An Overview Of Iftar Meals From Around The World. These Are Must-Try Activities for Travelers!
Although Ramadan is a season of self-control and constraint, it also serves as a reminder of how fortunate we are to be able to eat anything we want and satisfy our stomachs whenever they grumble. For example, being able to anticipate a sumptuous iftar dinner.
Iftar is the break of the Ramadan fast, in case you didn't know. It's the meal that Muslims consume after sundown to break their fast. Because Muslims live in all corners of the globe, it's fascinating to watch how iftar meals vary, from sweet milk pastries to exuberant food markets.
- Saudi Arabia: Samboosas and Qatayef
Samboosas can be found on tables all around the country and is devoured in large quantities. Ground beef, chewy cheese, vegetables (or even chocolate!) are stuffed into savory small flaky pastry pieces and serve as the ideal on-the-go snack to break your fast.
Qatayef, on the other hand, are miniature pancakes packed with anything you can think of. Whether it's the typical nutty combination of chopped pistachios and walnuts, or the ooey-gooey sweet cheese found throughout Middle Eastern cuisine, there's something for everyone. They're then folded in half, deep-fried, and sprinkled with sugar syrup, of course.
There's no denying why qatayef are so popular. Crisp on the surface, with a surprising filling in the middle.
- Malaysia: Bazaars and Bubur Lambuk
Despite the fact that Muslims make up the majority of the population, Malaysians of all races and beliefs come together to celebrate Ramadan.
Ramadan bazaars – local open-air markets hosted daily during the holy month where many Muslims flock to buy their iftar (locally known as buka puasa) meals to take home – are one manifestation of this shared joy.
If you're a traveler, one of these bazaars is the perfect place to enjoy the best of native Malaysian cuisine.
Ramadan bazaars are a yearly gastronomic event that many look forward to, with everything from murtabak (pan-fried meat-loaded bread) to grilled lamb to delectable bite-sized desserts in every shade and hue of the rainbow.
Bubur lambuk is another unique Malaysian delicacy associated with "buka puasa." Date powder, aniseed, cardamom, clove, and black pepper are among the spices used in this fragrant rice porridge, which is usually served at mosques throughout this holy month. Bubur lambuk has become an important element of Ramadan for Malaysians, despite its simplicity.
- Turkey: Ramazan Pidesi and Gullac
In Turkey, Ramadan is referred to as "Ramazan." What better way to break the fast than with a Ramadan pidesi (Ramadan Pita)? This month, the ever-so-fluffy bread can be found in abundance thanks to its huge round shape and unusual criss-cross design.
Gulac is the Turkish dessert of choice during Ramadan if you're looking for something sweeter. If you want to compare it to baklava, consider it a lighter variant. Thin corn starch pastry is steeped in rosewater-infused milk and topped with crushed pistachios and gleaming pomegranate seeds.
Gulac has become a symbol of the ideal iftar dessert, as heavy, cloying pastries may not agree with the stomach after a complete day of fasting.
- Indonesia: Kolak and Es Buah
Kolak is a sweet dish made with items swaddled in creamy coconut milk and palm sugar, as well as pandan leaves. Bananas, sweet potatoes, and jackfruit wedges are common components. Kolak biji salak, which consists of lime-sized balls of chewy sweet potato dough, is another popular variety.
A sweet Indonesian delicacy known as es buah is another popular Ramadan treat. Diced fruits (both fresh and canned), various jellies, basil seeds, and coconut milk combine to create a delicious cocktail that is almost nectar-like. This cool combo makes for an excellent iftar appetizer when combined with the strong Indonesian heat that is present all year.
- United Arab Emirates (UAE): Harees and Thareed
Hareers are produced from pearled wheat that has been cooked until it has broken down into an oatmeal-like texture. The addition of delicate lamb, beef, or chicken, as well as a flurry of spices to amp up the smell, is the next phase in the cooking process.
And thareed is a slow-cooked stew with succulent lamb pieces and veggies served with reqaq, a thin, crunchy flatbread. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad's favorite food is referenced in the Hadith!
- Sri Lanka: Kanji and Falooda Sherbet
Kanji is a Sri Lankan form of congee with a coconut milk base, which distinguishes it from other Asian congees. The congee is slow-cooked with beef or chicken stock, pandan (screwpine) leaves, garlic, and coconut milk, and the meat is added just before serving, making it the star of every Sri Lankan iftar dinner.
Everything must come to a close on a sweet note, and falooda sherbet is a favorite iftar dessert in Sri Lanka.
Rose sherbet syrup, milk, basil seeds, vermicelli noodles, and jelly are used to make the pretty-in-pink treat. This sweet treat is not only a delicious thirst-quencher, but it also contains fiber from the basil seeds, making it a terrific gut-friendly choice for those of you who have a sweet craving.
- Africa: Jollof Rice and Chorba Frik
Jollof is a spiced rice meal that is cooked with reduced tomatoes, onions, peppers, and various seasonings depending on where it is prepared. The dish is recognized for its dark orange color and may be found in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, and Liberia, with each nation having its own twist.
Jollof has made its way into iftar dining tables as a traditional meal to be served during gatherings.The recipe can be eaten on its own or with fried plantains or any meat of your choosing.
Chorba frik is a hearty soup popular in the Maghreb region of North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya). The only difference between each country's rendition of chorba frik is the meat utilized in the meal. While mutton is traditionally used, it can also be cooked using beef, fowl, or vegetables. The dish is spicy, and it's best served with a side of plain boreks (a flaky pastry made with yukfka or phyllo).
- Bangladesh: Seekh Kebab and Shahi Jilapi
In Bangladesh, you can visit Chawkbazar in Dhaka, which is the country's largest iftar bazaar. One of the various iftar delicacies sold by the traders is seekh kebab, which may be found among the rush and bustle. Seekh kebabs are marinated minced meat (either beef or lamb) that are grilled to perfection on a skewer over a coal grill. They are not to be mistaken with their cousin the shish kebab (meat chunks on a stick).
Bengalis indulge in a little shahi jilapi — a traditional delicacy that's especially popular in Chawkbazar – as a sweet treat thereafter. These treats are enormous, with some weighing up to 2.5 kg each. The shahi jilapi is created by deep-frying dough and soaking it in a syrup mixture of rose water, cinnamon, cardamom, sugar, and water for several hours.