Ramadan around the Middle East

Ramadan around the Middle East

Five accomplished chefs take us on a culinary tour around the Middle East, sharing  Ramadan food trends and essential menu items.

Ramadan trends in Kuwait

This year, Ramadan in Kuwait brings a change in the look of hotels and restaurants. The emerging trend appears to focus on refreshing and transforming the ambience to align with the wintertime atmosphere, creating a unique and cozy dining experience for customers.

New ingredients in Ramadan dishes

For Ramadan dishes this year, there is a shift toward incorporating cozier ingredients suitable for wintertime. Sweet potato and pumpkin are highlighted for hot dishes, offering a delicious twist to traditional Ramadan recipes. Additionally, there is a personal touch, with more dates being added to salads and sweets, introducing a new flavor profile to the culinary offerings.

 Innovation in restaurants during Ramadan

To adapt to changing consumer tastes, restaurants in Kuwait are innovating by introducing new ingredients and flavors. The incorporation of sweet potato and pumpkin, and an increased use of dates in salads and sweets demonstrates a commitment to offering diverse and appealing choices.

 Iftar in Kuwait

While the specifics of the menu may vary, the must-have dishes for this Ramadan in Kuwait include hot and comforting options along with classic choices, like chestnut soup or lentil soup, which are deemed the best for wintertime.

Ziad Hilal
Corporate executive chef of BFC Group, Kuwait


Ramadan trends in Lebanon

Restaurants transform into cultural hubs during Ramadan, blending Lebanese heritage with modern appeal for an enticing atmosphere.

New ingredients in Ramadan dishes

The month of Ramadan brings a rich array of iftar meals, featuring traditional salads, soups, hot and cold mezze, main courses and desserts. We strive to introduce a variety of original dishes to uphold Ramadan traditions.

Innovation in restaurants during Ramadan

Amid intense competition during the holy month, we prioritize offering not just delicious food but also exceptional service and Ramadan ambience to create memorable iftar experiences. Additionally, we elevate guest satisfaction by incorporating live cooking stations for a distinctive dining encounter.

Iftar in Lebanon

An iftar spread should include customary Ramadan beverages, like julep and tamarind, alongside classic salads, such as tabbouleh and fattoush, and an assortment of hot and cold mezze. Main courses should offer diverse protein options, like chicken, beef and fish served with rice. Finally, delightful desserts such as karabij Ramadan and osmalliye are indispensable for concluding the meal.

Elie Maalouf chef of Falamanki Beirut

Elie Maalouf
Executive chef at Al Falamanki, Lebanon


Ramadan in Jordan

With the current situation in Gaza, this year will be a tough one. Moreover, while our brothers and sisters struggle to survive, celebrating Ramadan with decorations seems challenging. I anticipate minimal decor centered on themes of peace.

Embracing innovation and newness

Ramadan this year is about innovation and new dishes. For example, we created a unique dish – leg of lamb (mouzat) and rice cooked with onions, raisins, carrots, served with spicy tomato sauce (dakhous). Additionally, we have experimented with flavors to create an exciting culinary experience for our customers.

Healthy Ramadan options 

Acknowledging gluten and lactose intolerances, we prioritize health-related requests. Furthermore, Levantine cuisine, renowned for its vegetarian and vegan options, has been seamlessly incorporated into our menu to cater to diverse preferences. This ensures a broader appeal to our customers.

Iftar in Jordan

Iftar encompasses two types of soup. Furthermore, there will be a variety of mezze on the table, grills and a choice of two main meals. Equally important, we focus on providing a balanced spread that caters to various tastes and preferences.

Rafiq Nakhleh
Executive chef of Fakhreldin
atico-jo.com, fakhreldin.com 
@aticogroup , @fakhreldinrestaurant

Ramadan trends in KSA

Restaurants embrace the enchanting Arabian Nights theme during Ramadan. Therefore, they infuse their ambience with colorful fabrics, ornate lanterns and traditional Arabic patterns to create a magical setting.

New ingredients 

Date syrup is the latest innovation in Ramadan dishes. Derived from fresh dates, it is emerging as a natural sweetener, versatile in desserts, smoothies and beverages.

Innovations for Ramadan

Restaurants in KSA are introducing new menu items. They are also revamping the presentation of classic dishes to cater to evolving consumer preferences. Furthermore, live stations are also being incorporated to enhance the dining experience.

Iftar in KSA

Lentil soup, samboussa pastries, fattoush, foul mdammas and ouzeh are must-have dishes for a traditional Ramadan menu in KSA.

Hamad Nader
Executive chef of Shababik

Ramadan trends in the UAE

There is a growing preference for sleek, modern Ramadan decor featuring clean lines, geometric patterns and neutral color palettes. This trend blends contemporary style with traditional elements. Additionally, embracing the multicultural landscape of the UAE, decorations incorporate diverse cultural elements and traditions. This results in unique themes that resonate with various communities. Moreover, people seek to personalize their Ramadan decor through custom-made items, DIY projects, and family traditions. This adds warmth and authenticity to their celebrations.


Chefs experiment with blending traditional Emirati flavors with innovative global ingredients, resulting in inventive dishes reflecting the UAE’s diverse culinary scene. Moreover, there is an increasing focus on incorporating nutrient-rich ingredients and superfoods like quinoa, chia seeds, kale and avocado, as well as berries to promote health and well-being during the fasting period.

UAE innovating during Ramadan

Restaurants often provide iftar buffets or set menus with a wide range of options catering to different tastes and dietary needs, fostering communal dining experiences. We can expect the introduction of healthier iftar and suhoor options, including low-calorie dishes, gluten-free alternatives and plant-based meals, aligning with the growing emphasis on health and wellness.

Iftar in the UAE

Essential Ramadan fare includes oriental rice with lamb, lentil soup, fattoush, tabbouleh, Lebanese mezze, mixed grill, kunafa, um ali, fruit platters and dried fruits. Dates and apricots, in particular, are staples enjoyed during iftar and suhoor in the UAE.

Peter Osta
Executive chef of Alya Restaurant

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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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