Iftar in Dhofar – Typical Food Choices

My short essays on cooking/ food in Dhofar are not meant to be exhaustive or prescriptive. From purchasing food, cooking, eating and doing formal interviews with Dhofari informants for over ten years, as well as academic inquiries, I am attempting to build up a general picture of Dhofari foodways, with the understanding that there are elements I am missing and there is a wide variety of practices between house-holds. When I write “Dhofari” I am referring to Omanis who live in Dhofar, although there are many people from different countries who live in Dhofar with their own food traditions. For more details, see: Foodways and Society in Dhofar, Oman

[image from Sono Moza, for full image see end of post – Vimto has become a steadfast of Iftar, some people hate it but it’s ubiquitous in Ramadan. It is usually served plain (mixed with water), but it can also be jazzed up, for example, as a ‘Vimto Mojito’ which has Vimto mixed with slices of lemon, sprigs of mint, ice and 7-Up or Sprite.]


  • Coffee (qahwa/ Arabic or Nescafe/ instant)
  • Juice, fresh or bottled
  • Laban (also spelled Leben; in English, buttermilk) Many people break their fast with laban and dates; they are usually the two items given out for free by restaurants and coffee shops at the Maghrib prayer, صلاة المغرب , during Ramadan
  • Tea (“red” [chai ahmar] black tea with only sugar added, “milk” [chai haleeb] black tea with canned milk and sugar, or karak is loose tea with spices and canned milk)
  • Vimto – the ‘signature’ drink of Ramadan
  • Water


  • Dates
  • Bananas, Grapes, Oranges, Watermelon
  • Fruit Salad


  • Sambosa سمبوس  (spicy vegetable, cheese or meat with vegetables)
  • Sandwiches
  • Shorba شوربة: ( Ramadan soup made with beef, vegetables and oats, sometimes with lemon)
  • Thareed ثريد : (light bread soaked in a beef or chicken sauce with spices)


  • Cake
  • Cheesecake
  • Creme Caramel
  • Custard مهلبية
  • Dumplings (stuffed with cheese, soaked in lemon and sugar syrup with cinnamon)
  • Kanafeh/ Kunafa
  • Luqaymat/ Loqeemat/ Loukoumades لقيمات/ لقمة القاضي (sweet dumplings dipped in sugar syrup)
  • Pancake خبز حوح
  • “Traditional Sweet” (pita bread soaked in milk and sugar and cardamom)

Dinner – usually between 10 p.m and 1 a.m

  • Macaroni with tomatoes, meat, chicken or fish, with spices
  • Rice and meat/chicken
  • Drinks and sweets

Suhoor – before sunrise

  • Rice with meat or chicken with samn (claried butter)
  • Soup
  • Thareed ثريد : (light bread soaked in a beef or chicken sauce with spices)
  • Drinks

Ramadan Traditions in Dhofar

  • Qatil alhanash – “kill the snake” [snake as metaphor for hunger, I have been told this is a tradition from Salalah, which has been adopted by some groups who do not live in the city] – a party before before Ramadan to ‘fatten up’ before fasting, a chance for groups to meet before the holy month during which the focus is on religion. Women might have four of five parties, for example with a group of friends from high school or college, with female cousins, with work colleagues, with neighbors, etc. Sometimes extended families plan together and have a very large party.
  • A lot of joking about how, at the first Iftars, there is a huge range of food choices but the choices decreases as Ramadan goes on so that in the last nights there are only dates, sambosas and Vimto.

[from social media]