It’s famous for its Levant-inspired dishes, but a visit to Beit Sitti shows why Jordan and the Levant make for a great gourmet trip. Tucked in one of Amman’s heritage filled neighborhoods, Beit Sitti (My Grandmother’s House) is the first venue with a cookery teaching concept of its kind in the city, offering classes to high school graduates, university students, corporate clients and groups of people from all walks of life, teaching basic cooking methods.
We were a group of seven people preparing a lunch meal under the supervision of our designated chef for the day, Um Reem. The menu included a salad dish, maklouba (a main course dish consisting of chicken, rice and cauliflower) and kunafah (a traditional Jordanian/Palestinian sweet consisting of vermicelli, cheese and sugar syrup). The whole experience was fun, experimental and, for those of us with poor cooking skills, incredibly educational! We divided the tasks between us: the cutting of vegetables, the boiling of the chicken, the mixing of the salad ingredients, etc. Um Reem would give us instructions on the steps for the preparation and cooking of each of the dishes, before glancing around to supervise execution and offering a helping hand when necessary.
An hour and a half of fun later, the full meal was ready to be served in Beit Sitti’s old, vintage dining room. Followed by either Turkish coffee or a cup of hot tea, we were a bunch of very happy food enthusiasts, each bragging about their ‘flourishing’ skills in the kitchen.
Established in August 2010, Beit Sitti was the idea of three sisters, Maria, Dina and Tania in a bid to keep their grandmother’s memory going. The idea behind it is to keep her house open, as it always was when she was alive, by teaching guests the dishes that she used to teach them when they were young.
Today, Beit Sitti is a social business supporting local women by providing them with a way to teach locals, expats and tourists what they know best, homemade Arabic food. Even the spices at Beit Sitti we are sourced from local women who make them in different parts of the country each specialising in a certain spice blend.
The house offers breakfast, lunch and dinner cook-and-dine classes where guests come to cook and then enjoy the fruits of their labour. The morning session starts at 10am, lunch at noon and the dinner class at 6pm with the price for a private one-on-one course reaching around $140. Prices reduce according to how many people join the group – for five-plus people it’s $42 per person. MZ. beitsittijo.com