Iftar on the go: Dubai snack seller often feeds customers before himself

In the last 15 years, Hyder has only spent one Ramadan with his family

By Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sat 23 Apr 2022, 6:46 PM

For Mohammed Hyder, Iftar is always a mad rush, but the cafeteria worker says no two days are ever the same.

“Some days, we get time to sit down and eat in a leisurely manner. But some days, just as we are set to end our fast, a customer in a car will honk for tea or snacks, or a customer will walk in to buy something, and we leave have to rush to deliver snacks to them,” says the staff who works at a eatery in Bur Dubai.

Hyder, who hails from the southern Indian state of Kerala, has been working at the eatery for 15 years now and says nothing beats Ramadan.

“We sell snacks throughout the year, but Ramadan and the two Eids are our busiest times,” he said. “Our day starts at 11am. There is a lot of demand for our raw samosa patty which customers take home to fry for Iftar. We sell them in cartons and orders come pouring in from every emirate. Our biggest selling point is good quality and good price. A lot of restaurants buy from us as well,” he revealed.

The shelves outside the cafeteria start filling up by 4pm. “We sell samosas, bhajias (fried vegetable fritters), banana fritters, parippuvada (Indian snack made of lentils), jalebis (Indian sweet) and a lot more,” he said. “Since parking is a major problem in our area, our customers usually hail us while in the car and we have to be quick in delivering the snacks to them. Some come with casseroles, and we fill them up with tea. Our shop is open till 11pm and we usually have customers till the last minute,” he said.

In the last 15 years, Hyder said he has only spent just one Ramadan with his family. “Last year, I was able to go to India on the 28th of Ramadan,” he said. “I got three days of Ramadan with my family and it was a nice experience. I got to eat a lot of home-cooked food, get away from the stress of work, and enjoy the greenery of Kerala. I had almost forgotten what it felt like to be in India for Ramadan,” he told Khaleej Times.

Talking about Iftar here, he said: “Here, all staff have Iftar together. They are my family here and I enjoy ending my fast with them. We eat the snacks that we sell at our shop.


“Sometimes, we like to experiment and try out new things. So, we make small quantities of snacks just for us. Two such items that we tried became a big hit and we have introduced it in our cafeteria - cheese samosa and Chips Oman samosa. Since then, we have started experimenting with new items,”

Hyder is now looking forward to Eid. “Usually, Eid is when we get our biggest sale,” he said. “Right at the end of the lane where our shop is located, we have a temple and a mosque. During the Eid holidays, people from all over the UAE come here. We start our day at 8 in the morning and keep going till midnight during the three or four days of Eid holidays. The last two years, our business took a hit because of the pandemic. This year, I hope we can make up for it.”

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