With a collection of diverse, multicultural cities, Oman is the perfect destination for any foodie. From cheap and cheerful local cafes to high-end restaurants serving international and regional dishes, you won’t struggle to find somewhere to eat in Oman. There are plenty of fast food joints serving burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, pizza and other simple meals. But if you want to experience authentic Omani cuisine and get the most out of your trip, keep reading to discover some of the best places and dishes that only locals know about.
There is a lively cafe culture in Muscat, which you can experience by trying a few of the best-known cafes. You’ll find cafes serving all types of food, including Indian, Italian, Moroccan, Turkish and Chinese. Omani cafes come with a range of both sweet and savoury snacks, and fresh drinks like tea, coffee, and hot, Omani dates juice. Al-Khuwair Café is a great option if you’re after a traditional Omani experience. Here you can try Omani favourites like Musabaj, a dish made up of dates, milk and ghee, and beida, a traditional Omani pancake filled with ghee, sugar and date syrup. Al-Nahda Café is a great option for an authentic Omani breakfast. Try the traditional Omani coffee and Omani dates, which are served with milk.
Shark fin soup is a popular Chinese and Chinese-Omani dish served in Chinese restaurants in Oman. The soup is made from shark fins and other ingredients like dried scallops, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and a mix of Chinese herbs and spices. The fins are a delicacy in China, and are often served in a hot, Chinese-Omani soup. The dish is often served as an appetizer, with mini bowls of rice. It may sound a bit strange, but shark fin soup is a very delicious and hearty soup that is perfect for a cold day. Note - Shark fin soup is a controversial dish. Many countries have banned its sale due to unsustainable shark fishing practices and the fact that the fins often come from endangered shark species. If you want to try this dish and support sustainable shark fishing, it is best to ask your host or restaurant if the fins are sustainably sourced.
Breakfast is often included as a free, or cheap, meal in Omani hotels, so you can try Omani breakfast with ease. Breakfast may be a combination of Arabic and Asian dishes and is normally served with Arabic coffee, fresh dates and Omani bread. A normal Omani breakfast will almost always include Omani bread. This bread is similar to naan, but is slightly softer and has a different flavour and texture. Omani dates are a type of date that is grown in Oman and is often served as part of Omani breakfast. They are usually served with built-in tongs so you don’t burn your fingers while picking them up. A normal Omani breakfast may also include shawarma or eggs, which are served on Omani bread with a side of honey.
Hummus is a popular Middle Eastern dish made from mashed chickpeas, tahini and lemon juice. You can find all sorts of variations of hummus all over the world, but Omani hummus is a bit different from the rest. Omani hummus is normally served with a piece of bread and a few olives. It is slightly different from the other types of hummus, and is served with a dash of oil and some salt and pepper. If you go to a restaurant, you’re likely to find a few variations on the hummus theme. Dabab is a somewhat similar dish to hummus. It is made from tahini and mashed chickpeas and often comes with a side of pita bread.
Kolbeh is a dish that is both sweet and savoury. It is made from a dough-like pastry, filled with either ground beef or chicken and decorated with spices, nuts, sugar and other ingredients like saffron. While you can find kolbeh in restaurants, it is more often eaten as a home meal. It is most often eaten during Ramadan, but can be found all year round in Oman. Kubbeh is another dish similar to kolbeh. It is made from mashed potatoes or a mixture of potatoes and rice, shaped into balls and baked. Kubbeh is normally filled with a mix of minced meat and spices, but can also come with a variety of other fillings like cheese, feta or spinach.
Biryani is a dish that is eaten across Asia and the Middle East, and is often made with chicken, lamb or vegetables. It is a spiced rice dish that is often served with a side of yoghurt or raita. Biryani is often made in a big pot, so each serving comes from a smaller portion that has been taken from the pot. Biryani is often a staple dish in Indian and Omani restaurants. You can find a traditional biryani that includes vegetables or a royal Omani chicken biryani, which is spicier than the normal biryani. Biryani is often served with a side of raita, which is yoghurt mixed with cucumber and spices.
Maz Aruh is a famous bakery in Muscat. Inside, you’ll find everything from Omani sweets, such as jameed and luqmat el qadi, to savoury buns and pastries. A visit to Maz Aruh is a great way to try Omani pastries. You can choose from a wide selection of buns and pastries with a variety of fillings, including dates, nuts, honey, almonds, coconut and raisins. They are served warm and are a great snack, or meal, to eat in between sightseeing. Maz Aruh also has a few sweet treats. Luqmat el qadi is a type of Omani sweet made from dates, milk, ghee and spices. If you are visiting during Ramadan (and you are a Muslim), you can try jameed. This traditional Omani sweet is made from goat's milk and is often eaten during Ramadan.
Wraps are popular in Oman, and you’ll find places serving shawarma, falafel and other wraps. You can get these filled with a variety of ingredients, such as chicken, beef and vegetables, as well as different sauces. A lot of places will offer you the option to make your own wrap, so if you are vegetarian, you should be able to find something suitable. If you like the idea of a wrap but are craving something slightly different, you can try Omani pizza. It is often served with a variety of toppings, so you can try a few different types.
If you love food, you’ll love Oman. The country is a great place to try new and exotic dishes, from fiery Indian curries to Malaysian satay. There are plenty of restaurants serving western, Indian, Chinese and Middle Eastern food, as well as cafes serving wraps and sandwiches. You can find plenty of reasonably priced places to eat in Oman, so you won’t have to break the bank to experience authentic Omani cuisine.