I recently had the pleasure of visiting Oman, an exceptionally friendly country bordered by Saudi Arabia, Yemen, The United Arab Emirates, and across the Gulf of Oman from Iran. With a long and beautiful coastline, I was thinking shellfish. Although I came across whelks, sea cucumbers, and sea urchins in the tide pools, apparently the stars are fresh fish and Omani Lobster.
I thought I might encounter local clams and oysters, but no luck, The oysters are superb, but imported from France, not local. In a future trip I hope to travel more, include way down south, and explore seafood more! To put size in perspective, Oman is about 1/2 the size of Texas but with far more coastline.
I stayed at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel near Muscat, now a Ritz Carlton property, and admittedly did more working and eating than exploring, although I did have several wonderful swims on the beach in front.
As Wikipedia says, "lobsters live in all oceans" so I should not have been surprised.
These are not clawed lobsters, such as the Maine lobsters I love that are harvested a mere 1/2 mile away from I am. They are spiny lobsters, also known as spiny lobsters and crayfish among other names. They are only loosely related to the clawed lobster, despite a similar appearance and taste, and are found in almost all warm seas. I have enjoyed them before in areas ranging from Florida to New Zealand.
I eat Maine (and New Hampshire) Lobster many times a year and I do prefer them. However I also love so called spiny or rock lobsters and they are a wonderful addition for their variety and their taste.
They say (whoever they are) that lobsters from colder water taste best, and there may be some truth in this but it is clearly overstated in my opinion. One nutso local in New Hampshire originally from Nova Scotia claims lobsters from there are far superior; she is not only annoying but incorrect. That said, Oman and waters in Oman are far warmer on average than New Zealand and Florida where I have had the most spiny lobster, and the taste and consistency of the flesh was in fact different.
I had lobster several nights, including grilled, in salads, in Chinese dumplings times, and in a sweet chilli sauce (which works very well with Omani Lobster!). My tasting notes are consistent, although based primarily on the unadorned grilled lobster I had on my last night.
Omani Lobster definately does not taste like Maine Lobster nor like the spiny lobsters I have had before.
The consistency is somewhat between what I expect for lobster and a firm fish like tuna, which is to say the consistency is less firm than other lobsters I've had. It is delicate while still being meaty. Certainly not mushy.
There is more of what I consider a traditional lobster taste on the back end. If eaten blind, you could have convinced me it was some kind of a fish.
Omani Lobster is delicious. I prefer my local Maine Lobster, and giev a preference to colder water spiny lobsters I've had, but these were clearly excellent and am very happy to have had them.
If you get a chance to visit Oman, do it! One of the friendliest countries I've ever visited and certainly beautiful and safe. And next time I go back I WILL have more Omani Lobster!|