Ramadhan, which is the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar, is soon coming to an end. It is well known that during this month, Muslims observe fasting from morning twilight (Fajr Prayer) to the evening twilight (Maghreb Prayer).
During this period, they abstain from drinking, eating and immoral acts while practicing acts of worship such as prayer and reading the Quran. The breaking of the fast at the end of the day occurs at sunset every day of Ramadhan. The feast gets even bigger in the last week of Ramadhan.
To Muslim, fasting is said to be an obligation and not an option. It is one of the five pillars on which Islam is built. The act is said to have a lot of benefits from personal to spiritual.
During breaking of the fast, which is one of the most notable points of the day during Ramadhan, Muslims always come together to share food by getting together and eat.
It is also during this time of Ramadhan, some places in the city have become famous for selling different types of food that Muslims and even non-Muslims can enjoy the Iftar. From streets to hotels, one cannot miss the various spots were Muslims break their fast. However, for many years some areas have become well known as places one can enjoy breaking the Iftar in a big way. And these joints get even more crowded in the last week of Ramadhan.
The streets of Kariakoo are some of those famous places that people can enjoy the Iftar. During a recent visit at the time of breaking the Iftar, Life & Style magazine came across a number of people sitting in groups enjoying their Iftar and confirmed that the numbers would swell in the last week of Ramadhan.
“This is a busy part of the city and apart from that, there are also people who are living around this area who are Muslims and so we try to accommodate those who can’t make it home on time to break the fast and even those who wish to eat out once in a while. Not only that, we also have non-Muslims who wish to enjoy the Iftar and at the end of the holy month, we do it in a big way,” explains Salim Mohamed, a food vendor in Kariakoo.
He says during time of Ramadhan, they receive a lot of customers, especially during the evening hours and most common food they sell are the food preferred by many to be eaten during the Ramadhan month, ‘ we sell all type of food from porridge to chapati and other variety of food that we know most people will enjoy eating when they come to break their fast especially in the last week which we make it a feast to remember.
Salim says during lunch they operate normally because they are doing business but in the evening they focus on customers who are fasting.
Other places that are famously known as best food joints during Ramadhan and get crowded in the last week of the holy month can be found at Magomeni Mwembechai, Dar es Salaam. With more than half of its populations Muslim, the place serves as one of the best joints where one can enjoy good food for Iftar.
“If you are looking to dine out you may want to consider coming to this part of the city. We have the best food joints especially during the evening because during the day most joints don’t sell food because majority of people living here are Muslims,” Says Mohamed Bakari, a restaurant owner in Magomeni Mwembechai
He says it is during this time when they receive a lot of customers Muslim to non-Muslims who comes to enjoy the Iftar, ‘sometimes people feel like having their Iftar outside their homes for a change and so they look for a place where they can do that. We serve dishes that we know they can enjoy which is a bit different from what they are used to and they love it,” says Mohamed.
Omar Hussein lives with his wife and other family members in Magomeni, Dar es Salaam. Each evening of Ramadhan they share meals with other family members and friends and then pray. Like all observant Muslims, Omar and his family fast from sunrise to sunset during this period.
Getting together is often difficult, but Omar’s family do their best to break the fast together sometime during Ramadhan, “Despite our busy schedule we always get time to enjoy the meal together as a family and sometimes with our neighbours and friends, with whatever God has blessed us with for the day. Home is where most Muslims enjoy breaking their fast, this is where we get to see other family members whom we haven’t seen for a long time,” says Omar.
Another food joint that those who wish to enjoy the last lap of Iftar and enjoy the best meals at the same time can be found at Sinza, which is also one of the place surrounded by a number of restaurants and hotels.
Walking along the road one cannot miss a number of advertisements on billboards placed on various restaurants showing that Iftar is served in those particular places. While majority of these hotels and restaurants continue to offer services during the day, come night they offer buffet for those who wish to break the Iftar.
“I enjoy coming here during this time of the month, I am not a Muslim but I have a number of friends who are Muslims and so we visit a number of places around here to break the fast, especially in the last week of Ramadhan. As college students we don’t have time to cook for ourselves and so we come here often together with Muslim friends to eat,” says Irene Joseph, a student from the Institute of social work.
Apart from the streets, some hotels in the city have been famous for selling Iftar during this holly month of Ramadan. DoubleTree by Hilton – Oysterbay is one of them. While one can enjoy the ambiance and contemporary decor design of the hotel, it also provides dates for those who wish to break the fast in the traditional manner. The hotel also provides a nicely marinated selection of dried fruit, with a full buffet that changes on a daily basis throughout Ramadhan. It is usually a must visit Iftar locations for those who visit Dar es Salaam and gets packed in the last week.
Serena Hotel in Dar-es-salaam is also one of the hotels which offers a sumptuous iftar buffet spread with live cooking stations as well as special traditional Arabic charcoal grilled meat selection. The iftar is offered in Serena’s newly refurbished Serengeti Restaurant that has well-lit ambiance, airy and reminiscent of a Safari Lodge. It is also worth visiting in this last week to sample it out before Ramadhan comes to an end.