Every year, millions of Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Fitr or Hari Raya which marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting. Eid al-Fitr in Arabic means “the feast of breaking the fast”, it is when Muslims return to regular eating cycles and express gratitude to Allah for sustaining them during Ramadan. They hope it will strengthen their religious and spiritual side.
The Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles. Thus the day on which Eid al-Fitr begins is different year to year. The holy day is determined by a confirmed sighting of the new moon after a month of Ramadan. It also varies geographically.
Muslims have a small breakfast ahead of morning prayers and visit relatives and friends where a lavish feast is served. Gifts such as food hampers or clothes are exchanged days before or during the visit on Eid al-Fitr day. Many people also use this occasion to do charity for those who are less fortunate.
Eid al-Fitr is a major yet humble celebration, and it has food as the center of the event. After a month of fasting, grand celebrations are welcomed with lots of food with family and friends. Eid al-Fitr is the ultimate feast and keenly awaited. In many countries, meals eaten during Eid taste richer, bigger, and fancier than the meals eaten every night during Ramadan. Some delicacies mark the holiday. Here are the selections of the ultimate Eid al-Fitr dishes from around the world.
10 Unique Eid al-Fitr Dishes from Various Countries
1. Sheer khurma – Pakistan, India, Bangladesh
Sheer khurma, which means milk with dates, is also known as semai in Bangladesh. This sweet vermicelli dessert is a popular breakfast and dessert for Muslims during Eid in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. This milky and creamy vermicelli pudding is prepared with vermicelli, milk, sugar, and dates. And depending on the country, pistachios, almonds, or raisins as toppings. Khurma or date is the star of this dish, so it is a must-add.
2. Lokum – Turkey
Lokum, what we know as Turkish delight, is a favored dessert for holidays like Eid in Turkey. So, what is it so delightful about this confection? Lokum consists of mini, fragrant cubes of jelly, traditionally flavored with rosewater, orange flower water, or lemon juice and powdered with icing sugar. Premium varieties consist of chopped dates, hazelnuts, pistachios, or walnuts bound by the gel. Not only the colors of lokum are mouthwatering, but the taste is also delicious.
Another fun fact about lokum, it was initially made of fruit extracts and flour. It then started to be made with starch and refined sugar in the 17th century, resulting in the lokum or Turkish delight in its now classic form.
3. Cambaabur – Somalia
Cambaabur is a Somali Eid bread. This crepe-shaped dish is prepared like lahoh with different ingredients, fried on a frying pan, dusted with sugar on top, and served with yogurt. People enjoy it as a breakfast meal, mostly during Eid. The recipe is also well-known in Djibouti and may have originated there.
4. Ma’amoul – Syria, Lebanon
This shortbread cookie is primarily eaten in the Levantine region of the Middle East countries like Syria and Lebanon. Ma’amoul is a shortbread cookie filled with date paste, pistachios, or walnuts and covered with powdery sugar. Other fillings can be rosewater or orange blossom. The dough is made of wheat flour or semolina (or a combination of the two), pressed into special molds, then carved in wood. Kleicha is a similar cookie enjoyed in Iraq and kahk in Egypt and Sudan. It is a delightful reward after a month of fasting during Ramadan. Some say the cookies remind you that though fasting is hard, there is a sweet reward in it. Just like ma’amoul with its bland outer shell but sweetness on the core.
5. Bolani – Afghanistan
Do you know that Eid in Afghanistan is a primarily child-oriented celebration? The holiday involves many special festivities uniquely made for the youngest members of the household. Still, the food remains the main lead of the show. One of the most traditional Afghan dishes is bolani, a flatbread stuffed with either leafy greens, like spinach, potatoes, pumpkin, or lentils. Bolani can be sweet or savory and best served warm. Before serving, cut bolani into wedges that are manageable as finger food. You should smear these pieces with any favored spread to enhance the flavor.
6. Tajine – Morocco, Algeria
Eid al-Fitr isn’t just celebrated by enjoying desserts. Grand meat dishes are also served in several countries on Eid. Tajine or tagine is one of those dishes commonly served in North African countries like Morocco and Algeria. The stew is slow-cooked and prepared with meat (lamb or beef). Vegetables or fruits like plums and apricots complement this classic Eid dish in Morocco.
7. Beef rendang – Malaysia
Eid al-Fitr is known as Hari Raya in Malaysia. A lot of traditional dishes are associated with the celebration. The most well-known one is the spicy coconut curry known as rendang. Beef is the main ingredient in this Malaysia’s popular dish, also enjoyed in Indonesia (the country from which it originated) and the rest of the Malay diaspora, which includes Singapore, Brunei, and parts of the Philippines.
The Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia created rendang and saw the dish as an embodiment of social culture. The meat represents the leaders/royalty/elders, coconut milk symbolizes the teachers and writers, chili for the religious leaders, and the spice mixture as the rest of society. Extremely rich and flavorful, this traditional beef rendang is a classic favorite during Eid in Malaysia.
8. Opor ayam – Indonesia
Opor ayam is basically an Indonesian dish made of chicken cooked in coconut milk. The mixture of the spices includes galangal, lemongrass, tamarind juice, cinnamon, palm sugar, cumin, coriander, candlenut, garlic, shallot, and pepper. This delicacy is easily a popular dish for Eid al-Fitr, known in Indonesia as Lebaran, because of its rich taste of the curry. Typically, other Eid dishes like ketupat and sambal goreng ati (beef liver in sambal) complement the way Indonesian eats opor ayam. This cuisine is familiar in almost all parts of Indonesia.
9. Biryani – UK
One of the most favorite Eid dishes in the UK is a classic biryani. It combines meat and rice in a rich-flavored and heavily spiced combination. Other than chicken, it is also common to see a diverse type of meats used for the Eid biryani, from lamb and mutton to goat. Served with raita (cucumber, mint, and yogurt dip), plus salad and pickles on the side, make this native dish of India is easily a favorite.
10. Manti – Russia
Russia is also one of the countries that celebrate Eid al-Fitr with some delicious dishes. Manti, which are stuffed dumplings, contain either seasoned lamb or beef. This savory dish is part of the Eid feast in Russia. However, the recipes, size, and shape can vary across the region.