Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

Food for thought at Hikayat Sitti

7 Dec 2017
Eliaz Khzouz
Hikayet Sitti is a unique restaurant in Madaba that offers traditional cuisine coupled with the famed Jordanian hospitality. The idea to open a restaurant began in the home of Feryal Karadsheh and Eliaz Khzouz in 2014.  After hosting several groups, the couple decided it would be a good idea to expand their business. They opened Food Basket, also known as Hikayat Sitti in Mrs. Karadsheh’s grandparent’s house that has the architecture and comfort of a traditional-style home in Madaba, but now with restaurant seating to accommodate groups of visitors.
According to Mr. Khzouz, “Hikayat Sitti is special because of the quality and authenticity of the local food we serve.” He added, “Unlike other restaurants, my wife and our employees sit down with the guests to explain the ingredients of the dishes they will eat along with the history and traditions surrounding them.” 
With USAID BEST support, Hikayat Sitti’s employees received training in safe-food handling and customer communications to offer the best quality service. It was also able to upgrade its furniture and kitchen appliances and is now working with USAID to further develop its digital marketing efforts to attract more visitors
Hikayat Sitti receives visitors from around the world, and has recently hosted people from China, France, Germany, Italy, UK, US and Russia. With support from USAID BEST, Hikayat Sitti will offer a range of cultural activities including cooking informational sessions, hosting local guests to introduce traditions such as storytelling, henna and calligraphy, walking and cycling tours around Madaba and more. 
Reflecting on their future plans for the restaurant Mr. Khzouz said, “We hope to not only appeal to tourists, but to locals and expatriates to attract customers all year long. We are looking specifically toattract visitors who are interested in enjoying authentic food and cultural experiences.”
“Hikayet Sitti is a place full of warmth and welcoming smiles,” said Mr. Khzouz, “The people here are happy to serve and share the background of the food and Madaba with our customers.”