Ramadan culinary trends around the Middle East

Ramadan culinary trends around the Middle East

Four accomplishes chefs take us on a culinary tour around the Middle East, sharing Ramadan food trends and iftar essentials. 

Iftar trends in the UAE
We always feature traditional dishes on our menus, and this holy month, we will also have themed nights. Our theme nights will include different offerings, including cosmopolitan, Arabesque, Khaleeji, Persian, and Turkish cuisines.
In addition, this year’s Ramadan menus appear to be moving toward healthier choices. Many customers are seeking lighter options that won’t make them feel sluggish during the day when they’re fasting. As a result, this year’s menu features more salads, grilled meats and vegetable-based dishes. Also, we have seen an increase in demand for vegan and vegetarian options, so we have made sure to provide a selection of mouthwatering and satisfying plant-based options.
We have also noticed growing interest in fusion cuisine, with many chefs experimenting with new flavor combinations and incorporating different culinary traditions into their Ramadan menus. This has led to some exciting new dishes, which will surely delight our guests during this special time of year.

Menu essentials
Asateer Tent is renowned for its traditional delicacies that not only satisfy the palate but also sustain those who are fasting. Ouzi with fattoush and soup, sambusa, mashbous rice, kunafa, umm Ali and katayef ashta should be enjoyed by everyone.

Ali El Bourji
Executive Arabic chef of Atlantis Dubai, UAE


Iftar trends in Turkey
Iftar tradition remains the same each year. The meal should commence with tarhana and red lentil soup, with cucumber, cabbage and chili pickles, a salad of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, fresh leaves, red onions, olive oil, lemon juice and pomegranate dressing. This is followed by manti, garlic yogurt and mint butter (similar to very thin dumplings). Then comes the meat, from lamb Adana kebab to Sis kebab, which is made of chicken or beef, stuffed vine leaves with baldo rice and is cooked in chicken stock. Sweets are very important after the meal. You can expect different falvors of baklava, from pistachio to walnut, served with kaymak and ice cream. Some opt for a selection of fresh fruit and mixed nuts. Following the earthquakes in Turkey, Ramadan this year will be a very simple gathering to celebrate togetherness.
In terms of global trends, we are now seeing more vegetables and fruits onto the menu, as people are increasingly health conscious.

Ramadan menu essentials
This is a veritable feast of tasty, comforting and familiar dishes. Soups are fundamental, such as red lentils, tarhana, chicken soup, roast meat dishes, manti, noodles, bulgur and rice pilaf. Let’s not forget baklava and sutlac.
Soups are very important during mealtimes in Turkey. They are accompanied by a great variety of dressings, mint, yogurt, brown butter, egg yolks, vinegar and garlic seasoning, as well as individual seasoning — lemon, tomato sauce, spices, red pepper and croutons.
The base for tarhana, which is an earthy soup, is made in summer by adding vegetables, herbs and spices to yogurt before letting the mixture dry and crushing it into powder. Different blends are created and finished with a mint and brown butter dressing.
Lentil soup is another staple made of lentils, onions, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, rice, bulgur and mint. It is the base is a bone broth. This is spiced with red pepper flakes, cumin, sumac and paprika. It is served with sumac and crumbled mint leaves.
Yogurt soup contains yogurt, egg yolk, mint, salt, rice or orzo, chicken broth, saffron or turmeric and chickpeas. It is served with olive oil, sumac and Aleppo pepper.
After the soup, we will have roasted lamb, chicken, or beef, with a side order of rice, noodles or bulgur wheat, a salad and some vegetables.
Desserts include family favorites — baklava, sutlac, rice pudding and gullac, a dessert made with milk, rose water, pomegranate and pastry.

Ahmet Dede
Executive chef of Dede, Turkey

Iftar trends in Bahrain
We are focusing on sustainability and supporting local businesses this year. For our business, Ramadan also represents a season of giving and sharing with the neighborhood. Aside from decreasing food waste by donating to Conserving Bounties (Bahrain Food Bank), we will be using local ingredients and artisan products such as clay pots from the Farmers Market that gives back to the Bahraini community. Locally grown and sourced food items, including fresh vegetables, honey and dates, are packed with deep flavor and will complement our spectacular buffet. We try to give a variety of cuisine that is healthy for the land as well as the body.

 Ramadan menu essentials
Our extensive Ramadan menu is a diverse mix of Arabic and international dishes. But among the must-have items are ouzi, koshary, shawarma, tajine, majboos, Bahraini grills, bread, and date ice cream. This year’s selection also includes Iranian dishes, paella, pizza, Bahraini kebab with pickles and sauce, tandoori meats, fresh pasta, zaatar and tahina-flavored ice cream, and more.
Inviting guests through an awakened sensory experience, the culinary lineup resembles a collection of food stalls. Here, the pleasure of breaking the fast is combined with the joy of creating enduring memories with loved ones.

Yann Bernard Lejard
Director of culinary and F&B at the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain

Iftar trends in Egypt
Since we Egyptians are avid admirers of new inventions, a lot of intriguing flavor combinations and revised classics are anticipated this Ramadan. That is also what our updated Iftar menus will offer. With a culinary twist, our Ramadan dishes draw inspiration from North African and Middle Eastern cuisines including Moroccan, Libyan, and of course, Egyptian.
This year, we’re adding an Egyptian filling to arancini to make it uniquely ours. To give the best food and culinary experience, the Cookery Twist modernizes popular cuisines, adds originality, and combines new flavors.

Ramadan menu essentials
Any Ramadan menu must include soups and mezze (appetizers) because they are filling, simple to eat, and frequently the first course served at iftar. No matter how hot the weather is, soup remains an essential component of the Iftar feast. It also serves as a light and perhaps beneficial addition to the suhoor.
The kitchen makes sure to include both hot and cold mezze on its menus and offers a wide variety for customers to choose from to truly sate their appetites and make iftar and suhoor as scrumptious, enjoyable and satisfying as possible.

Amina Hassan
Co-founder and CEO of The Cookery Co., Egypt

Add to Favorites
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.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *