'Without biryani, it doesn’t feel like Eid Al Fitr': UAE residents reveal plans for lavish feast, celebrations

Several restaurants in Dubai report rush for orders and takeaways in lead up to festival

File photo
File photo

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Thu 20 Apr 2023, 6:06 PM

Last updated: Thu 20 Apr 2023, 7:57 PM

As the holy month of Ramadan draws to an end, several homes across the country and preparing for Eid Al Fitr lunch with various plans. While some residents are planning made-from-scratch feasts, others are ordering in or conducting potluck gatherings.

For Iranian expat Hanan, usually Eid lunch is usually prepared from scratch by her mother and involves her parents, uncles and their families. “My mother cooks for all of us and the table is laden with rice, kababs, salads, sweets and of course Luqaimat,” she said. However, this year, lunch will be at her uncle’s house.

“There was a death in my uncle’s house, so it is customary for us to gather at his house this year.”

Meanwhile, restaurants in Dubai have reported a tremendous rush for orders and takeaways in the lead up to Eid. “Our orders for Eid day lunch are completely booked,” said Shehdaz from City Makani restaurant in Karama.

“In the morning, we have a special traditional breakfast that tries to recreate a family home in Kerala, complete with food, songs and dance.”

Other restaurants have also reported an influx of orders. “Starting from Thursday, we have seen great booking orders for takeaways of biryani,” said Sanjay Vazirani, CEO of Foodlink, which manages Art of Dum restaurant. “The rush continues unabated up to Monday as it's a time of celebrations. Since we are a cloud kitchen, we are able to accommodate a large number of orders and haven’t had to close orders as yet. Our speciality has been the Dum Phukt Biryani. We have also seen a great demand for Lucknowi Tundey Kababs and Firangi Chicken Tikka. Most of our customers prefer a combination order of biryanis and kebabs.”

Biryani, the common denominator

Irrespective of the cultures and backgrounds, the one common denominator for Eid seems to be biryani. “We have something like Arabic biryani,” said Hanan, who hails from the Bastakiyah region of Iran.

“My mother makes it with rice, meat and Arabic spices. Without biryani, it doesn’t feel like Eid.”

The mixed rice dish of biryani which is believed to have originated from the Indian subcontinent, is popular in various areas across the world with many countries customizing it to their own preferences.

South African national Sarah Tiry said that she usually celebrated Eid with friends. “We have a small group of Muslim South African expat families,” she said. “We get together at whoever has the biggest house, usually a villa. We order in biryani,and everyone makes a side dish or dessert for lunch.”

She said every Eid, she misses home. “In South Africa, we would greet our neighbors and then visit all the elderly family member and cousins,” she said. “Evenings are reserved for friends, who usually gathered together at our house when my grandparents were alive. I am grateful to have South African families here with whom I can celebrate as it makes it feel more homely.”

All in the family

Indian expat Umm Ahmed has ogranised an Eid day gathering of her close family members in her house, but she doesn’t cook. “My husband’s cousin Ashfak Ali is an amazing cook and makes the best biriyani,” she said.

“He insists on making lunch for the entire family. We do the shopping, and he does the cooking. For the last couple of years, he has been in charge of cooking Eid day lunch.”

According to her the rest of the family bring snacks, desserts, salads and other accompaniments to create a potluck lunch. On the second day of Eid, she gathers with her extended family of around 30 people, they usually order the food. “When there is a huge gathering, it is difficult to do potluck and so on,” she said.

“So, the best option is to get food catered.”


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