‘Ful’ an essential part of the iftar meal in Makkah

Customers stand in line to buy ful outside a shop in Makkah.

Customers stand in line to buy ful outside a shop in Makkah.

Housewives start displaying their talents during Ramadan by preparing meals that are traditional to this month. Most Makkan tables, if not all, have traditional meals once the call to breaking fast is given from mosques across the holy city.

Many of these meals are prepared at home but a lot of people crowd retail stores just before iftar to buy them which points to the relationship between Makkans and these food types; sambusak, ful, or fava beans, soup and subiya are among the most familiar types.

Saddam Abbas, a worker in a popular restaurant selling ful, said demand increases during Ramadan; many fasting people crowd the restaurant which makes double the usual amount. Crowds come to the store every day until the end of the holy month. As Iftar time approaches people start pushing and shoving to get their dishes.

Sixty-year-old Hashim Bashmakh said Ramadan is a month of worship and getting closer to Allah by doing charity work, and people like to eat certain types of food during the month. There are three types of Ramadan food that are usually found on the table in all Makkan homes, such as ful, soup, sambusak and subiya.

Badour Al-Qurashi said Makkan iftar banquets always includes, ful, sambusak and subiya. She confirmed that she has had these three dishes ever since she can remember during Ramadan. She said there are other foods such as sweet dumplings, cream and milk pudding.

Bashayer Al-Shanbari said Makkah is famous for its traditional meals in Ramadan, at the top of which is soup, sambusak, mento and farmouza. These dishes have always existed on their table in Ramadan. “I personally won’t give up the sambusak or farmouza,” she said.

Nada Al-Masri said she always has these meals during Ramadan, in addition to Mabkhar and Zamzam water. “These present the Ramadan atmosphere and we cling to it to remind us of our beautiful past.”

Asrar Al-Shanbari says ful, soup, mento and famouza are fixed dishes during Ramadan, because they connect us with our forefathers and their traditions, and we will instill these customs in our children.

Asayil Al-Ghamdi said food traditions differ from one area to another, and some might criticize the presence of some food types such as ful, and others, mostly non-Makkans might be surprised for its presence on the Iftar table. It’s mostly a fixed food like bread and there is overcrowding in restaurants before sundown to get their plates from restaurants.


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