A Ramadan food guide to New York City

New York isn’t known as a melting pot for nothing. It's a standout amongst the most diverse cities worldwide, with very distinctive religions. During the month of Ramadan Muslims living in New York City struggle to find new places that offer halal iftar options. The halal food trucks in each corner are not it! That’s why most turn to these halal eateries. Listed below we have highlighted some exciting new dishes from around the world right in Queens, NYC. This Ramadan, travel to some of these wonderful restaurants to satisfy your iftar cravings.

Stuffed Grape Leaves, Egypt (King of Falafel and Shawarma)

Stuffed grape leaves are generally called Dolma. It originated from the Ottoman Empire and some say it’s a traditional Egyptian dish. Dolma is a type of roll enveloped by cabbage or grape leaves loaded down with various vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplants. It’s also common to find them made with rice and meat. It is usually served in both cold and warm temperature with crushed lemon juice atop. King of Falafel and Shawarma been serving Astorians and people from all over the world since 2002. Their stuffed grape leaves are to die for!

Haleem, India (Haat Bazaar)

Loaded with delicate flavors and warm solace, this moderate cooked dish of lentils and meat accompanies varieties, but it is eaten during Ramadan for its filling. Distinctive locals use diverse flavors, yet all haleem contains wheat, grain, lentils, meat, especially kababchini (all spice) and ghee. The arrangement of haleem is viewed as workmanship as it is moderately cooked for quite a long time. The garnish incorporates fricasseed cashews, golden onions, and a sliced lime on top. You can try this famous dish at Haat Bazaar, located in the heart of Jackson Heights, between 37th Ave and 73rd Street.

Jalebi, Himalayan/Nepalese (Merit Kabab Palace)

Jalebi is made of deep fried flour batters in pretzel or round shapes, which are then absorbed in sugar syrup. This pastry can be served either warm or cold. To an extent, they have a chewy surface with a solidified sugary outside covering. Citrus extract or lime juice is at times added to the syrup, and rose water for the fragrance. Jalebi can be found in any South Asian populated borough but if you want the best, buy a box of jalebi this Ramadan at Merit Kabab Palace, situated at the corner of Jackson Heights and Roosevelt Ave.

Kabuli Pulao, Afghanistan (Balkh Shish Kabab House)

Kabuli pulao is cooked and customarily prepared with basmati rice, shredded lamb or chicken and beans. With a sprinkle of fragmented carrots, nuts and raisins its blend of spice and sweetness top it all. The colorful and rich texture of each ingredient is numbered the top exotic Afghan dish. Enjoy this royal treat of royals during the holy month of Ramadan! Truly a unique assortment of rice and nuts that will surely kick up your taste buds. Enjoy this slow cooked rice delicacy during Ramadan at Balkh Shish Kabab House near Ditmars.

Beguni, Piyajoo, and Biryani, Bangladesh (Aladdin)

The Piyajoo like the falafel made of lentils slashed onions and green chilies pursued by the Beguni, flimsy cuts of eggplant dunked in gram flour and afterward drenched in oil. Kacchi biryani, unrefined marinated meat is layered with crude rice before being cooked together. It is regularly cooked with chicken or goat meat and inconsistently with fish or prawns. The dish is cooked layered with the meat and a dahi-based marinade at the base of the cooking pot. A layer of rice (ordinarily basmati rice) is put over it. Before adding the rice layer at times potatoes are added. The pot is normally fixed (ordinarily with the wheat mixture) to enable it to cook in its own steam and it isn't opened until it is prepared to serve. You can find all the above delicacies in NY’s well known Bangladesh joint, Aladdin.


Gado Gado, Es Pokat and Es Teler, Indonesia (Upi Jaya)

Gado Gado is an Indonesian Extravaganza. The lip-smacking dish is usually prepared with spinach secured with veggies, tofu, and hardboiled eggs. A gingery nut sauce is sprinkled over the top. The crunchy, flavorful toppings add a finishing touch to the dish.  It's a salad and fried snack substitution during the month of Ramadan.

Es Pokat, and Teler are cold desserts that are made from jackfruit, coconut, smooth avocado blend, basil seeds, seaweed, milk, shaved ice & sweetened condensed milk.  From street hawkers to upscale café’s, it is enjoyed everywhere in Indonesia during the humid months of Ramadan and you can as well at Upi Jaya, located in the border of Woodside.

Falooda, Iran (Dosa Delight)

Served as a frozen yogurt sundae drift, the elements of this sweet dish are psyllium seeds, bubbled vermicelli, rose water, milk and sometimes, are topped with ice cream. The drink is hydrating and can get messy. Some may have a scoop of kulfi bobbing around the top, making both a straw and a spoon necessary. You will be delighted to give Falooda a try at Dosa Delight a gem hidden in Jackson Heights!

Pakora, Pakistan (Al Naimat)

Pakoras are delicious fried snacks mainly made during Ramadan. The main ingredients used are gram flour, spices, and ingredients like paneer and veggies. These addictive snacks hold a great aroma of besan and spices. The crispy, spicy pakoras are only found at Al-Naimat, situated at the border of Jackson Heights and Roosevelt Ave.

Luqaimat, Saudi Arabia (Al Shams)

It is a staple Ramadan dessert in Saudi Arabia, it is well known in Dubai as well. Despite these crunchy sweet dumplings being on the greasy side, in Ramadan, we all forget that part and can’t help gorging on it.  You'll find a luqaimat batter resting on the kitchen table of any Arabian household during the Holy Month of Ramadan and in Al Shams.

Mughuli, Afghanistan (Sami’s Kabab House)

Lamb Shank Mughuli is a customary dish of Afghanistan made of chicken or lamb served on a substantial platter over rice. There is a custom of eating this dish with the right hand while keeping the left hand at the back. To draw out the flavor from the bones it must be slow pressure cooked. The yogurt and spices will transform itself into a rich, deep, dark and flavourful gravy. The tender juicy and authentic bold flavor of lamb shank served over a bed of basmati rice, salads topped with all homemade sauces can be found at Sami’s Kabab House. A hidden treasure in Crescent St., Astoria!  

 Kanafeh, Jordan/Palestine (Al Shams Sweets)

Kanafeh is a customary middle eastern treat made with slender noodle-like baked goods, or on the other hand, fine semolina mixture, absorbed sweet sugar-based syrups, and commonly layered with sweet cheese, or with different fixings, for example, coagulated cream or nuts. This Ramadan treat yourself to something sweet and cheesy after iftar. Follow the sweet smell of honey and it will lead you to Al Shams located near the Al-Iman Mosque.


 Mishkaki, Kenya (Addy’s BBQ)

Mishkaki, presented with chicken, beef, or a blend of both. It comes sizzling on an iron plate something you could never find in Kenya. In its home country, mishkaki comes on a skewer: cubes of meat, onions, and tomatoes are flame broiled over charcoal. Every seller has a mystery marinade and gives sauces to various customer preferences, and it is normally eaten with naan bread. This is a staple Kenyan dish only available at Addy’s BBQ on Steinway.

Traditional food is something we anticipate most during holidays; it isn't harmful to experiment with somebody else's. Your taste buds will much oblige. These nine dishes are only an insignificant detail of a wide assortment of Ramadan culinary convention. If you’re fasting and salivating over these photographs, why not experiment with a dish from another nation for iftar? Stop by at any of these locations and enjoy to your heart's content. Ramadan Mubarak!

Ramadan food guide to New York City
Article Written By Iffath Choudhury
Photographs- Iffath Choudhury

Instagram: @iffyeats_16

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