Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ramadan has started

Well, Ramadan started over the weekend and I have gone without my morning coffee this morning... I may wander over to the cafeteria and see if its open for coffee but I do know its open between 12-2 for lunch.

The weekend was pretty uneventful for us with Ramadan as we hung around the pool and the TV (damn!  We're losing the Ashes) and didn't go out until last night.

At a totally spur of the moment decision, we decided to go to the local hotel for their "Iftar Buffet".  Iftar is the meal that "breaks the fast" each day and all the hotels in the UAE put on Iftar buffets.  We decided to try the local one first and I rang up and booked a table.  When booking I asked what the go with the buffet was and found out it was from 6:49pm and the buffet will be on until 7:30pm only.  Odd... I had noticed that all the buffet advertisements had a finish time ranging from 7:30 - 9:30pm and this one was 7:30.

Considering the sun didnt set until 6:49, it seemed a very short time.

But we went and was glad we booked because all the tables were filling up very quickly.  We were sat down at our table and whilst we weren't the only Westerners there, it was predominately non-Emirati muslims (Lebanese, some Africans, Jordanians etc).  A TV was playing Arabic prayers and all the glasses were upside down and people were patiently waiting and talking amongst themselves.  Then we noticed that the food at the buffet was there and people were queing and filling their plates.  It seemed that the routine was to dish up the food at the buffet and then eat it at the moment of the setting of the sun.

And then on the TV, a picture of the sun setting was showing and everyone was eating!  The food was good and the girls tried alot of it.  Arabic food has some odd names, but essentially its alot of lamb and chicken cooked in savoury but not spicy herbs and natural juices.  Add rice, some prawns and your regular salads with a dash of hommous and its really not alot different from home.

In 40mins we stuffed ourselves and it was very filling... lots of meat and rice and salad and then the desert bar in which I had creme caramel and the kids had chocolate mousse alonside some sampling of some arabic sweets.  The kids tried a milky white jelly thing and I had a very nice baklava / spring roll styled crepe with cream in the middle and it was all very filling!

The Muslims were piling on the food and one table next to us had 2 men with about half a dozen plates stacked with food and they were going like the clappers.  But a bit after 7:30, we were done and paid the bill and it was all over.  It was a good experience and it was also a good time to tell the kids about Ramadan and to try some local food and show that its not "hot and spicy" which they seem to have a fear of.

And, we'll probably do it again very soon!

1 comment:

danielcollins said...

My kids call it "eat all you can"