Friday, July 10, 2009

Mensef: The Full Experience

I know I already did a blog entry on mensef but this time I had the 'real deal' so I thought I would share this experience as well. It was fun, it was filling, it was messy.

My roommates, some friends and I were invited to go to Alis family's house in Irbid for some mensef, or should I say, a lot of mensef. Traditionally, the men all gather around a big plate of the mensef and dig in with their hands. More often the women sit separately and eat with forks. Those who know me won't be surprised that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to eat with my hands so I chose to eat on the floor with the guys and dig in. I was given proper mensef eating instructions, which consists of rolling the rice and meat into a ball in your hand and then using your thumb to scoop the food into your mouth. I had mastered the thumb manouver in India but had never tried to roll rice and meat into a ball so this was an entirely new challenge. The first couple times was challenging but after a bit, I got the hang of it. I think for a first timer my mensef ball rolling skills were pretty good.

Shortly after we dug in, Muaz said, I know you might think this is gross, but to honor guests, we put good pieces of meat in front of them to eat. Soon, I had pieces of meat being tossed in front of me from all directions and I felt pretty loved.

I was still picking away at the food after all but one of the guys had stopped eating, probably because it took me longer to eat properly and I was taking smaller portions. Suddenly, Andy said, 'you know Ali (the host) can't stop eating until you stop eating'. soon I got up to wash my hands and Ali followed, probably relieved that he didn't have to keep eating to the point of being uncomfortable. I look forward to my next mensef experience not only because it's good food, but because it's so fun!


  1. You'll have to get the recipe and make it for us when you get home!


  2. Deal, but only if you promise to eat it with your hands!

  3. Oh I would pay to see your mom share this eating experience with you .... LOLOL! Just kidding LORI! It's just a visual that I find amusing. Something about rolling your food up into a ball and popping it into your mouth does nothing for my appetite. But I guess its no different than chowing down on a rack of ribs with your hands....!

  4. Aren't the best foods usually messy? I thought that was almost a prerequisite.