Ramadan is a month-long period of fasting and spiritual reflection observed by Muslims around the world. In Lebanon, Ramadan is an important time for families and communities to come together and celebrate their faith. Throughout the month, people fast during the day and break their fast at sunset with an iftar meal, followed by a late-night meal called suhoor. In this article, we’ll explore Ramadan traditions in Lebanon, including iftar and suhoor culture, and some of the favorite dishes that are enjoyed during these meals.
Iftar Culture in Lebanon
In Lebanon, iftar is an important part of the daily routine during Ramadan. As the sun begins to set, people start preparing for the meal by setting the table with dates, fresh fruits, and other traditional foods. When the call to prayer is heard, families break their fast with a sip of water and a few dates, as is customary in the Islamic faith.
After this initial small meal, the main course is served, often starting with soup or salad, followed by a variety of dishes. Some popular dishes for iftar in Lebanon include fattoush, a salad made with toasted pita bread and fresh vegetables, kibbeh, a ground meat and bulgur wheat dish, and tabbouleh, a salad made with parsley, tomatoes, and bulgur wheat.
Another staple dish during iftar in Lebanon is shawarma, which consists of slow-cooked, marinated meat served in a wrap with vegetables and a variety of sauces. Other dishes include grilled meats, stews, and rice-based dishes.
Suhoor Culture in Lebanon
After iftar, many families in Lebanon will stay up late into the night to enjoy suhoor, the pre-dawn meal that is eaten before the start of the next day’s fast. Suhoor is typically a lighter meal than iftar, but it is still an important meal that provides sustenance for the long day ahead.
Some popular dishes for suhoor in Lebanon include manakeesh, a type of flatbread topped with cheese, za’atar, or meat, and foul moudamas, a dish made with fava beans and served with olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. Other dishes include eggs, cheese, and yogurt-based dishes, which are a good source of protein to keep you full throughout the day.
Favorite Iftar and Suhoor Dishes in Lebanon
Some of the most popular dishes during Ramadan in Lebanon include:
Fattoush: A salad made with toasted pita bread, fresh vegetables, and a tangy dressing.
Kibbeh: A ground meat and bulgur wheat dish that is often fried and served as a snack or appetizer.
Tabbouleh: A salad made with parsley, tomatoes, and bulgur wheat that is often served as a side dish.
Shawarma: A slow-cooked, marinated meat served in a wrap with vegetables and sauces.
Manakeesh: A type of flatbread topped with cheese, za’atar, or meat.
Foul Moudamas: A dish made with fava beans and served with olive oil,
lemon juice, and spices.
Stews: Slow-cooked dishes made with meat and vegetables, often served with rice or bread.
Ramadan is an important time in Lebanon, where families and communities come together to observe their faith and celebrate with iftar and suhoor meals. These meals often feature traditional dishes that have been passed down through generations, and they serve as a way to bring people together and share in the joy of the season. Whether you are fasting or not, iftar and suhoor in Lebanon are not to be missed!
During Ramadan, many restaurants and hotels in Lebanon offer special menus for iftar and suhoor. These menus often include traditional Lebanese dishes, as well as other Middle Eastern and international cuisine. Here are some examples of the types of food that are typically offered:
Mezze: A selection of small dishes, including hummus, baba ghanoush, stuffed grape leaves, and falafel.
Soups: Hot soups such as lentil or chicken noodle soup are popular during iftar.
Main dishes: Popular Lebanese main dishes such as kibbeh, shawarma, and grilled meats are often served.
Desserts: Sweet treats such as baklava, halva, and qatayef (a type of stuffed pastry) are commonly served.
Manakeesh: Flatbread topped with cheese, za’atar, or meat.
Foul Moudamas: A dish made with fava beans and served with olive oil, lemon juice, and spices.
Omelets: Egg dishes with a variety of fillings such as cheese, vegetables, and meats.
Yogurt-based dishes: Yogurt mixed with herbs, cucumber, and garlic is a popular dish for suhoor.
Fresh fruit: A variety of fresh fruits such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes are commonly served.
Overall, the food offered during iftar and suhoor in Lebanon is often a mix of traditional Lebanese cuisine and other Middle Eastern and international dishes. Many restaurants and hotels offer buffet-style meals, allowing diners to sample a wide variety of dishes. These meals are often accompanied by drinks such as fresh juice, tea, and coffee.
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