sha·war·ma·nom·ics n.

1. Study of socioeconomic impact as relative to a rise in shawarma prices.

Without a doubt the best measurement of inflation doesn’t include how expensive a box of Corn Flakes is or microwavable popcorn, but staple goods such as bread, sugar, rice and tomatoes. Outside the household, in the open market of the food industry it is also safe to assume a better indication of inflation is not in how expensive your Starbucks cafe latte is or McValue meal. In Jordan it’s shawarma, humous, foul and of course falafal. These foods are the staples of fast food in Jordan. Or should I say: good food done fast?


A 60 piaster shawarma? Are you nuts?! Are you kidding me?! Don’t they know these fast food staples are consumed by wealthy and poor alike in Jordan? Do I really have to go to the east side of the city to find inexpensive falafal? 25 piasters for a sandwich? Whatever happened to 15 piasters? 25 used to be the jumbo, you could feed an elephant falafal with that baby. Really, 60 piaster shawarma?! That’s crack prices!

Are they just jacking up the tag on these specific commodities because the consumption for them has gone through the roof in the past three years with so many Iraqis and Gulf nationals in the city?

No I will not pay 1.5 JDs from Day3a just because your shawarma is really good! Who do you think you are?!

Ok-ok, I will pay it. But I won’t do it often! So…you know…in your face!

And shawarma aside, I can understand that Lebanon has no tomatoes right now and we’re shipping all the good stuff over there. But does that mean that every tomato in the country has to be green and sold for a staggering 70 piasters? I understand the dynamics of agricultural trade often means the nationals get the leftovers, but do they really have to look like leftovers? I mean really?

So this is an ode to a simpler time when shawarma sandwiches where only 30 piasters, falafal sandwiches only 15 and a plate of humous did not cost half a JD. Surely my children will hear my pitiful laments that will color my elder years.

I will make sure they do.



  • I’m used to paying $4 for a shawerma that could probably fill up a goldfish’s stomach and $3.50 for a falafel sandwich so bad, that you can use the falafel as baseballs. Hummus for $8 /lb and not even close to what they have in Jordan or what you can get premade in a can…of course I make my own. But to the majority here, it’s still considered exotic and of course the market drives these prices.

  • well, in the past, I used to hear people everyday saying this: “I wonder how poor people live in this country, or, “how do government employees, like schoolteachers,, for example make ends meet?”
    I looked at people pittying themsleves sometimes and wondering how others are faring…
    Recently, everyone in Jordan is looking at everyone…

  • what’s with tomatoes these days… My mom talks about how tomato prices are going high. My brother (as he gets tomato stocks) is complaining about it. Lol shawerma 30 piasters…. I remember!

  • shawrma reem at jabal amman is selling a shawarma sandwich for 75 and that alot…true all prices went up the past years but the shawara n flafel sandwiches beats the record

  • Ya Naseem,
    You sounds MUCH MUCH MORE relaxed in your recent posts from Jordan. Ya akhi, one’s country adds a sense of magic to the soul.

    I really enjoyed reading this. Belated Eid Mubarak.

  • Wallah shahetnee ya Nas, shawerma al-Day3ah, yum! I can totally relate to Luai; a lame shawerma here costs $6! Can you FedEx me some? 🙂

  • Ola: what’s a fat tax?

    Luai & Moi: Well I know exactly what you’re talking about, I lived 5 years with it. Especially the can of humous and especially the dry falafal. But of course it’s not just the taste, I’m looking at prices compared to income. 6 dollars is nothing for someone who makes 30k a year. 75 piaster shawarma is a lot for someone who makes say 200 or 300jds a month.

    Hamede: damn right.

    Oula: I suppose the only way to feel better about one’s situation is to look at someone whose situation is worse and in Jordan you don’t have to look very far to find an example.

    Yazan: math is no longer a prerequisite on my blog. rejoice!

    Lubna: yeah my father talks about tomatoes nonstop. But then again my parents are retired and have an unhealthy obsession in veggienomics. They complain about the status quo now but if you asked them they’d say they haven’t had a decent tomato since 1996.

    manal: 75 piasters…and you need at least a jd of gas just to get to shawarma reem.

    Muhammad: thanks bro but this only temporary until I become stressed out and turn in to a raving loon. happy belated eid to you too.

  • waaa2 :(( at least you guys get to eat shawerma! In AR where I am right now, they don’t sell shwerma at all! And to tell you the truth, I will pay as much as it takes for a shawarma that would’nt fill up a goldfish’s stomach 😛 In that case i will buy 10 or I miss shawerma alot 🙁

  • no, actually what I meant by my comment is that everyone is doing exactly what u r saying, trying to look at others to feel better about themselves and with the current economic situation, everyone is looking at everyone because most people seem to be feeling the pressure on their pockets… the problem is that u still go the mall and watch people doing obscene shopping! those shawerma places u talk about see demand exceeding supply, do u expect them to keep their prices “low” or reasonable when they can cash in the surge in consumer spending? this is what happens when the economy limps and creates a divide that makes some suffer and some enjoy “cash blessings”!

  • secratea: my sister once smuggled frozen shawarma for me on an airplane all the way to canada, so i know what you’re talking about 😀

    Oula: oh yeah, that’s true. everyone looks at the next step down.

    and yeah i expect them to cash in on it, but i’ve noticed it’s not like it used to be with rich and poor eating alike. its just one class now. you also have to look at who is doing the consuming, where are they from, etc etc.

    so yeah i expect them to raise prices from an economic point of view…but they should expect people like me to constantly bitch about it 😀

  • It’s the oil prices Nas, once they’re up, everything touches the sky. And the great blessings of the free market, if some can pay, hell with the others who can’t!

    p.s. If you happen to eat Shawerma from Karam, you might’ve noticed that only one week ago they raised there prices on everything of about 20 piasters on each ‘item’.

  • well, there is no “better” method to measure inflation, its become larger than life, u cant miss it really! (and it applies everywhere not only jordan)

    oh and Yaz, hey cuz lol 😀

  • A fat tax is a tax that was enforced (or suggested) in Europe to help peopel reduce their consumption of fatty food. The more fat your meal contains, the more you have to pay

  • I’m interested in finding a gyro/shawarma machine company that will ship to the US. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  • Oh I remember the good times when it cost 25 and 30 piasters … Now it is 60! What is happening to the world?

    You did not see the ban of Shawarma Jaj coming 😛

  • I need to move to Jordan. That’s all there is to it. I don’t care if y’all are out of water. $2US for a shawarma sandwich? That’s nothing! Here in Washington it’s $5 for terrible food court shawarma and $7-9 at the high-end Lebanese/Mediterranean restaurants.

Your Two Piasters: