A Foreigner's Take On Google's Trending Ramadan Dishes
Our Mr.Fancypants didn't know iftar from sohour when Ramadan started, but by the time we're finished with him he'll be drinking sobya with the rest of us.
When we got information on the trending Ramadan dishes according to Google, I read the list aloud at our editorial meeting. I'd barely gotten through the first few words before everyone lost it. Once the laughter subsided, I tried to start again but was met with more outbursts. I'm not sure why, I was just pronouncing the words as best I could. Now I'm front of a camera, trying each dish, and entertaining everyone with my impeccable Arabic skills. I hope you guys enjoy this and please don't be offended, I'm a kafir after all.
Kunafa - الكنافة
Cheese for dessert? Awesome. This sticky, syrupy, crunchy dish is always welcome after iftar, that is when I’m invited to iftar by friends. Of all the variations on kunafa I’ve tried, my favoruite are the little bite-size ones because I don’t feel quite so bad devouring it when I can’t really keep track.
Fool - الفول
The first time I saw someone eating fool I believe I said, “wtf is that?” The fava bean paste is not something I would have referred to as aesthetically appetizing. Now, though, I don’t know what I would do without my morning fool iskandarani sandwich. It’s delicious, it’s nutritious, and it’s highly customisable. Perfect for an en masse sharing session with family and friends after sundown.
Qatayef - القطايف
These lovely little dumplings combine all the best qualities of cheese, nuts, and fried food. It’s no small wonder then that I have not been able to stop eating them as soon as they starting popping up during Ramadan. I had to cut back on the syrup and honey, though, because my beard was getting matted.
Qamar Al Din - قمر الدين
It’s apricot that comes in so many forms I can’t even keep track. Everything from fruit-roll-up type snacks to pudding and even drinkable yoghurt. Simple, but something about this stuff makes me want to plug it into an IV and pump it directly into my veins.
Basbousa - البسبوسة
This stuff is delicious in its simplicity. I didn’t know what semolina was, but after a brief session with Google I’ve got it. Who knew that just taking wheat and soaking it in simple syrup could be so amazing? Actually, that’s kind of obvious when I say it out loud.
Samboosak - السمبوسك
Tiny fried geometric pieces that you can fill with whatever you want? I’m in. My vote is just throw a big variety of them in a pile and let each bite be a surprise!
Tamarind - تمر هندي
I’ve become a real big fan of juice since coming to Egypt, but I don’t really know what to make of this stuff. Maybe I just got it raw and unadulterated, it definitely could have used some sugar or cinnamon or something.
Pasta baked in Béchamel - مكرونة بشاميل
Ok, this is easy, it's pasta with white sauce. Delicious and familiar.
Sobya - سوبيا
This stuff is like a melted coconut milkshake. If I was one for fasting, this would be the first thing I grab once the sun went down.
Stuffed vine leaves - محشي ورق العنب
Another easy one! I remember discovering these at Mediterranean restaurants back home and gorging myself. Each place had a different take on this classic, but this is the first time I’ve had the Egyptian version. Yay, multiculturalism!
Karkadeih - كركديه
Delicious hibiscus. Good thing I saved this for last after gorging myself on everything else. Hopefully the healing powers of this crimson beverage will help digest all the Ramadan cuisine I was just force fed.