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Oman Cuisine


The food is in Oman mainly Arabic, Lebanese and Indian. However, many Omanis make a distinction between "Arabic" food and "Omani" food, with the former being the description of the standard dishes found throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Omani food itself tends to be slightly spicier and served in quite large portions - whole fish are not uncommon at lunch in some local restaurants (sticking to local food, it is quite easy to eat a substantial meal for less than OMR 2).

In general, the Omani people are well known for their hospitality and offers of refreshment. To be invited into someone's home will mean coffee (kahwa), a strong, bitter drink flavoured with cardamom, and dates or halwa, a sticky sweet gelatinous substance which is made from brown sugar, eggs, honey and spices. It can be flavoured with many different ingredients, such as nuts, rosewater or even chocolate. Lokhemat is another accompaniment to coffee, which are balls of flour and yeast flavoured with cardamom and deep fried until golden then served with a sweet lime and cardamom syrup. The sweetness of this dish often counteracts the bitterness of the kahwa.

Main Dishes

Main course dishes are many ranging from Marak, a vegetable curry, to smoked kebabs,barbecued, grilled, curried meats, chicken and fish.

More substantial meals often have rice as the main ingredient, together with cooked meats. The main daily meal is usually eaten at midday, while the evening meal is lighter. Maqbous is a rice dish, tinged yellow with saffron and cooked over a spicy red or white meat. Aursia is a festival meal, served during celebrations, which consists of mashed rice flavoured with spices.

Another popular festival meal is shuwa, which is meat cooked very slowly (sometimes for up to two days) in an underground clay oven. The meat becomes extremely tender and it is impregnated with spices and herbs before cooking to give it a very distinct taste.

Fish is often used in main dishes too, and the kingfish is a popular ingredient. Shark meat is also quite common. Mashuai is a meal comprising whole spit-roasted kingfish served with lemon rice. The rukhal bread is a thin, round bread originally baked over a fire made from palm leaves. It is eaten at any meal, typically served with Omani honey for breakfast or crumbled over curry for dinner.

Eid al Fitr is celebrated at the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the month of fasting. In Dhofar and Wusta, the festivities commence with ruz al mudhroub, a dish of rice is served with fried fish and maqdeed (specially dried meat). In Muscat, Al Batinah, Dahira and the Sharqiya muqalab is included in the menu. This dish made of tripe and duck flavoured with ground and crushed spices. Other dishes include arisia, lamb cooked with rice and mishkak, chargrilled, skewered meats (kebabs).


A wide variety of soups can be found in the daily cuisine, made from lentils,vegetable, lamb or chicken. Omanis are also fond of salads made from fresh vegetables, smoked eggplant, tuna, dried fish and watercress.


Omani sweets are well-known throughout the region, with the most popular being halwa. This is a hot, semi-solid substance which behaves a little like honey and is eaten with a spoon. The taste is similar to Turkish Delight.





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