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Updated by Mike Hansen on Jul 27, 2016
Headline for Must try cuisines in Oman - A serving of spices
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Mike Hansen Mike Hansen
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Must try cuisines in Oman - A serving of spices

Oman, a land of many vibrant attractions ranging from majestic palaces & forts to stunning landscapes & natural wonders & not to mention its mouth-watering cuisine.

1

Kahwa with dates and halwa

Kahwa with dates and halwa

Kahwa – a coffee – is the staple and symbol of Omani hospitality, and is usually the starter of any meal. Cardamom flavoured kahwa is the most popular, and us usually accompanied by dates and halwa. The Middle East is popular for its dates, and Oman alone has over 250 varieties of indigenous dates. Among these, the most succulent are khalas, khunaizi and fargh. While the dates are succulent and ripe, halwa is a gelatinous sweet that is made from brown sugar, egg, honey and spices. It is rather sticky, and can be flavoured with additional ingredients like nuts, rose water and sometimes even chocolate. Served together with kahwa, dates and halwa balances the bitterness that is the traditional kahwa in an Omani meal.

2

Shuwa

Shuwa

This is a must-try dish when in Oman, and is considered the country's national dish. Only served during special occasions, you would be lucky to come across Oman restaurants that have this dish ready to go, as it is a highly complicated dish to prepare. Even in major hotel chains such as Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, where there are multiple restaurants, finding a dish of Shuwa is rarity. The preparation of the dish takes anywhere between 24 to 48 hours. A whole animal, usually a goat, is roasted in a special oven – usually, a pit dug underground – and then is flavoured with local herbs and spices. Preparation of Shuwa is an activity that is usually done by an entire village as a whole.

3

Mashuai

Mashuai

With a thriving fishing industry to sustain the dietary needs of the people, it is quite common for Omani families to consume fish or crustaceans every day, in every meal. Mashuai is a dish that is rather popular, and is made of roasted kingfish served with a hearty helping of carbohydrates in the form of lemon rice.

4

Maqboos

Maqboos

Rice is a staple among the Asians, who love their carbohydrates. Usually of a long-grain variety such as basmati, this popular rice dish it cooked over spicy red or white meat. The rice is distinct in its use of saffron as an additive and has a specific set of spices that are added to it to give a distinct flavour. The meat is marinated, impregnating it with numerous spices that titillate the taste buds. Cooking of the meat also can be of a variety of forms, ranging from slow cooking in a hole underground to frying atop a flat rock surface to the most modern rendition of cooking in a pressure cooker.

5

Lokhemat

Lokhemat

Little balls of flour and spices that explode in your mouth in a burst of sweet syrup are Lokhemat, another popular accompaniment to coffee. Flavoured with cardamom and deep-fried until golden-brown, these balls of flour are served with cardamom syrup. The rich sweetness of lokhemat creates a perfect balance with the bitterness of coffee, creating a heavenly pairing.