Located on the Tourist Street near the gate into Petra, the Petra Kitchen is a fine local initiative. This is not a true restaurant; rather, it is a way for a small number of visitors to get hands-on experience of Jordanian culture by working with a team of locals (both men and women) to prepare ingredients, cook an evening meal and then eat together.
After a menu briefing, you’re let loose to chop, mix and assemble under guidance a range of salads, soup, hot and cold mezze (starters), a main course such as mansaf or maqlouba, and bedouin coffee and tea – the idea being that you learn new culinary techniques, handle possibly unfamiliar products and break the social ice at the same time. The ingredients are all locally sourced; the tableware comes from the women’s ceramics workshop at Iraq al-Amir near Amman; and the aprons, tablecloths and napkins are all hand-embroidered by women working with the Jordan River Foundation.
The evening starts at 7.30pm (winter 6.30pm), running for three hours, and takes place when demand is sufficient – generally every night in high season. It costs JD35 per person, excluding wine (which is available). To take part you must book in advance (t 03 215 5900, w petrakitchen.com). They can also extend the concept to run as a five-day culinary course.