Loving It Local: A Trip To Oman’s Al Mouj Saturday Market

22 Dec 2018
POSTED BY Y Magazine

There’s something for everyone at the Al Mouj Saturday Market. But for the vendors who come out each weekend to sell their wares, it’s a chance to showcase livelihoods crafted out of passion and entrepreneurial spirit. Team Y takes a tour.

Crowds jostle as dads carry kids on their shoulders clutching ice cream cones, as the sizzling scent of street food stalls advertise their mouthwatering aromas. There’s music from a live band emanating from the central plaza, punctuated by the delighted squeals of children strapped to the bouncy-bungee trampoline.

This is community at its peak – and you’ll find it here at the Al Mouj Saturday Market. One of the winter season’s most popular outdoor public events, it’s a place where grassroots enterprises and micro-businesses – many of them family-owned and operated – set up shop to connect products and services developed with passion and pride to the wider market.

Located along The Walk at Al Mouj with dozens of food and retail stalls, and entertainment extending into the central plaza, the Saturday market is held every weekend until February 24, 2019 from 8am to 2.30 pm – save for a short two week break over the Christmas holidays.

So, if you’re looking for a way to connect with your community this New Year and discover something while supporting local suppliers, artists, and vendors – and while there are too many to count, here are few of our favourite market hotspots to check out!

1) Nowair Flowers

This Omani florist and plant nursery operating out of the Azaiba area on 18th November Street offers an added pop of freshness and colour to the market mile with their vibrant sprays of full and miniature roses imported direct from Holland, blossoming cacti, orchids, and lush array of succulents.

Owner Majed Alattabi is always on-hand to greet you with a smile and help you pick the perfect arrangement for that special occasion – or simply to brighten up your living space. And, if you visit this shop in Azaiba you can also try some of their lush chocolate products because nothing goes better than chocolate and a nice bouquet!

Contact:  (+968) 2449-1915 (landline), (+968) 9128-9855 (WhatsApp)

Email: nowairflowers@gmail.com

Facebook and Instagram: @NowairFlower

2) Solo Tacos

Nothing says street-food more than tacos – or any kind of sizzlingly-spicy, hand-held Mexican grab-and-go fare for that matter. And Solo Tacos serves up some of the best. How can you tell? Two words: the lineup. This popular Qurum eatery – and one of the city’s only authentic Mexican restaurants – has set up a food stall at the market every Saturday. Just follow your nose to the scent of hot chillies and seasoned meats flaming on the grill and head to the back of the line.

Serving up beef, chicken and vegetarian varieties of tacos, burritos and quesadillas; two tacos will set you back between RO1.7 and RO2.1 each. Be sure to slather on their signature hot sauces too!’

Contact: (+968) 2457-7700

Website: www.solotacos.co

Facebook: @solotacos.om

3) Art By Rebeca Art Boutique

There’s no shortage of local artists and craftspeople exhibiting their work at the Saturday Market and, chances are, if you’ve been out recently you’ve probably passed by one of the more colourful stalls displaying Art by Rebeca. A Colombian artist shipping her art to the world, Rebeca Nigrinis has been based out of Muscat for the past six years and her affinity for her adopted home country is reflected in her vibrantly-hued paintings.

Drawing inspiration from her surroundings her artworks reflect Arabian villages, Omani women, and colourful camels. With an art exhibition currently on now at the City Seasons Hotel in Al Khuwair, she also has a vivid home décor collection that includes trays, coasters, and Lazy Susans.

Contact: (+968) 9506-2388

Email: rnigrinis@yahoo.com

Facebook: @artbyrebeca

Instagram: @rebeca.artist

4) Sain Bags

This Omani-run eco-startup may just be one of the most innovative vendors you’ll find at the Al Mouj Saturday Market. Developed by Husain Baomar, it’s a brand that’s pioneering the anti-single-use plastic movement in the Sultanate with the creation of its line of 100 per cent biodegradable ‘I’m Not Plastic’ bags made from cassava starch and other natural fibres. In addition to dissolving in hot water after use, they’re also fully compostable and do no harm to plants, animals or the environment.

Husain Baomar

We love this initiative and in a country where the daily use of plastic bags is still rampant, we want to see these in every supermarket checkout from Muscat to Musandam. They also carry a line of eco-friendly bamboo straws and toothbrushes for those eco-warriors wanting to go the extra (green) mile!’

Contact: (+968) 9969-1572

Email: info@imnotplasticbag.com

Website: www.imnotplasticbag.com

Facebook: @sainbag

Instagram: @sainbags.om

5) Bali Rattan Bags

This popular online shop has set up its first on-ground kiosk at the Saturday Market and we couldn’t be more enthused. Selling a wide array of Natives brand hand-woven rattan bags from Bali, and others from the Philippines, these earth-tone satchels come in a variety of strappy, over-the-shoulder and clutch varieties, with delicate painted motifs.

These handmade bags take a week to make as the rattan plant must go through an intensive drying and baking process to remove impurities before it can be woven. So the next time you’re on the lookout for a beachy-chic eco-bag made from natural materials – hit up this Al Mouj Market hotspot.

Contact: @TryRattanBaliBags (Facebook)

6) Bella’s Bakery & Kitchen

Cap off an afternoon of sunshine shopping with something sweet via a stop-off at Bella’s Bakery & Kitchen stall. Located on the street-side nearest to The Walk mall entrance, it’s hard to miss – just keep your eye out for the massive platters of cookies and pastries! We love their ooey-gooey chocolate chip and dark chocolate and peanut butter chip varieties, best served with a hot cup of coffee (they supply to Gloria Jean’s!), and their homely-sweet helpings of banana bread like Grandma used to make.

Their brownies are also a popular standout and get snapped up quickly – so, take heed and get there early! Be sure to take home a loaf of their famous focaccia bread to enjoy warm, with a little drizzle of olive oil! You can also visit their outlet in the Qurum area for more flavourful treats, homemade with love.

Contact: (+968) 9140-6610 (WhatsApp)

Email: info@bellasbnk.com

Facebook and Instagram: @bellasmuscat

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