Oman is an Arab country in the Middle East, located on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is home to a richly diverse culture and a unique cuisine.
The cuisine of Oman reflects its history as a hub for trade between East and West, drawing influences from all sides. The most famous food in Oman is machboos, a rice dish that combines spices and other ingredients to create a flavorful and aromatic meal.
Machboos, which translates to ‘cooked’ in Arabic, is the national dish of Oman. It is typically made with Basmati or long-grain rice, cooked in a seasoned broth with spices such as cardamom, cloves, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric.
Often times it will also include meat or seafood such as chicken or shrimp. The final touch is usually added after the cooking process: a drizzle of lime juice or chopped fresh herbs.
Machboos can be served as an entree or side dish. It pairs well with salads, curries and other accompaniments such as hummus or baba ghanoush. Machboos can also be used as a base for other dishes such as kabsa (a spicy rice dish), maqluba (an upside-down layered rice dish) and muhammar (sweetened red rice).
Other Popular Dishes
In addition to machboos, there are many other popular dishes that are staples of Omani cuisine. Muqalab is an egg-based dish made with vegetables and served with flatbreads; sakhana is an oatmeal porridge flavoured with dates; shuwa is slow-cooked meat served on special occasions; and halwa is a dense sweet dessert made from cornstarch.
Ingredients & Eating Habits
The ingredients used in traditional dishes vary depending on region but generally include dates and nuts for sweetness; herbs like parsley and cilantro for flavor; and cardamom, cloves and cinnamon for aroma. Dairy products are widely consumed throughout the country while seafood like fish and shellfish are staples along the coast.
When dining out in Oman, it’s important to remember that meals are typically eaten communally using the right hand rather than utensils. This practice helps bring people together over shared meals while also fostering good hygiene.
Overall, Oman has a rich culinary tradition that draws from diverse influences across the world. Machboos is by far the most famous dish in this region – but there are plenty of other delicious options to explore!