Before visiting Oman, I really had no idea what Omani food was – it’s a cuisine that can be rather difficult to find (unless you know an Omani friend) outside of Oman. But that makes Omani food truly exciting to taste and discover.
There are a few things that I’d like to first point out about Omani food that makes it what is:
- Trade – The Omani Sultanate was historically a very important empire in the Middle East stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to parts of India, and also to Zanzibar (awesome food in Zanzibar by the way), off the coast of Tanzania. Trade and fusion has been a part of the culture of Oman for centuries, and Omani food has been directly influenced by this. You’ll find spices from India and East Africa throughout Omani cuisine. There are even some Omani dishes that use coconut milk.
- Sea – When I think about Middle Eastern food, meat is typically what I think of, but in Oman, with its long coastline and fertile seas, fish and many types of seafood are a huge part of the local diet. Dried fish in particular, due to the abundance of fish and the abundance of sunshine in Oman, is a common ingredient..
- Middle Eastern Gulf Culture – And then finally, making use of the ingredients from Oman. One of the most distinguishable components to the local cuisine are Omani dried limes, which are present in many different dishes and really provide a source of amazing flavor (Omani dried lemons are considered the best int he world by the way). Another common ingredients in Omani food is ghee, animal oil.
Saveur magazine calls “Omani food too good to ignore,” and I have to agree with them. It’s an exquisite blend of flavors, paired with unique Omani and Gulf culture and style. Here’s another good article from NPR about Omani food.
That’s just a very brief introduction to Omani food and how it has developed and been influenced. Now let’s go over a few of the foods to eat and drink when you’re in Oman.