Student Info & Guide

Food Around The World During Ramadan

by on July 1, 2015 | Top Stories

Roti John, popia basah, ayam percik, murtabak, nasi tomato and kuih galore. These are some of the favourites you'll find at most Ramadan bazaars in Malaysia. But have you ever wondered what Muslims around the world eat at Iftar (the breaking of fast)?

Ramadan Bazaars in Malaysia offer a colourful variety of foods - from traditional kuih to modern food trucks, you could probably visit the bazaar every single day and still find something new to sample. Perhaps your favourite is murtabak or that ever-popular popia basah stall. Or could you be a fan of the different types of bubur? Rendang, serunding, lontong and all kinds of dessert too - vendors work in a frenzy to serve the steady flow of customers (and sometimes hour-long queues!).

So have you ever wondered what delicacies you would find in Iftar food markets around the world? In this article by Quartz India, it is said that haleem (a stew composed of meat, lentils and pounded wheat made into a thick paste) is popular in Hyderabad, while nombu kanji, a dish prepared with meat, veggies and porridge, is favoured in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In Afghanistan, you may have a soup, meat curries, kebabs and pulao at Iftar. If you're in Pakistan or Bangladesh, you could expect jalebis, haleem, parathas, meat curries, fruit salads, kebabs, piyajoo, and beguni to accompany your Iftar meal.

In the article '6 Special Ramadan Foods From Around the Arab World', the author lists these foods (and recipes) as the ones that resurface every year during Ramadan in countries like Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia and Morocco.

  • Erk Soos - A thick, sweet drink made of the extract of liquorice plant
  • Qatayef - A sweet treat made either fried or baked, and filled with either cheese or walnuts/pistachios

  • Cheese and Watermelon - Jibneh wa bateekh is the perfect mix of sweet and creamy

  • Madgooga - a rich, sweet, traditional Iraqi dessert

  • Brik and chorba - Popular in Tunisia, Brik is a deep-fried pastry shell filled with cheese, egg and tuna that is eaten with chorba (a soup)

  • Harira - A traditional tomato-based soup eaten for Iftar in Morocco

Grilled meats are also popular in many other parts of the world. We have ayam percik and satay, but in the Arab world, variations of meat kofta (also known as Kibbeh) are eaten in countries like Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Jordan, Turkey, and the Balkans.

And don't forget biryani - popular in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, this rice and meat dish is a must in India and Pakistan. In Jordan and Palestine, mansaf (lamb cooked in yogurt and served with rice garnished with almonds and pine nuts) is a traditional dish.

While many choices are available at Ramadan bazaars, some may prefer to cook their meals at home. Amanda Saab, the first Muslim-American to compete on the show 'Masterchef', shares in this article some simple recipes for Ramadan. Her advice is to "keep it simple" and to make sure that each meal has complex, non-refined carbs, a healthy protein and plenty of colour.

If you're an international student in Malaysia observing Ramadan, tell us about your experience. What was a typical Iftar meal back home? How does if compare to your Iftar meal here? Have you discovered any local favourites?

Or if you're an aspiring chef like Amanda Saab, what are some recipes you've tried out for an Iftar meal? Do you stick to traditional favourites or have you created your own special dish?

If cooking is your thing, you could be looking at a culinary career. Check out some of the courses you could pursue, like a Diploma in Culinary Arts, here.

Sources used in this article:

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