of organisations, so spends large amounts of time on deployment overseas.