You might think that eating fish in Jordan isn’t a very popular option, but lovers of seafood delicacies also have the opportunity to indulge in a local one: sayadieh. In this post we tell you what this traditional dish consists of, which you can taste if you travel to this country, especially to one of its tourist destinations.
What You Need to Know About Sayadieh
Sayadieh is pretty much the only fish dish that can be considered traditional in Jordan. Actually, its origins are in the nearby country of Lebanon, where this way of preparing the delicacies caught by its fishermen on the coast became popular. And it reached Jordan, where the fishing industry is relatively modest due to the country’s little more than 25 km of coastline in the south: Aqaba, bathed by the Red Sea.
Sayadieh is often translated as ‘catch’, in reference to the fish of its waters. And in fact, the main ingredient of this dish is quite free: it is not a specific species of fish, but usually works with practically any white fish in the area. In this sense, fish such as sea bream can be caught on the shores of the Red Sea, but any other similar fish can be used.
How to prepare sayadieh
As curious as it may seem, what makes sayadieh truly different is not the fish itself, but the rest of the ingredients and their method of preparation. Actually, the fish of the sayadieh can be cooked on the grill or in the oven, better if it has been previously marinated with a paste that can contain different types of pepper, cumin, cinnamon, cardamom, olive oil, lemon juice and salt).
On the other hand, the sauce has to be prepared, which is what gives the intense flavor and juicy taste to the sayadieh. It is made with sautéed onions, fish broth and a wide variety of spices, including the above and others that each cook can provide, such as sweet paprika. A pinch of ground cornstarch and lemon juice will add the characteristic creaminess and acidity of the sauce.
Finally, sayadieh is also accompanied by rice, as is customary in Jordanian cuisine, flavored with spices and in some cases, with a spicy touch to taste, as well as onion (sautéed, caramelized or crunchy, as the case may be).
For presentation, a base or bed of rice is usually arranged and, on top of it, the piece of fish of the sayadieh, either whole or in pieces. And all this is washed down by the sauce made and mentioned above.
Where to eat sayadieh in Jordan
As you can imagine, sayadieh is a dish from the south of the country, which is the area most influenced by the Red Sea. Therefore, if you want to try this delicacy, we recommend you travel to Aqaba , where you will not only easily find this dish, but also a wide variety of versions, depending on the restaurant.
In the rest of the country, on the other hand, you will have more difficulty finding it, although the capital Amman , being the largest city in Jordan and a meeting point for all Jordanians, you may also find it on the menu of some restaurants. Similarly, in the Dead Sea resorts (where, by the way, there is no marine life, as the name suggests), this type of fish may also be offered on their menus.
So if gastronomy is one of the attractions of your trip and you want to discover what the experience of eating fish in Jordan is like, ask the staff of our agency for advice to taste a delicious sayadieh in a quality restaurant that offers it.