Dubai: Living away from their families and pressed for time, many bachelors observing Ramadan in the UAE rely on takeaways and home deliveries for iftar. For most of them, it is the sheer convenience and the wide variety of choices in eating out that makes cooking at home a distant option.
Egyptian expat Ahmed Hamdy, 38, who works as a marketing director, said he misses his family during Ramadan. “During the day, I am busy at work. For iftar, I rely on a restuarant. If I am too tired, I just order food home. Sometimes my friends invite me for iftar and suhoor. In Dubai, it is not so difficult for bachelors to spend Ramadan,” he added.
“If there is anything I miss, it is the presence of my family around me. We would definitely have spent a more traditional Ramadan had they been around.”
Indian expat Hussain Arif, 31, who works as an internal auditor for a private company in Dubai, said he is dependent mostly on home deliveries for his evening meal. “Meanehile my suhoor is really light. I have stocked up on some oats, yoghurt, chia seeds, nuts and honey. I make myself a bowl of oats in the morning. For iftar, again I eat light. I end my fast with dates, a cool drink like Jallab or Rooh Afza. I also enjoy rice cakes for a snack and I have bought those as well,” he added.
“For dinner, I order from Talabat or Zomato after praying. Sometimes friends invite me for iftar. I belong to the Bohra community and they usually have meals prepared for bachelors like me. That is really helpful. The Bohra community serves these packed meals at the mosque and I love to have it as it is like a home-cooked meal. There is rice, chicken and a sweet dish and it feels like being home for Ramadan.”
There are massive food discounts on iftar meals being provided by restaurants. This takes away a lot of pressure for many who are juggling work and their fasts. A quick scan of deals reveals that wholesome meals come for as low as Dh10 or Dh15. One such iftar meal offers rice, chicken, water, dates and fruits for a plate of Dh10. Another Iftar platter for Dh21 comes with fresh fruit juice, salad, dates, chicken garlic kabab (three pieces), chicken biryani, yoghurt, chicken curry and two pieces of breads.
If one is looking for a more elaborate iftar, high-end restaurants too have options a plenty. A deal from one such international outlet offers a huge spread for Dh215 per person.
“The UAE has added some amazing iftar deals that are wholesome and filling. They cater to a variety of taste buds and cultures. The meals are a good mix of carbs and proteins,” said Pakistani expat Yousaf Rizwan, 29, who depends on home deliveries during the weekdays.
“For iftar, I eat light and get a meal for just Dh15. After my late evening prayers I order a takeaway from a restaurant close to my place.”
Afghan businessman Mohammed Zahid, 28, who lives in a hotel apartment in Dubai, said: “I end my fast with food from restaurants and hotels. Sometimes, I am in a meeting while having iftar. I end my fast in the most practical way possible.”
Pakistani expat Bilal Ahmed, who works as a sales supervisor for a private company in Dubai, said he too relied a lot on eating out. Ahmed, whose family is back home in Pakistan, said: “Besides the fact that I don’t get to eat home food, I also miss the family bonding that happens big time during every Ramadan.”