A trip to Oman is not complete without trying some of its delicious local delicacy – Omani halwa (sweet). Halwa is considered as a symbol of Omani hospitality and is traditionally served with Omani Kahwa (coffee), both at homes and restaurants in the country.
Omani Halwa is popular in almost every home in the Sultanate of Oman, particularly on special occasions such as weddings or birthday celebrations. It is also consumed during Ramadan and Eid feasts.
The recipe is subject to much debate as every Omani has their own personal favourite, with ingredients and proportions varying between makers and from different locales of production.
In fact, halwa-makers are fiercely protective of their secret recipes as their livelihood may depend on it.
Muscat Festival is the occasion for everyone to enjoy and gain knowledge regarding Omani traditions and delicious foods. Like always, this year’s edition of Muscat Festival brings a few varieties of delicious Omani halwa including the Yellow Halwa which is made up of Saffron and different kinds of dry fruits whereas the Black Halwa is made of Omani dates.
Ingredients used to make Halwa are eggs, red and white sugar, corn flour and fat. These items are combined to produce a gelatinous sweet, which is then flavored with spices such as cardamom and saffron. Fresh rosewater from the Jebel Akdhar region is used to impart the sweet with a delicate floral fragrance.
Omani Halwa maker Abdula Khames Al Balushi at Al Amaret Park told the Times of Oman that he has named his product after Qurayyat and Seeb. Qurayyat is a small fishing village near Muscat, Oman. It’s a popular stopping point on the way to Sur. Seeb is a suburb of Muscat where the international airport is located.
“We are making approximately 200 kg halwa per day. People mostly ask for Black Halwa compared to Yellow Halwa,” he explained.
A visitor Muhammad Qamar from Egypt said, “I’ve been living in Oman for more than 22 years and almost every year I come to Muscat Festival for Omani traditional sweet dishes, especially the Halwa.” He added that a trip to Oman would be incomplete if the Omani Halwa is not tasted.