With 20 per cent of the global population practising Islam, the foods that feature on the iftar table are varied
India: More than 130 million Muslims live in India, so Ramadan is a big deal, especially in certain regions. In the northern city of Hyderabad, fast is often broken with Hyderabad haleem. This variant of the traditional wheat porridge is a spicy, savoury concoction, usually served with lamb. Available at Mezbaan Hyderabad Restaurant, Bur Dubai (04 351 7863). Dhs12 (Thursdays only).
Iran: Sweet tea, naan and paneer are all popular, as is ash rashteh – a thick vegetable soup made from rice and lentils – and the obligatory mixed grill. Available at Shabestan, Radisson Blu Deira (04 205 7333). Ramadan buffet Dhs125.
Lebanon: We’re all pretty familiar with the Lebanese iftar. Mezze, including tabbouleh and houmous, play a big part, as do assorted grilled meats. Available at Al Hallab, Garhoud (04 282 3388). Ramadan buffet Dhs95 for adults, Dhs65 for children under 10.
Pakistan: No iftar in Pakistan is complete without samosas. In fact, during Ramadan, samosa stalls pop up throughout the country selling spicy versions of this fried, triangular delicacy. Available at Ravi’s, Satwa (04 331 5353). Dhs25 per kg.
Indonesia: In Indonesia, it’s traditional to break fast with kolak, a sweet soup made from coconut milk with pieces of banana and sweet potato. Available at Betawi Café, Karama (050 226 0889). Ramadan buffet Dhs55.
Egypt: It wouldn’t be Ramadan in Egypt without a healthy helping of foul medames (fava bean dip). While this is the main dish eaten to break fast, special drinks, sweets and mains also abound, such as molokheya, made with chicken and rice. Available at Abou El Sid, Mirdif City Centre (04 284 0040). Ramadan set menu Dhs125-150.