6 Mouthwatering Dishes Muslims Around The World Eat For Buka Puasa

From samosas to sweet kolak, these are some of the essentials you'll find on tables everywhere in the world.

Cover image via Urban Adventures & The World In A Pocket

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One thing every Muslim looks forward to during Ramadan is enjoying iftar or breaking fast together with friends and family, sharing a spread of delicious food on the table

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Each country has their own iconic dishes that are served exclusively during Ramadan, or just happen to be more special when eaten together for iftar.

Some of these dishes can be found in more than one country, but are made in different ways. Each of them have their own unique taste of home and togetherness — all of what Ramadan is truly about.

Here are some dishes you might find in households around the world during Ramadan:

1. Bubur Lambuk — Malaysia

Starting off in our homeland, bubur lambuk is usually distributed to the public by mosques around the country. The tradition began in 1949, when a Pakistani man served the dish in portions to the congregation at a mosque in Kampung Baru. After his passing, the recipe was passed to the imam of the mosque, and continued for generations after that.

Nowadays, bubur lambuk can be found in mosques and at bazaars, and although different cooks have adopted different styles of making the dish, the components of the porridge are generally the same.

Seven spices are involved in making the irresistible aroma of the porridge: aniseed, fenugreek, cardamom, cloves, star anise, and black pepper. Then, proteins like meat or chicken, coconut milk and oil, dried shrimp, onions, garlic, and ghee are added into the mix. The porridge is usually cooked for about three hours to get the right fragrance, texture, and taste.

2. Kolak — Indonesia

This sweet, porridge-like dish is eaten by Indonesians as a tajil, or a sugary snack eaten to break fast. It can contain a variation of fruits such as jackfruit and sugar palm fruit, but the usual ingredients are bananas and sweet potatoes. The base is made out of coconut milk, pandan, and palm sugar, completing the dish as a rich, fulfilling snack.

Kolak is served both hot and chilled, as many people prefer the latter after an exhausting day of fasting.

3. Pidesi — Türkiye

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Pidesi is a special flatbread that is distinguished by its crisscross design, topped with a sprinkle of sesame and nigella seeds. The flatbread is made exclusively during Ramadan, or Ramazan as it is called there, and welcomes long queues of customers outside bakeries all around Türkiye.

The fluffy bread is made out of layers of thin corn starch and rose-infused milk to give it a distinct aroma. It is often eaten with olives, cheeses, butter, and pastirma beef, and is served for both sahuur as breakfast and iftar as part of a hearty meal.

4. Navy Bean Pie — USA

Part of the Muslim community in America is made up of a lot of immigrants who brought their culture and cuisine with them, but the American-Muslims have their own cuisine as well. Dating back to the 1930s, the Black Muslim community, 'Nation of Islam', came up with this recipe as a substitute for desserts that contain ingredients impermissible in Islam.

Navy bean pies have a texture akin to pumpkin pie, and are eaten in a similar fashion. A smooth, silky center with a golden flaky crust, topped with whipped cream or cinnamon, the pie can be served either warm or cold. The pies have a special place in the hearts of American-Muslims, enjoyed and adopted into many recipes over time by families and celebrities. 

It was Muhammad Ali's favorite pie too!

5. Qatayef — Egypt

This sweet snack is typically eaten during Ramadan in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and other North African and Middle Eastern countries. Qatayef is a semolina flour pancake filled with akwai or nabulsi cheeses and a selection of crushed nuts, folded into a crescent shape and dipped in honey or syrup.

The popular snack has two variations: one is not sealed, filled with sweet ashta or clotted cream, and drizzled with honey, whereas the other is sealed, deep-fried, and soaked in syrup. 

6. Samosa — South Asia

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Small, triangular pockets filled with pure joy, samosas are a popular street food in many Asian and Middle Eastern countries. Originating from Persia, this delicious snack was originally referred to as sanbosag, meaning "lovely triangles".

Samosa fillings have evolved over time in different countries, with peas being a common filling in Indian samosas, while potatoes and green chilli peppers are regularly seen in Portuguese samosas. Essentially, the main fillings of the pocket pastry are spiced meats and vegetables. Other ingredients can be included based on local tastes and preferences, making the snack as versatile as ever.

Every country that serves them as a common snack has their own interpretations of the recipe, but one thing everyone can agree on is that these little triangles are one of the best foods out there.

Have you tried any of these dishes before? What is a dish in your culture that is a must-have during Ramadan? Let us know.

Regardless of culture, Muslims around the world agree that dates are one of the most important foods to be served during the fasting month:

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