The food of the southern Arabian Peninsula is distinct to that of much of the Middle East, reflecting the area’s complex history of trade, migration and colonialism. In Oman and Yemen today, you’ll find a diverse array of culinary traditions including some that may surprise you, from the flavours and spices typically associated with Iran, Pakistan and India, to the fluffy breads and seafood dishes emanating from the East African coastline.
If you’re looking for food inspiration from Yemen and Oman, these 5 brilliant bloggers, vloggers and foodies have everything you could possibly want, including step-by-step recipe guides, beautiful cookbooks and delicious supper clubs.
Fatma al-Baiti @fatma.albaiti
Fatma al-Baiti is an enthusiastic foodie with an infectious personality, whose culinary creations are inspired by her Yemeni and East African heritage. Fatma believes food is a powerful connector – a door to understanding other peoples and cultures. It’s this core belief that led her to create her YouTube channel, Fatma vs. Food, where she documents her favourite cuisines from around the world.
Fatma also runs Supper Clubs through her Instagram page, Meet Me at Fatma’s, where she serves up Yemeni brunches to hungry Londoners on weekends. Follow her for mouth-watering dishes, insights into Yemeni and Swahili cultures, and her awesome dance moves!
Dina Macki @dinewithdina
Dina Macki – the self-crowned Pomegranate Queen – is a recipe creator and supper club host whose epic dishes are infused with her own quirky style and, of course, her Omani-Zanzibari heritage. Her delicious, home-made recipes range from the traditional – think mandazis and biryani – to the downright inspired. Her ‘Bouji Banana Bread’, i.e. vegan sticky toffee banana pudding drizzled with Omani date sticky toffee sauce and sprinkled with walnuts and pomegranates, had her followers going nuts (pardon the pun) throughout the Covid-19 lockdown.
Following Dina on Instagram, you’ll quickly see how her love of food is inspired by her family. Her vivacious Mum and Grandmother feature in many of her IG stories, and you’ll often see her sharing her creations with the adorable younger members of her family.
Yemeni American Professor Amjaad created Sifra-Safar with the aim of preserving the culture of her homeland and documenting the experience of diaspora communities through food (sifra means dining table, and safar means travel). She began by sharing her home-cooking online, and has since created a cookbook – Sifratna – and a food brand – Sifra Foods – selling authentic Yemeni spices, including their signature blend, Hawayij, a staple in any Yemeni kitchen. Amjaad creates beautiful, often experimental recipes reflecting traditional Yemeni cuisine. For example, a recent creation was her delectable malaban (Yemeni milk tea) ice cream!
Vanessa Mehri @swahilifood
Although Vanessa is not technically Omani or Yemeni, we feel it’s important to celebrate the influence of East African, and particularly Zanzibari culinary traditions in shaping the cuisines of Yemen and Oman. This came about as a result of the histories of trade, migration and colonialism in the southern Arabian Peninsula and on the East African coast.
Vanessa is of Swiss heritage but was brought up in Mobassa, Kenya and now lives in Muscat, Oman. On her blog her YouTube channel, which are hugely popular with Omanis, you’ll find easy, DIY recipes for traditional Swahili classics like seafood dishes and biryanis, along with more modern recipes with an East African twist.
Sukaina al-Shami @kikitwithkiki
Sukaina is a Yemeni-American cook based in Washington DC, cooking delightful dishes inspired by Yemeni cuisine. She creates a wonderful array of quirky recipes with a Yemeni twist, most often with healthy alternative ingredients to make them #guiltfree! She recently launched her YouTube channel, debuting with a step-by-step tutorial for making her delicious and nutritious Yemeni Shakshuka.
She also shares snippets of Yemeni culture outside of the world of food on her Instagram account, so make sure you follow her if you want to learn more about Yemen than you read in the headlines.
Did we miss anyone?! If you know of any other awesome Omani or Yemeni foodies who we’ve missed off the list, let us know in the comments below! Or if you have any other resources or recipe for making Omani and Yemeni food at home, we’d love it if you’d share them. ✨
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