Friday afternoon, we had a beach barbeque with an Omani family we know. David and Humaid worked together in Qatar, back in 2006.
We met Humaid on Friday morning to buy the supplies we needed. We went to Al Seeb market – way different from the sanitized supermarkets us Westerners shop at….. and so much more interesting! But you need to go with a pro.
Al Seeb is a very Omani seaside town, just a bit west of the Muscat airport. Winding streets, chock full of cars and people on a Friday morning – indeed – most mornings, and definitely all evenings. We followed Humaid into town from a fuel station on the outskirts, and luckily found two parking spots not far apart.
First stop was the meat shop, where they sell beef, lamb and goat from all over – Pakistan, China, India and Oman. There, we bought some ribs and some chunks for roasting on sticks. We left them to cut the meat the way we wanted, and headed to the bakery for Arabic bread., and then across the street to one of the shops selling chickens. They had a display cooler inside with packaged chickens…. Humaid picked 4 and we left while they cut them up for us.
We bough charcoal for the BBQ – real Omani charcoal that looks like black wood, not shaped briquets like we get in Canada. And look at these great barbeques to buy. I’d love to take one with me. Another small shop yielded lighter fluid and tamarind sauce.
Back to pick up the meat and chicken, and then we headed down the road to the fish market.
We walked by this store selling bird – the Omanis love birds – and I ducked into the doorway to take a photo of these two and the shop keeper said “one rial” and laughed. I did too – no way I’m paying to take a photo.
All the fish sellers are outside under canopies or umbrellas, with their wares displayed on tarps and bags on the ground. What an amazing variety – Humaid didn’t even know the names of all of the fish – at least not in English. We looked around and he chose one.
This man was putting water over the fish to keep them cool and fresh.In the shade of the building, there was a man selling salt fish and other snacks. Humaid said that when it is salted, it will last for a year. We didn’t try it – but it looked OK.These girls were sitting in the shade as well.
From there, we went inside, where the fellows who prepare it for you work. What a busy place! Lots of the workers didn’t look very old, but they sure knew their business. they could fillet a fish in a very short time, or turn it into steaks or cubes or whatever you wanted. they descaled our fish, and then cut it into steaks….. Humaid had left, and we misunderstood what he wanted to do with it. Oh well….. still wonderful, fresh, firm fish. Look how fast that knife is moving!And the one on the end is our fish, waiting his turn.We drove with the fish to Humaid’s house, where he had gone early so he could do his Friday noon prayers. He showed us around – we met the children again, and the new maid, and then left for home to prepare for our afternoon at the beach.