UAE expats get taste of Ramadan traditional sweets - GulfToday

UAE expats get taste of Ramadan traditional sweets

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During Ramadan, immigrants reconnect with traditions from their homeland.

Nida Mohammed drove for more than an hour from Fujairah to Sharjah in the UAE just to buy special sweets and juices for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

She picks up her order of sharbet zbeeb, or raisin juice, a special drink taken to break the day-long fast.

The United Arab Emirates is home to more than nine million expatriates who hail from well over 100 countries and form 90 percent of the population.

During Ramadan, immigrants reconnect with traditions from their homeland, especially the rituals of breaking the fast and taking lots of traditional desserts and juices.

Muslims around the world refrain from eating and drinking between sunrise and sunset during Ramadan.

"Every country has its own culture when it comes to their desserts," especially for Ramadan, says Samer al-Kasir, the Syrian general manager of Al-Sultan sweets in Dubai.

"These sweets here are based on Syrian traditions," he says, pointing to a mosaic of sweets packaged neatly in a box.

'Tempting'

In Al-Satwa district of Dubai, Ahmed Naveed from Pakistan is standing in front of his family's shop taking orders for different kinds of samosa -- popular in many Asian countries.

Residents from all walks of life, including Emiratis, stood in line on the busy street to get their fried and baked pastries for iftar.

Qudsia Osman, who hails from India, was driving past with her mother when they decided to stop at the shop after being drawn in by the sight and scent of the food.

"It's very tempting. When we passed by and saw it, we got carried away with this food," Osman says, adding she is pleased the UAE included an array of communities to cater to the different cultures.

"I was born and brought up in Dubai... it is my home," she says.

Mohammed Shiraz, a Pakistani who has been living in the UAE for nearly 20 years, also considers the emirate his home.

"The UAE caters to the population," he says, explaining he enjoys the holy month in the Gulf state for all the Ramadan offers and promotions.

But for many, although the UAE has become their new home where they have started new traditions, the taste of home resonates with them.

"In the old days, it wasn't like now. Food preparations were done at home, including desserts," Abdelwahab says.

"My mom, of course, used to do it," he says. "Her food is still better than anything I've ever had."

Agence France-Presse