The influence of Arabic cuisine can be seen in many of the cuisines through North Africa and the Middle East as similar spices are used in all the foods. Arabic food tends to be rich in the food that is made available including a lot of dishes containing chicken, goat, chickpeas and flat breads. It is a very tasty cuising due to the use of herb and spices that are abundant in these regions. Furthermore natural ingredients such a locally sourced vegetables and oils are used in this cuisine.
Arabic cuisine takes its influences from the Middle East, Mediterranean and North African cuisines. The cuisine features mainly lamb and chicken as protein staples. It is rich in vegetables and beans such as the fava and the chickpea. While Arabic cuisine traditionally refers to the food of all Arab nations in modern terms it has become synonymous with Lebanese food. The cuisine is excellent for meat eaters and vegetarians alike, and it does not have flavours that are too strong or unfamilliar, thus is an easy cuisine to introduce to people who have never tried it before.
Dairy is prominent in the Arabic cuisine and is either watered down to make a refreshing beverage or thickened to make a tasty condiment such as labneh. Furthermore condiments such as hummus, baba ganoush and garlic paste are popular for dipping Arabic break into. The bread is usually a large or small flat bread that has been warmed. It is used to make the ever popular, tasty and cheap meals; manakeesh and shwarma. These condiments make up the very social way of sharing food and eating that is customary to the arabs. It is very seldom that meals will be served to each person, it is more common for food to be placed in the center of the table and for diners to help themselves. There is also not time that the meal is finished, per se. It is not an uncommon sight for diners to smoke shisha inbetween morsels. The meal can go long into the night especially if people are swapping stories and being friendly.
The manakeesh is to the Arabs what the kebab is to the English, a food that can satisfy the hunger on the go. It is very much the Arabic version of fast food. This meal resembles a toasted sandwich or a fold over pizza. It is an Arabic flatbread baked with cheese or meat or vegetables or zataar (the Arabic oregano) and folded over to make a tasty snack. It’s great for vegetarians and meat eaters alike and goes great with some Laban, a yoghurt drink.
Shawarmas (lamb or chicken carved from rotating spit, then rolled in flat bread with salad) are sold in small shops throughout Oman. If you don’t eat meat, you can try a vegetarian version of this delicious, inexpensive snack made with foul (a paste made from fava beans) or falafel (deep-fried balls of mashed chickpeas). Usually a shawarma is bursting with ingredients such as vegetables, garlic paste or hummus and some french fries thrown in for good measure.
Don’t miss out on trying the ultimate Arabic dessert – Umm Ali (similar to British bread and butter pudding) is made with milk, bread, nuts and raisins and it is delicious! Finish the meal off with some traditional tea, black or mint or some coffee flavoured with cardamom. Or for a refreshing end to a delighful meal opt for some cool watermelon or a fruit platter.