The foods eaten by the people of Oman

Omani cuisine is rich and diverse, with influences from Indian, Persian, and East African culinary traditions. Over the last 500 years, the food culture in Oman has been shaped by its role as a maritime trading hub, its diverse geography including deserts, mountains, and coastlines, and its rich mix of ethnic and cultural influences. Below is a brief overview:

Staple Foods

  1. Rice: Often flavored with saffron or turmeric, and sometimes served with meat and vegetables.
  2. Bread: Various types, including khubz, a flatbread.
  3. Dates: Consumed widely, sometimes as a paste or syrup.


  1. Fish: Given Oman's extensive coastline, fish like tuna, mackerel, and sardines are staples.
  2. Meat: Chicken, lamb, and goat are commonly consumed. Pork is generally not available due to Islamic dietary laws.
  3. Shuwa: A special dish usually prepared for festive occasions where lamb or goat is marinated, wrapped in banana leaves, and slow-cooked in an underground sand oven.

Vegetables and Fruits

  1. Tomatoes, Onions, and Peppers: Often used in stews and other dishes.
  2. Limes and Lemons: Preserved limes are a characteristic flavor in many dishes.
  3. Mango and Coconut: Influenced by East African and Indian trade.

Legumes and Pulses

  1. Lentils and Chickpeas: Used in various dishes, sometimes as a puree or as whole legumes.

Spices and Seasonings

  1. Saffron, Cardamom, and Turmeric: Commonly used to flavor dishes.
  2. Rosewater: Often used in sweets and beverages.
  3. Baharat: A spice mix that can include black lime, cumin, and coriander among other spices.

Traditional Dishes

  1. Majboos/Makbous: A spiced rice dish often served with meat or fish.
  2. Mashuai: A dish consisting of spiced rice and kingfish.
  3. Halwa: A gelatinous sweet made from rosewater, saffron, and various nuts.

Sweets and Desserts

  1. Halwa: A jelly-like dessert flavored with saffron, cardamom, and rosewater.
  2. Kahwa: Traditional Omani coffee flavored with cardamom, often served with dates.


  1. Kahwa: Spiced, strong coffee.
  2. Jallab: A drink made from dates, grape molasses, and rosewater.
  3. Tea: Often spiced with mint or cardamom.

Foreign Influences and Modern Foods

  1. Indian Influence: Biryani, curry, and other Indian flavors are evident.
  2. East African Influence: Coconut and certain types of bread show this influence.
  3. Modern Foods: Western fast food is available, particularly in urban areas.

The culinary traditions of Oman are deeply rooted in its history, geography, and cultural exchanges over the centuries. It offers a rich palette of flavors, influenced by a variety of spices and herbs, making it a unique blend of several culinary traditions.

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