With influences from Indian, Persian, North African and Mediterranean cuisines, Omani food is a delicious fusion of spices, marinades and herbs. Chicken, lamb and rice are staples here, seasoned with ingredients like saffron, ginger and nutmeg, giving it flavour like no other! Due to its long coastline bordering the Arabian Sea, all kinds of seafood are consumed and shark is a delicacy!
1. MajboosAlso named Kabsa, this dish is rice mixed with saffron cooked with spicy red or white meat. Majboos translates to 'be engaged' in Oman and is almost always served at special occasions like weddings and engagements.
The two main ingredients that make the dish are saffron and cardamom. The meat is cooked first, with onion and garlic, while the other spices are added later. The rice is cooked separately and mixed with the meat, which turns it yellow and creamy.
2. ShuwaShuwa is a celebratory Omani dish that is only prepared on special occasions like Eid. During the festival, many families in Oman begin cooking their Shuwa on the first day and consume the dish on the second day.
3. MashuaiAnother delicious dish you will find in Oman is the mouth-watering Mashuai! It is a dish consisting of roasted kingfish and savoury lemon rice.
4. MushaltatA well-known delicacy in Oman is Mushaltat, which is soft flatbread stuffed with honey, meat, spinach or cheese. The bread is made out of refined wheat flour and kneaded into thin cakes, stuffed with ingredients and baked for about 5 minutes.
5. DatesDates are an Omani staple and are often served with Kahwa in Oman. Offering this dish is the national symbol of hospitality here. Omani dates come in all kinds, differing in taste, size and colour. They can be found almost anywhere in Oman.
6. ShawarmaShawarmas are popular sandwiches found in the streets of almost all Middle Eastern countries! This tasty sandwich consists of meat marinated with spices, wrapped in pita bread. Often consumed with fries or garlic paste, shawarmas are made freshly in the street stalls of Oman and eaten warm.
7. MishkakAnother popular street food in Oman is Mishkak, which is grilled pieces of marinated meat, normally chicken, mutton or beef on long wooden sticks. Served hot with tamarind chutney, you can choose whether you want to eat it off the stick or with fresh Arab bread.
8. HalwaHalwa is a sticky, sweet gelatinous snack, made from brown sugar, honey, eggs and various spices. It has a lot of flavours, such as rose water, nuts, chocolate, etc. Some halwas are also made from the Omani dates. It takes quite a while to make as it is slowly boiled over a wood fire. Halwas can last over four months without losing any of its quality! It is often accompanied with Kahwa as another sign of hospitality.
9. LabanLaban is a blend of yoghurt and buttermilk that is served everywhere in Oman. It is a salty drink with many varieties. The most popular forms of laban contain cardamom and pistachios.
10. KahwaKahwa is a very strong bitter coffee that is often served in tiny cups either with dates or halwa. Kahwa is made from freshly roasted ground coffee and flavoured with some cardamom.
11. Omani BreadOmani Bread or also referred to as Khubz Ragag in the vernacular language is a simple yet elegant bread made by Omani households. It is a delicious easy to prepare eatable with three simple ingredients such as flour, water and salt. These ingredients are kneaded either very sticky or wet like that of a pancake batter and cooked over a sizzling pan and served with cheese, mayonnaise or honey to those who prefer a more organic and healthy lifestyle along with a variant of cooked egg.
12. HareesHarees is a traditional Arabian food dating back to Armenian ages and documented in manuscripts inscribed in the tenth century. It is what we call a simple food covered behind a facade for behind the simplicity of its appearance; tastes reside which will give a new dimension of understanding to your taste buds. It is effortless to prepare and much tastier too given the simple ingredients needed to prepare it. Harees is a favourite dish across the Middle East especially during the Holy month of Ramadan. It’s preparation and choice of ingredients differ from each Arabian country. Harees is a combination of boiled, cracked or coarsely-ground wheat soaked in water combined with meat clarified butter and sheep tail fat which is left overnight. It looks more like porridge when served on the plate. It is seasoned with Arabian spices and when served cinnamon and sugar is inducted to give a refined taste and fragrance.
As you can see, Omani food has a little something for everyone! Halwas to satisfy your sweet tooth and savoury dishes like the mishkak for all the spice lovers. Indulge on all 10 for a delicious and scrumptious holiday!