Ramadan 2024 (Hijri 1445) is here and so is the time to fast, feast and celebrate faith for Muslims.
Muslims all over the world enjoy diverse and mouth-watering cuisines during Ramadan. From Morocco's bustling markets to Indonesia's vibrant streets, Ramadan brings a rich tapestry of flavours, traditions, and communal dining experiences.
In this article, we will explore the nine best Ramadan fast-breaking foods from around the globe.
Each of the dishes we picked offers a unique blend of history, culture, and delicious food.
So, let's get started!
12 Special Ramadan Cuisines From Various Countries
Before we begin, you should know what Iftar is. Iftar is the meal of the day that Muslims take during sunset after a whole day of fasting during Ramadan - a sacred month for Muslims around the world.
Different Muslim countries have diverse Ramadan food traditions around the world.
Here are nine special Ramadan cuisines from various countries:
1. Arroz Caldo: Philippines
For Filipinos, Arroz Caldo is the quintessential and nourishing Iftar meal. This national cuisine combines tender chicken, aromatic ginger, and savoury garlic in a rich broth. You can smell the earthy aroma in the air, can’t you?
The toppings usually include crispy fried garlic, scallions, and a touch of lime. In every spoonful, Arroz Caldo offers a symphony of flavours that delights the palate and embodies the essence of comfort and nourishment after long hours of fasting.
2. Ayam Masak Merah: Malaysia
Discover the tantalising flavours of Malaysian cuisine with the exquisite Ayam Masak Merah. This chicken dish has exceptional fragrance, simmered in a gentle, aromatic sauce, and is a culinary gem that deserves a place in your recipe collection.
The key to the rich flavour of Ayam Masak Merah lies in the carefully crafted sambal. It consists of lemongrass, dried red chillies, garlic, shallots ginger, and other aromatic spices.
3. Zoolbia: Iran
If you're a fan of South Asian cuisine, you may already be familiar with Zoolbia, a sweet treat similar to Indian jalebi. First, a mixture of saffron, yoghurt, flour, and baking powder is made.
After that, the mixture ferments for an hour before piping it into hot oil to form beautiful spirals.
Once fried, the Zoolbia is immediately dipped in a fragrant rose-scented sugar syrup. This creates a crispy texture and irresistible sweet flavour.
4. M'battan: Libya
When it comes to satisfying meals, fried potatoes are an irresistible choice. With their versatility and widespread popularity, potatoes have become a staple in various cuisines worldwide, each offering its delightful take on crispy potato snacks.
This tantalising creation takes the beloved potato fry to new heights, featuring slices of potato that are crispy on the outer shell and tender on the inside, generously filled with flavorful, herb-infused minced meat. While making M'battan may pose a challenge, the moment you take that first delicious bite, all the effort will be worthwhile.
5. Dolma: Iraq
Dolma is a delightful traditional Ramadan food dish that many cultures enjoy equally. This delectable dish involves wrapping vegetables, seasoned rice, and minced meat in sour vine leaves.
Dolma goes best with tart and sweet pomegranate molasses. In regions such as Iraq and its neighbouring countries, Dolma is a famous finger snack as part of Iftar celebrations.
6. Kue Lapis: Indonesia
Kue Lapis, a beautifully tiered steamed cake from Indonesia, holds a special place as a Ramadan special food. This colourful treat is highly popular in Malaysia. People there also call it kuih. expert chefs use natural ingredients indigenous to Southeast Asia to infuse each layer with lively colours. Are you looking up Ramadan recipes yet?
The texture of this delectable cake is soft and bouncy. At the same time, coconut milk adds a creamy richness, and cane sugar provides sweetness. As Ramadan draws to a close and Eid Ul-Fitr approaches, street vendors showcase an abundance of Kue Lapis while traditional households meticulously prepare this delightful delicacy using time-honoured techniques.
7. Khaliat al Nahl: Yemen
Khaliat al Nahl is an amazing Ramadan traditional food from Yemen. It will be the perfect addition to your Iftar feast if you have a penchant for delectable sweet bread like cinnamon buns and babka.
Translating to honeycomb buns, this delightful dessert earns its name from its stunning resemblance to a honeycomb pattern. Cream cheese fills each fluffy bun and toppings are mainly sesame and nigella seeds.
To top it off, a drizzle of exquisite floral honey completes the experience. These tantalising buns are a delight to savour individually and a joy to share, especially when paired with the world-renowned Yemeni coffee. The experience of dunking these buns into Yemeni coffee is genuinely unparalleled.
8. Nafaqo: Somalia
While Scotch eggs may be familiar to many, have you ever heard of their Somali counterpart, Nafaqo?
Its origins are somewhat mysterious, with some sources linking it to the Indian Nargisi Kofta and others drawing parallels to North African appetisers.
Its unique vegetarian twist sets the Somali Nafaqo apart, featuring a soft-boiled egg encased in finely seasoned mashed potato and coated in crispy breadcrumbs. This delectable dish is not only a popular choice for breakfast but also holds a special place among Ramadan delicacies.
In Somali, Nafaqo translates to nutrition, emphasising its significance as a favourite fasting dish. With its intriguing blend of flavours and cultural significance, Nafaqo offers a delightful culinary experience that many cherish.
9. Haleem: Pakistan
Haleem is one of the most rich, fragrant, and hearty traditional Pakistani Ramadan foods. Haleem is crafted by simmering a blend of meat, wheat or barley, lentils, nuts, and aromatic spices until it reaches a luscious and velvety consistency.
Toppings usually include sliced ginger, caramelised crispy onions, and fresh cilantro to enhance its flavours. While the origins of Haleem are in the Middle East (possibly Iran), it has become widely popular in India thanks to the Nizams of Hyderabad.
Following the partition of India, many Muslims migrated to the newly formed Pakistan and transformed Haleem into a cherished holiday delicacy. Look up easy Haleem recipes this Ramadan and enjoy the flavourful addition to your Iftar parties.
10. Chebakia: Morocco
Chebakia is a traditional Moroccan pastry enjoyed during Ramadan. Made from flour, sesame seeds, honey, and spices like anise and cinnamon, it's shaped into intricate flowers and fried until golden.
Symbolising spiritual renewal, its sweet, aromatic taste delights families, fostering togetherness and celebration during the holy month of fasting.
11. Muri Banani: Bangladesh
Muri Banani is probably the most common food Bangladeshis eat to break their fast. It’s a mix of puffed rice, batter-fried eggplant (Beguni), Onion-lentil Fritter (Peyajo), curried chickpeas, tomato, cucumber, etc.
These are the core ingredients but you can add anything you want. The sky’s the limit when it comes to muri banani.
12. Thieboudienne: Senegal
Thieboudienne, Senegal's national dish, is significant during Ramadan. It's made with fish, rice, veggies, and spices.
At sunset, families break their fast with thieboudienne, enjoying its flavours and shared tradition. It fosters togetherness and spiritual fulfilment in Senegalese homes during Ramadan.
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