It’s my first Ramadan as a new vegan this year, and I was unsure about how the traditionally meat-heavy iftars would fit into my new dietary requirements. Turns out, I didn’t have much cause for concern.
Yes, iftars are still very meat and dairy-heavy, but there are feast-worthy vegan options at most of them. And some, like the Saraya Ramadan Tent at the Gate Village in DIFC, will go out of the way to ensure you have all the proteins and right sustenance you need for your big meal of the day.
Managed by the Jebel Ali Golf Resort Dubai, this beautifully decorated stand-alone tent can seat up to 600 people, complete with multiple giant screens, including the essential VIP sections, a private majlis for large groups and super attentive staff.
Iftar is a la carte (the menu changes daily), which can be a blessing for someone like my dining companion who was fasting. Once the azaan prayer begins, our table is immediately laid out with a selection of cold mezze: hummus, tabbouleh, baba ghanous, muhamara, and many salads, both vegetarian and some with meat (mixed seafood, chicken caesar).
We’re asked for our choice of juices and soups, and before we knew it, our table was laid in a burst of colours and cute little dishes. I knew I had to make the most of this phase of the meal, because the main course would be mostly meat-based.
My meat-eating friends were in for a treat as they got the grilled seafood platter (shrimps, Nile perch and calamari) and the Arabic mixed grill (lamb chop, shish taouk and lamb kofta). For the dishes, they had their choices of mozzat muhammara (lamb with red sauce) or shish barak (meat dumplings in yoghurt sauce) or both. There was also chicken biryani and dal makhani served with bokhari rice.
I had the penne pasta with mushroom, without the cream, and one of my favourite rice dishes, the rice with vermicelli.
For desserts, while the vegan options are limited to the fruit salad, there was massive choice of goodies for the rest: mixed baklava, mango cheesecake, chocolate pistachio cake, malva pudding with coconut syrup and of course, umm ali — a dessert I truly miss. Can someone please invent a vegan version of umm ali soon?
What: Saraya Tent
Where: Gate Village, DIFC, Dubai.
Timings: Sunset until 8.45pm (suhoor from 9pm)
Price: Dh180 per person. (Dh120 minimum spend per person for suhoor).