Friday, July 20:  Ailsa of Where’s my backpack? has challenged us with another travel theme: food.  Here’s my sample of food from Oman.

I visited my friend Adil in Al Awabi in December, and his family promptly had me sit on the carpet in a kind of common room (there was no furniture so I had no idea what room it REALLY was) and they brought some snacks of dates and fruit and unusual beans that I’ve never tasted before. It was delicious and I thought it was lunch so I ate and ate.  The next thing I knew they brought out a huge dish of rice and chicken and vegetables, which Adil told me they eat with their fingers, although he kindly gave me a fork and knife.  By this time I was no longer hungry, as I stuffed myself with the “snacks!”

Omani starter

All food was served from one large tray on the carpet.  Rather than using forks or spoons, Omanis dine without utensils; they scoop up food with their thumb and two fingers. In and around the Arab world, the left hand is considered unclean. Even if you are left-handed, you should eat only with your right hand.

the communal tray of rice and chicken and fries with a salad on the side

Because I was a foreigner, they served my food on a separate tray and gave me utensils to eat with, although I would have been happy to eat off the communal plate.  Also, in this case, I ate only with the women and children, as this was a very traditional family.

my own special tray of Omani lunch

Here’s my original post about my visit with Adil’s family: nakhal fort, lunch with an omani family & a wild drive up wadi mistal.