Dubai: The delicious aroma of mouth-watering dishes waft from the streets of Dubai and Sharjah immediately after the Azhar prayer gets over at the mosques during the holy month of Ramadan. The exhibition and sale of food on way side eateries had been banned in the last two years due to the COVID-19 restrictions. However, this year the hotels and the customers are delighted to enjoy a fabulous community time.
Samosa, the hero
The eateries run by Keralites, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis are known for their makeshift stalls where various kinds of iftar dishes are served. Like always, samosa is the star among the iftar snacks, this year too. Everyone seems to enjoy the humble samosa with the delicious filling inside the crunchy puff pastry. From the regular chicken and mutton samosa to the special keema, vegetable and the slightly bigger Punjabi samosa, there are takers for everything.
Kunji pathiri sold at the Malayali restaurants is a favourite of the natives too. Besides, chicken roll, meat pathiri, meat ada, ilayada, banana fritters, potato fritters, onion fritters, chili fritters, chicken fritters, unnakaya, kallumakaya, sukhiyan, masala bonda, sweet bonda, pazham nirachathu and egg puffs are some of the items that have high demand at the eateries run by Keralites. A single piece of these snacks cost between AED 1-3. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, most of these food items were sold for just one dirham. There are many who order these delicious oil fried snacks on the previous day for the grand iftar parties.
The snacks from Pakistan and Bangladesh are almost similar. Pakkuvada, potato keema, chappal kebab, kachori, potato chips and dahi vada are some of their special items. Feni, kajala and falooda too are in demand during the Ramadan season. Feni is prepared by frying vermicelli in sweetened oil. Kajala cooked with all purpose flour and sugar is also a favourite among many. Dahi vada made by mixing yoghurt and peanuts, pakkuvada, special falooda and jalebi are some of the other popular snacks.
Besides people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, many from the Philippines too throng to these eateries. Keralites who do not observe fast too are eager to buy these ‘local’ snacks as they wish to enjoy the flavours of their homeland. Even though all these snacks are served in the Indian restaurants at all the time, they are available in great quantity and quality during the month of Ramadan.
The hotels should follow strict health guidelines and the snacks have to be exhibited in clean glass cupboards. The officials from the Dubai municipality conducts regular inspections. Those who break these rules would be slapped with hefty fines and other penalties.