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Where to Break Your Fast During Ramadan

Here’s a list of restaurants that serve iftar for Muslims during the month-long holy holiday.


Assorted Yemeni specialties from House of Mandi, including lamb mandi and sabaya. Photo courtesy of House of Mandi
 

It’s time once again for the celebration of Ramadan, a holy month of worship, study of the Quran, prayer and fasting for Muslims everywhere. 


Ramadan occurs during the lunar month that Muslims believe the Quran began to be revealed to the prophet Muhammad. This year’s Ramadan commences with the arrival of the new moon on March 10 and ends April 9.

 

During Ramadan, Muslims take time to connect with their spirituality and Allah, fasting from sunrise to sunset every day for 30 days. When the sun sets, it’s time for continued prayer and a special dinner called the iftar. Iftars are feasts that end the day’s fast, usually in community gatherings. It is important to eat a well-balanced meal for Iftar, since it’s the only meal of the day for a month. 


What are some of the fundamentals of a traditional iftar? We asked chef Imran Ali Mookhi of Khan Saab Desi Craft Kitchen in Fullerton to share his insights on the meal.


“(Ramadan) plays a big role in our culture, in our community,” Mookhi said. “A typical iftar meal depends on which region you are in. In Pakistan and India, most of the people (begin the meal) with dates. It has been said that dates and salt are the best ways to open your (iftar).”


Dates are a source of natural sugar, vitamins and minerals, so they can quickly reduce the fatigue that fasting can cause. They are alkaline, which helps to balance the acids in the stomach after a full day of fasting. 


“And then after that, most …  people like to drink this rosewater drink,” Mookhi said. “It’s made with rose petals. It’s called rooh afza. It’s sweet and it’s watery. If you have a sip of it, you can actually feel that the water of that rose incense is going down to your body.” 


Nutritionists say that proper hydration is crucial to ending a fast properly. Rooh afza’s natural ingredients are believed to help reduce body heat and improve digestion.


“Surprisingly, fried items play a big role in (iftar), too,” Mookhi said. “Fruits are popular too.”


Mookhi and other iftar experts recommend moderation. For the first couple of days of Ramadan, it’s tempting to overeat at iftar before your body gets used to the periodic fasting cycle. But one benefit of fasting is regulating insulin and giving the digestive system a break. Many nutritionists believe the health benefits of intermittent fasting are worth the effort.


Here are some restaurants serving iftar in Orange County:


Chana bhatura (spiced chickpea, garlic oil, wok-fried bread) is on the curry menu at Khan Saab. Photo courtesy of Khan Saab
Khan Saab

When: Nightly, March 10- April 9


Where: 229 East Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton 

Contact: 714-853-1081 or khansaaboc.com


Khan Saab offers complimentary dates, rosewater and fruit to all fasters, and will accommodate special requests for things like fritters for catering orders. Helmed by executive chef Mookhi, Khan Saab is a unique upscale halal eatery in Fullerton. Its flavorful menu is crafted with the mission of elevating the presentation of Desi cuisine in the West. Mookhi, who was born in Pakistan and moved to Los Angeles alone at the age of 17, has faced challenges throughout his journey. But he hasn’t let these hardships disrupt his culinary vision, and it has paid off: His restaurant received the lauded Michelin Bib Gourmand Award in 2021 and 2023. Mookhi recently opened his second restaurant, Shor, in Hawaiian Gardens. 


A spread of authenitic Turkish food, including pide (Turkish boat), sarma beyte (grilled on a skewer and served wrapped in lavash and topped with tomato sauce and yogurt), baklava and beef döner. Photo courtesy of Koftegi
Koftegi Turkish Grill And Bakery 

When: Monday, Wednesday-Sunday, March 10- April 9 

Where: 816 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim

Contact: 714-635-4353 or koftegi.com


Koftegi Turkish Grill and Bakery offers authentic Turkish dishes, baked goods and desserts. Enjoy köfte (mini meat patties), döner (vertically grilled meat), pide (baked bread boats with meat, cheese or both), Turkish baklava (sweet pistachio phyllo pastry) and many more traditional Turkish items. Koftegi is offering a $35 all-you-can-eat buffet special for Ramadan. 


House of Mandi 

When: Nightly, March 10- April 9 

Where: 3800 S. Plaza Drive, Santa Ana 

Contact: 657-220-5272 or houseofmandianaheim.com


House of Mandi was founded by a small Yemeni family who loves like-minded foodies in O.C. Enjoy authentic Yemeni food and music in a unique place that features traditional Arabic seating. The menu includes fresh lamb, brought from the farm to the oven every day. 

House of Mandi offers a nightly buffet for iftar: $35 for adults, $15.99 for kids. 


Koshary, a traditional Egyptian vegetarian dish with lentils, rice and pasta served with tomato sauce. Photo courtesy of Cairo Restaurant and Cafe

Cairo Restaurant and Cafe 

When: Nightly, March 10- April 9 

Where: 10832 W. Katella Ave., Anaheim 

Contact: 714-999-8861 or cairooc.com


Cairo Restaurant and Cafe serves authentic Egyptian and Mediterranean delicacies including its popular grilled lamb chops plate, koshary (a traditional Egyptian vegetarian dish with lentils, rice and pasta served with tomato sauce), and stuffed pigeons with molokhia (a green soup made with minced jute leaves), rice and salad. The cost is $35 per adult; $15 for kids.


Popular at Bahar is tahchin, a tart and tangy oven-baked rice mixed with seasoned yogurt and egg yolk, garnished with barberries and served with shirazi (cucumber and tomato) salad. Photo courtesy of Bahar Restaurant

Bahar Restaurant

When: Nightly, March 10- April 9 

Where: 27771 Center Drive, Mission Viejo 

Contact: 949-340-1011 or baharrestaurant.com


Bahar Restaurant is situated atop Crown Valley Market in Mission Viejo. This hidden gem offers high-quality Mediterranean food made from scratch, complemented by a beautiful valley view. Popular items include tahchin with chicken kabob, a tart and tangy showstopper of oven-baked rice mixed with seasoned yogurt and egg yolk, garnished with barberries and served with shirazi (cucumber and tomato) salad; and fesenjoon, a delicious mixture of chicken breast and toasted walnuts in a rich pomegranate sauce, served with imported basmati and crispy rice. Vegetarian and catering options are available. 




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