Muslims fast during Ramadhan from sunrise to sunset, forgoing all physical demands such as food and liquids. The fast is broken each day with a meal known as iftar.
Iftar has been a custom since the seventh century, during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). There is a tradition among Muslims that the Prophet Muhammad would break his fast with dates and water. By declaring, “My people will continue on the right road as long as they hasten to break the fast,” the Prophet Muhammad explicitly underlined the significance of breaking the fast at the earliest opportunity.
Muslims place a great deal of significance on iftar since it is a time when families and communities can come together to break the fast. It’s a season for giving, sharing, and expressing appreciation. Iftar is frequently held in mosques or other public spaces and is a common event in nations with a majority of Muslims.
With the rise of social media, iftar has acquired a new dimension in recent years. Social media has become a platform for Muslims worldwide to connect and spread the spirit of Ramadhan by sharing their iftar experiences.
As Ramadhan sets in and is backed by a lack of public Iftars, hotels in the city are vying to offer the best iftar and Suhoor experiences, and indeed, the hotels in Muscat have customized their menus to the culinary choices of different ethnic backgrounds.
With the opening up of travel and tourism to a wider audience post Covid and people travelling largely, it is the hospitality sector that benefits heavily, and with the holy month setting in, the sector is heaving a sigh of relief that the scars inflicted by the pandemic are gradually being healed.
For all foodies, the chefs of these hotels are offering an impeccable iftar that will mark an exquisite gourmet experience this Ramadhan. The Arabic and international-inspired Iftar buffets available in the hotel, carefully created by its professional culinary team, present a Ramadhan feast offering an unforgettable combination of authentic Middle Eastern and international cuisines under one roof.
“We always thrive to offer diverse and lavish Iftar buffets that may tempt even the non-fasters,” says Samir Messaoudi, General Manager of Sheraton Oman.
“We are looking forward to welcoming our guests and offering them an unforgettable experience with a collection of unique culinary options. Guests can enjoy authentic oud melodies throughout the holy month against a perfect backdrop.”
As of late, the iftar offerings across different hotels and restaurants in the country vary, and depending on how much one can afford, the offerings also become more lavish.
Guests can experience an Iftar culinary journey at Al Bustan Palace’s Al Khiran Kitchen for RO 24 net per person, featuring cuisines from countries beyond Oman including Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Morocco and much more from 6:30 pm till 10:30 pm. For Suhoor, visitors can kick start each day of fasting with a special Suhoor menu at the hotel’s ‘Layali Ramadan’ over the scenic beach views from 8:30 pm till 2:00 am with daily live entertainment from 9:00 pm till midnight.
“This year, Ramadan at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah will be exceptional as we bring in incredible and authentic flavours from the region with the expertise of our multi-talented Chefs. Our guests will witness an enhanced iftar experience complemented by traditional Oud performances and dazzling decor to make it even more celebratory. In line with the Ramadan spirit of giving and sharing, our resort will also be spreading some joys with lots of contests to unlock stays and dining experiences at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah” commented René D Egle, the Area General Manager of Shangri-La Barr al Jissah and Shangri- La Al Husn, Muscat.
Al Tanoor restaurant is serving a delicious Iftar buffet, featuring a host of delectable traditional Ramadan delicacies inspired by local, regional, and international cuisines, from Maghrib prayer onwards. The extensive buffet spread that costs OMR22 will showcase live and à la minute stations including hot and cold mezze, Omani specials, a variety of regional dishes, mixed grill, and classic desserts, along with traditional Ramadan beverages and live entertainment such as Oud players.
As dining also extends to Suhoor, there are also numerous Layalina Tents popping up, not just in Al Bustan Palace and Shangri-La but also among other smaller hotels that still want to take advantage of the cooler weather with a variety of food available for guests to enjoy, including shish tawook, kebab meshui lahem meshui and assorted hot and cold mezzeh selections, along with the tunes of traditional entertainment paired with favourite scented flavours.
Going that extra mile, the Jumeirah Muscat Bay Hotel, one of the newest properties in town, has launched an innovative idea of delivering iftar and suhoor at home.
“Our guests can also experience a taste of Jumeirah Muscat Bay’s Iftar delicacies from the comfort of their homes. From hot and cold mezzi to authentic Lamb or Chicken Ouzi and Umm Ali, there are many options to relish through a specially curated iftar menu for family and friends to enjoy,” a spokesperson from the hotel said.
“We are getting a great response ever since we announced delectable iftar offers to enjoy and celebrate the blessed month with loved ones with the beginning of the holy month. One can experience a unique Ramadhan atmosphere under the stars at our hotel with enchanting ocean views, the melody of the oud, and exquisite dishes including live cooking stations, gourmet desserts, and beverages to savour,” she adds.
Outside of these luxury settings, smaller restaurants are also taking the opportunity to diversify their offering as the taste of iftar diners become more demanding. For these smaller restaurants, there’s always date and laban to break the fast and a great selection of grilled meat and fish is always on display, including vegetable options for those wanting to stay healthy.
International desserts, freshly prepared by the talented international pastry team covering dates pudding, Umm Ali, Cheese Kunafa as well as dark chocolate cake, and fruit tarts are almost classic additions to the offering.
“The factors that play an advantage to the hotels in the country in the second Ramadhan post Covid-19 are many,” says Mohammed Ali, a travel facilitator in Ruwi.
“The way the world opened up after the fear of the pandemic disappeared to a great extent and people began to travel are the most important reasons. Added to it, lack of public Iftars in and around the city is yet another reason why hotels are witnessing a huge number of believers depending upon them for iftar and Suhoor these days,” adds Mohammed.