The Islamic holy month of Ramadan has arrived and this means that if you are in a Muslim country or planning to visit one then you may need to change your lifestyle a little bit just during this one month. The practicing Muslims will fast in the day time during this month which means that most of the restaurants will be shut during these hours.
It also mean that you need to dress a little more conservative than usual during the month, for example when you take a the short skirt can be trendy during the most of the year, but in Ramadan a jeans will be a much better option. Similarly try not to eat in front of a Muslim who is fasting, although most will not mind but its always good to be a little sensitive about the local customs and traditions of the place that you are visiting.
Other than these limitations the month of Ramadan also bring its own flavors in to the life of the faithful most of them will become a lot more charitable and friendly than they usually are. But the real attraction for a foreign tourist during this month is the special food that is cooked and served specifically for starting or breaking a fast.
Each Muslim country has its own unique cuisine and it can be a wonderful experience to join the locals while they break the fast at the end of the day. It totally depends upon in which Muslim country you are in but there a few food items that you will find on the tables of most Muslims during Ramadan. First are the dates, mostly eaten raw but there a few delicacies that can be found in different countries, for example in Pakistan people fill the dates with cream, almonds and nuts.
If you are in Northern Africa, especially Morocco then you’ll find a lot of food stalls in the streets of its cities selling Chebakiya, a sweet pretzel that is deep fried and then colored red using the food colors to make it even more desirable. In India and Pakistan you will find pretty much the same Chebakiya by the name of Jalebi just with a slightly different reddish orange color. In Algeria and some parts of Morocco a special Ramadan soup called Harrira is a must during each fast breaking, it’s a delicious soup made up of vegetables and lamb stock with a tomato paste.
The scorching heat of Africa and Asia takes its toll on the ones fasting so they require quite a lot of drinks to get their energies back at Iftar or the breaking of the fast. In Pakistan a few sweet syrup based drinks are common which are often mixed with milk to provide ample energy after a long day of fasting.
In Egypt the Mint tea is part of the culture so it’s a must part of the food served at iftar as well. So yes travelling to a Muslim country in Ramadan has its limitations but if you learn to respect the local beliefs and culture you may have a wonderful time during your vacation.