Culinary Delights: What to Eat in Salalah, Oman

Culinary Delights: What to Eat in Salalah, Oman

Salalah, located in the south-west of Oman, is not only a city of immense natural beauty, but also of rich culinary culture. Salalah is a paradise for gastronomic enthusiasts who want to discover the authentic flavours of the Arabian peninsula. Traditional Omani flavours, combined with the skilful use of local spices, fresh seafood and exotic fruits, colour Salalah’s culinary scene. This city stands out for its originality and diversity in its food culture. From the coffee houses on the streets of Salalah to the old markets, every corner carries the aroma of a sweet blend of spices and authentic flavours.


Zürbian is a traditional speciality of Salalah cuisine. This dish is usually prepared with lamb, rice, spices and locally grown vegetables. The dish undergoes a long cooking process and is cooked slowly over low heat, allowing the flavours of the ingredients to blend well. One of the hallmarks of the dish is its characteristic spice mix. Spices such as cumin, black pepper and turmeric give Zürbian a rich and deep flavour profile. Before serving, roasted onions or peanuts are added, which complement the flavour of the dish.


Mandi is another flavour that stands out in Salalah cuisine. This dish of Middle Eastern origin is prepared using lamb and is made with a cooking method called “tandoor”, a special grain stone oven. Lamb meat is combined with spices and then cooked for a long time in the tandoor. This process ensures that the meat is cooked to perfection and the spices penetrate the meat well. Mandi is served with special sauces and rice, which adds a rich flavour to the dish, while also providing a visual feast.

Coconut Curry

Coconut Curry is a reflection of the exotic flavours of Salalah. This delicious dish is prepared with seafood or chicken and contains thick coconut milk, spices and special curry mixtures. Coconut curry has a version made with fresh seafood due to Salalah being a coastal city. The dish contains a sauce full of flavour, in which the spices and coconut milk are in perfect balance. Usually served with aromatic rice, this dish captivates the palate with the mild sweetness of coconut and the blend of spices.

Omani Halwa

Omani Halwa occupies an important place in the dessert world of Salalah. This traditional dessert is a flavour served on special occasions or special invitations. Omani halwa is frequently preferred especially during Ramadan. The basic ingredients include flour, butter, sugar and locally produced honey. Halva is prepared by carefully mixing these ingredients, contains almonds or walnuts and is served with a special presentation. 

Firstly, the basic ingredients to make this special dessert include water, sugar, corn starch, ghee (clarified butter), saffron, rose water and pistachios. Sugar, water and corn starch are carefully mixed and cooked over low heat, stirring constantly. Then, ghee is added to the mixture and the ingredients are roasted until caramel colour. At this stage, saffron and rose water are added to add a unique flavour and aroma. Finally, the mixture contains peanuts and is stirred until it reaches a completely homogenous consistency. The Omani Halwa is spread on large metal trays and left to cool. Once cut, this dessert, soft and perfect in texture, offers a feast shared at special celebrations or traditional gatherings.

Omani Qahwa (Coffee)

Omani coffee is valued in Salalah as an element of tradition and social interaction. Omani coffee is a traditional type of coffee prepared by roasting coffee beans. This coffee is prepared with a special ceremony and ritual. First, the green coffee beans are lightly roasted and then ground into powder. The roasting is done carefully to bring out the characteristic flavours and aromas of the coffee. Together with the ground coffee beans, Qahwa is also enriched with spices. These spices can include cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and sometimes even cardamom. 

The mixture is boiled with water in a special coffee pot to create a traditional Omani coffee. However, this coffee is not only characterised by its taste, but also by its ritual and cultural context. Omani coffee is served to honour special guests or at important community events. It has a distinctive, spicy flavour and creates a pleasant conversational atmosphere during coffee drinking.

Fresh Seafood Dishes

Fresh seafood dishes are very popular due to Salalah being a coastal city. Freshly caught seafood here forms an important part of traditional Omani cuisine. Fish, prawns, oysters and other seafood are prepared with spices and special sauces. A traditional seafood dish called “Shuwa”, made especially for festivals and special occasions, undergoes a long cooking process and emphasises the flavours of fresh ingredients. Visitors to Salalah can enjoy fresh seafood dishes and experience the local flavours at beachside restaurants. So you can visit this area and taste delicious foods.

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