This is What a Traditional Emirati Iftar Looks Like!

Want to learn more about Ramadan and the UAE culture? We recently went down to the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) in the Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood to experience their Ramadan Cultural Iftar. Not only were we treated to a traditional Emirati Iftar (which was delicious!), but we also got to learn about the significance of Ramadan.

Held in the courtyard of a wind-tower house, we enjoyed authentic Emirati dishes, listened to the Senior Cultural Presenter, Rashid Ahmed Al Tamimi, answer questions about Ramadan, and visited Diwan Mosque for a special educational tour.

Authentic Emirati food

If there’s one thing we’ll definitely be coming back for, it’s the food. From Chicken Machboos and Lamb Fareed to Harees and Lugaimat, we enjoyed a proper Emirati Iftar. Here are some of our favourite dishes…

Chicken Machboos: slow-cooked meat with lentils, black pepper, saffron, nutmeg and cumin

Chicken Saloona: chicken and seasonal vegetables cooked in a tomato broth – served with steamed rice

Harees: slow-cooked meat with wheat, spices and gee

Lamb Fareed: lamb and vegetables cooked in stock with thin Arabic bread mixed into the broth

Vegetable Margooga: vegetables, lentils and pasta cooked into the form of stew

Chicken Madrooba: chicken cooked in traditional spices with wheat

Lugaimat: deep-fried dumplings drizzled with date syrup

Need-to-know details:

When: Iftar starts around 30 minutes before the call to prayer every evening from the 19th May until 12th June, 2018

Where: Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, House 26, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, Bur Dubai


  • Tickets are AED 185 per person
  • Children 7-12 years are AED 90 per person
  • Under 6 years are free

How to book: You can book online here

For more information or to make a booking, visit the SMCCU website, call +971 4 353 6666, or email at

FAQs about Ramadan

Ever wondered why Muslims fast? If you’re curious to learn more about the Holy Month, here are some FAQs about Ramadan…

Q: What is Ramadan?

A: Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar and the holiest month for Muslims all around the world.

Q: How long does Ramadan last?

A: Ramadan lasts for one month, between 29 and 30 days, depending on the sighting of the new moon.

Q: Why do Muslims fast?

A: Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam making it mandatory. It is a Holy Month that involves purifying the mind and soul, practicing self-restraint, thinking about the less fortunate, and focusing more on prayer.

Q: What else should you be doing in Ramadan other than fasting?

A: As well as fasting, Ramadan is a time when Muslims should think about the unfortunate and give more to charity – whether that’s through donations or volunteering.

Q: What is Iftar and what is Suhoor?

A: Iftar is when Muslims break their fast which is when the sun sets (usually with water and dates). Suhoor is when Muslims have their last meal before the sun rises and the fasting day begins.

Ramadan Kareem!