On the Tourist Trail: Beit Sitti

We no longer have internet at home as we have apparently blown our way through 200gb in 3 weeks. The internet company told us the charge for internet per gig over our plan is 8 JD. To put that into perspective, we currently pay 38 JD per month for 200gb. Naturally, we refused.

So it is nearly two weeks later that I write about our experience taking a cooking class at Beit Sitti, something my flatmate and I had wanted to do for a little while. My flatmate’s friend from Germany offered us the opportunity as his way of saying “thank you” for letting him crash in our living room for a few days. It was very generous of him and I am very grateful.

First things first, the setting. Beit Sitti is beautiful. You really feel as though you are gathered around someone’s own kitchen counter, learning to cook in the privacy of their home. Their dining table arranged for those doing the class is big enough to accommodate 8 to 10 people comfortably, but small enough to still feel homey and comfortable.

I arrived a little late, staggering under a folder of exams and exhausted from the World Scholar’s Cup. They had already begun cooking, but I arrived in time to work on the mtabbal and see their recipe for tahini (which includes yoghurt!). I wish there were a way for us to grill eggplant on an open flame on our stove without making an enormous mess because there’s no denying that the flavour of charred eggplant is unparalleled!

After a little work turning the eggplant to mush, and showing us the basics for the making of dessert (though they had already made the custard, seasoned with rose water), we sat down to eat. As I said, I arrived late so the makhlube was a surprise to me. It was tasty enough, though perhaps mine lacked a little flavour because it was vegetarian. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to join in on making it, but one of the attendees told me he was a little frustrated by the fact that much of the preparation had in fact been done beforehand.

All in all, it was an extremely pleasant experience. I think we all had a lovely time both cooking as a group and sitting down for the meal. Although it is very much on the tourist-map of Amman, it’s a pleasant experience I would recommend to any traveller. It’s a pleasant, low-key experience that doesn’t involve hordes of tourists and does not feel like a tourist trap. In fact, it feels like a very genuine, homey cooking lesson (they send you the recipes after as well!) that provides you with the tools to go home and impress your friends with some lesser known Jordanian dishes!

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