A wide variety of Omani dates are among the many unique everyday items found at Doha’s Omani Souq, located behind the Central Market. Omani dates are popular for many reasons but perhaps the one thing that makes them stand out the most is the sheer number of the variety of dates found in the Sultanate. Oman has more than 250 indigenous varieties of dates. The most relished varieties among these known for their taste and succulence are the Khalas, Khunaizi and Fardh dates.
The Ash Patash and Al Nagal varieties are among the first to hit the market during the harvest season in Oman, but not as sweet as the ones that follow. As the harvest season progresses, dates of the Al Khunaizi variety, popular for being the most sugary in taste, and Al Khalas, billed as the most delicious, also enter the Omani market.
Dates in Oman can be categorised into two groups. The first group is categorised under table dates. The number of palm trees in Oman for this category is an estimated 5.1 million, which accounts for 64 percent of the total production. Dates of this category are typically consumed in raw form by people in various ways. These include dates such as Khalas Al Dhahira, Abu Naranja, Khaneezi, Khasab and Fardh, among others.
The second group is categorised under manufacturing dates, which are not suitable for human consumption. These dates cannot be consumed raw by people, and so they are used as fodder for animals or by humans after processing. These date varieties (approximately 2.9 million palm trees) include Mabsali, Umm Al Sala, Shahl and Salani.
Plan a trip to the Omani Souq and learn about the varieties of dates that have arrived in Qatar this season!
Text by Azmat Haroon, photos by Shaji
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