In souvenir shops, airport duty-frees, and upscale supermarkets, camel commodities are making a comeback. But throughout the region and here in Oman, these ships of the desert and all they can offer have never gone out of style. Here are five must-try camel products and where to find them.
Throughout the MENA region, since time immemorial, the humble camel has been a migrational masthead and purveyor of sustenance, sustaining civilisations at the crossroads of history. The earliest nomadic Bedouin tribes used their herds for transport, nourished themselves on their meat and dairy while Cleopatra bathed in, and had soap made from, their milk.
Today, camels still remain a cornerstone of tradition, re-envisaged for the new age. It’s not uncommon to see them used for sport and luxury – think races, pomp, and pageantry – and can warrant price-tags stretching into millions of rials. And, with their consumables becoming more widely recognised for their medicinal and therapeutic properties, the demand for camel products is on the
Here are five of our top picks to get you over that hump!
Take your craving for camel milk up a notch with a cold bottle of Arabia’s favourite cooling yogurt drink. While camel milk tends to have a more pungent aroma and taste not unlike goat’s milk – it’s a flavour profile that works well in fermented curd form. Enter laban. Camelicious offers a line of pasteurised products ranging in flavour from strawberry, chocolate, and date to the more fringe flavours of saffron and lemon-mint – not for the faint of heart! Find it: Nesto Hypermarkets
Not your traditional biryani or machbous, this version hero-ing the humble camel is popping up on many a menu in the Sultanate. The same fluffy basmati rice mixed with a heady blend of spices is the perfect fodder to let those unctuous cubed morsels of camel tenderloin shine. Served with a cooling dollop of puckery raita, mop up every last mouthful with a hunk of saj bread. Ubhar Restaurant, Shatti Al Qurum
Camel Milk Chocolate
Does it really taste that much different from our favourite sweet indulgence made from good-ol’ cow’s milk? Not to get ourselves in a hump…but we think not. Chocolate is chocolate and all we know is that the camel-milk version still ticks all the boxes for creamy, sweet, melt-in-your-mouth nirvana. Al Nassma’s variety is the most commonly-found brand, but expect a bar to set you back by at least RO11. Sinful goodness doesn’t come cheap. But with very little difference in flavour to other forms of chocolate, is the hefty price-tag warranted? Or is it inflated marketing? Let your taste buds be the judge. Find it: Spinneys
Camel Milk Cheese
Really though – why let the goats have all the glory as the dairy world’s primo alternative cheese? And with camel milk, or ‘dhahab abyad’ – ’white gold’ as it’s known – earning superfood status due to its immunity-boosting proteins and cancer-fighting antibodies, it’s little wonder manufacturers have found ways to maximise on its many forms. Camelicious White Gold brand will have you hankering for a salty-smooth hunk of their Nabulsi, Akkawi, and traditional white and labneh varieties. Find it: Spinneys
The latest coffee craze to jump on the camel bandwagon, this caffeine fix is all about – you guessed it – swapping out your usual dose of dairy for a hit of frothy, foamy camel milk. Adding a new depth of flavour to your morning brew, it’s a healthier option due to its high Vitamin C quotient and lower fat content than cow’s milk. Better make ours a double! Find it: The Majlis, Oman Avenues Mall