Ramadan 2024: The Top Iftar Foods From Around The World

Waquar Habib


Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and it is observed by Muslims worldwide as a period of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. At sunset, Muslims break their fast with an evening meal called Iftar, a joyous moment for families and friends to gather, share a meal, and strengthen bonds.

A family iftar where people break their fasts | Shutterstock


Dates are a popular food during Ramadan in Muslim-majority countries. They are high in natural sugars, providing a quick energy boost after a day of fasting. They symbolise religious significance and are believed to be Prophet Muhammad's favourite fruit.

Dates are a common part of an iftar spread | Shutterstock


Samosa, or samboosa, is a triangular pastry filled with spiced potatoes, meat, or vegetables. They are either deep-fried or baked until golden brown. Samosas are popular during Ramadan and symbolise the diverse cultural influences within Islam.

The samosa is an appetiser from the Middle East and India | Shutterstock


Fattoush is a refreshing salad popular in the Middle East during Ramadan. It's made with chopped vegetables, toasted pita bread and a tangy dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and sumac. This hydrating dish provides essential nutrients and symbolises renewal and purification during Ramadan.

A bowl of fattoush prepared for iftar | Shutterstock


Haleem is a thick stew made with wheat, barley, meat, lentils, and spices. It's popular in South Asia and the Middle East, especially during Ramadan. The slow-cooked ingredients create a porridge-like consistency, topped with fried onions, cilantro, and lemon juice.

A bowl of traditionally cooked haleem | Shutterstock

Sambal Goreng

Sambal Goreng is a spicy coconut-based dish from Indonesia made with fried tofu, tempeh, or meat cooked with lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and chilli peppers. It's served with steamed rice or as a side dish and represents Indonesia's Muslim community's cultural diversity.

A bowl of Sambal Goreng prepared for iftar | Shutterstock


Qatayef is a Middle Eastern sweet made of flour, semolina, yeast and sugar batter. It's filled with nuts, cheese, or cream, then folded into crescent shapes, fried or baked, and drizzled with syrup or sprinkled with powdered sugar. They are a Ramadan speciality.

Qatayefs are a combination of nuts and cream | Shutterstock


Baklava is a Middle Eastern and Balkan dessert made with phyllo dough, nuts and syrup. It's crispy and soaked in rose/orange blossom water syrup, which is perfect for ending Ramadan's fast.

Traditional Turkish dessert baklava, with Turkish tea | Shutterstock


Famous in India, pakoras have many varieties, from onion and potato to chicken and paneer. They're easy to prepare and perfect for pre-dusk hours. A platter of assorted pakoras is a crowd-pleasing appetiser, ideal for sharing the spirit of Ramadan with loved ones.

Traditional Indian pakora served with tea and ketchup | Shutterstock

Ramazan Pidesi

During Ramadan in Turkey, bakeries make a special wheat flour pita bread called Ramazan pidesi topped with seeds and a unique weave pattern. It's served during iftar and sahur meals, and children often get it just before iftar.

Ramadan pidesi, traditional Turkish flatbread baked during the holy Ramadan month | Shutterstock


Soups like shorbat adas and harira are popular appetisers during the iftar meal. Harira, a Moroccan soup made with chickpeas, lemon and plenty of seasonings, helps rehydrate and nourish after fasting. It is usually served with couscous.

Moroccan harira soup in traditional bowls | Shutterstock

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