Why I'd choose to break fast at home over restaurants or hotels any day this Ramadan
by Shamsydar Ani May 22, 2017
This Ramadhan, create and relive memories of past Ramadans with your loved ones at home when you make the effort to iftar together at home. This article is brought to you by GREAThai. GREAThai encourages families to create iftar memories at home.
Iftar, buka puasa, breaking fast. During Ramadan this 26 May to 24 June 2017, there will be a collective momentary silence at around 7pm when every Muslim takes their first bite after about 12 hours of fasting without food nor water. It is a happy occasion, one that signals joy over our base instinctive desire of hunger. Conquer that and you will have better control over any other baser traits - anger, desire, lust, jealousy, etc - that makes a person less civilised.
Looking back, there are a lot of memories of breaking fast at home; making it a point to rush home before the Maghrib (or sundown) call to prayer commences to help out with my mum, and just making it home in time to eat with the rest of the family. The home dinner table seems to be where most of the memories of Ramadan are made. Here, I'd like to share with you five of mine.
Memory 1: I secretly ate one grain of rice on my first ever day of fasting
GREAThai Ramadan Set for 2
On my very first day of my fast when I was five, I helped my big family get the dinner table ready for iftar (break fast meal). I transferred dishes from the kitchen to the table - the tempting Ayam Masak Merah, or literally translated to Chicken Cooked in Red where we had pieces of chicken cooked in red tomato gravy and the steam wafting off the sweet white rice. It turns out everything tends to look really good when you're fasting. Even the rice. Plain and unsuspecting looking. Until it's set in front of you but can't eat it. That slight hazy steam of freshly cooked rice. The gleaming white pearly grain. That is the exact moment when I realised white rice was desirable to me, and I didn't even need any dishes to go with it. Even one spoon...no, just one teeny bite... would... be enough. I reached my hand out and picked up a tiny grain of rice and popped it in my mouth because I remember being so, so hungry. It was just a tiny grain. I thought then, no one would know. Still for a moment, I wondered if God would be mad at me. It was enough to give me that last burst of mental energy I needed to last an hour more of fasting. That night, when I prayed, I think God understood. I remember my first guilty memory of stealing food during Ramadan. We all have memories like that, don't we?
Memory 2: The kitchen was my mother's domain, and so home-cooked food was her product of love for us.
Deep Fried Seabass with Mango
We rarely ate out when I was younger because it was just too expensive for a family of seven - plus it was simply a logistical nightmare. The kitchen belonged to my mother, and we were rarely allowed in when she was cooking. Yet, food was always ready on the stove when I came back from school. During Ramadhan, I remember peering bleary eyed at my mother while she laid out food for Sahur, our pre-dawn meal. She was always the first one up. Most of the time, we ate leftovers from last night’s iftar, but it was always served piping hot, even while the rest of us were deep in slumber and didn't enter the kitchen.
Memory 3: The quiet hungry pause while waiting for the azan (call to prayer)
You would get a free chicken porridge with every order of two or four set Iftar meal at GREAThai! One of the clearest memories I can remember is the memory of the dinner table in my head, and how big it looked like as a child. There was the clanking of tableware being taken out of the cupboard, the tinkle of glasses as they came in contact with the cutlery and the occasional yelling of my mother calling us out to help her out in the kitchen - even though I also remember distinctly that she also yelled at us to get out when we did try to help. Then there is the wait around the table after setting it, and everyone has got their plates loaded up with rice and dishes while waiting for the azan to signify time to break fast. We piled ayam masak merah, sayur bayam (spinach), sup fishball (fishball soup) and all the numerous dishes my mum somehow conjured from her magic kitchen. We had this large clunky radio in the past, with the dial turned to Radio Warna in the background that we played only on Ramadan because we needed the Maghrib azan, to signal the time to break our fast. Usually there will be the few traffic announcements, some advertisements, and some Islamic songs that plays every day before the azan. Every. Single. Day. Come the end of Ramadan, we could practically sing along to every song and tune already.
When the call to prayer is heard over the radio, sometimes I get momentarily confused as to what to eat first. It's like your eyes are greedily eyeing everything but your stomach isn't ready for the sudden influx yet! So we'd usually refrain ourselves and start with a couple of dates and some light food. Some of the family members would take this time to excuse themselves to pray their Maghrib (sunset prayers) before joining in the rest of the feast so they can take more time to eat leisurely.
Memory 4: No fighting around the dinner table please!... and other rules around the table
Food was diplomacy for my family. Growing up in a large family has its challenges, especially with four girls and a boy. Us girls were almost always bickering, but when it was time to eat as a family, everyone sat down and ate in silence. It was an unspoken rule that no arguments or fights were allowed over the dinner table, especially in front of ‘rezeki’, or sustenance in other words. It was my family’s way of respecting what God has blessed upon us. So when it came to the dinner table, it became our peace zone.
[caption id="attachment_4788" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Imagine the whole lot of us dining out![/caption]
Memory 5: The first time we had food delivered in...fast food.
Thai Stuffed Chicken Wings from GREAThai
As we grew older and had the ability to spend a bit more, we ate more "outside" food at home. It was always considered a luxury but now we could indulge a bit more often! Back then, food deliveries consisted mostly of fast food - McDonald's, Pizza Hut, KFC or the likes of it. Each of them had their own jingle so we could easily memorise their numbers. Six two three five three five three five, pizza hut delivery ~ Do you still remember those jingles? Anyway, we always opted for this option whenever my mum didn't feel like cooking. Thankfully, food deliveries are now at our fingertips with apps available, compared to a five years ago when the only way for us to order was by calling in. While delivery apps like Deliveroo, FoodPanda, Oddle and UberEats make our lives a little less hectic, I also appreciate restaurants which make the effort to have an online menu available for customers to order from. Especially when their food tastes like home-cooked food and not just pastas and pizzas all the time for ordering in!
My eldest sister and I share a love for Thai food. Though we have a favourite Thai restaurant we head to for family gatherings, having Thai food delivered to our place for a big family dinner helps the planning a lot. Packed specifically for delivery, food from GREAThai stays fresh until it's ready to be served.
Ginger Chicken, a main dish from GREAThai
[caption id="attachment_4807" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Masamman Curry is served in GREAThai's Ramadhan Set of 4[/caption]
It takes effort to keep a family together, but having home-cooked food for iftar with family, makes it so much easier.
It has been a while since my entire family bonded over the dining table as my sisters now play the role of matriarch to their own individual families. For special occasions though, we try our best to come around the dinner table to eat together once more. I smile and laugh a little when I see my young nephews and nieces help to set the table, and volunteering to stir the pot of soup as they stand on a step stool. It won't be anytime soon that I start the tradition of cooking for my own little family so for now, I'm enjoying the scrumptious feast delivered right to our doorstep. I'm going to enjoy as much mango sticky rice as I want, all by myself. Thai Mango Sticky Rice
GREAThai's Ramadan sets makes your iftar preparations easier, and are available for orders or pickup this Ramadan.
The menu is hearty and affordable, a delicious and balanced meal of a variety of dishes, from your meats to your vegetables and from appetizers to your desserts. Your iftar meal is covered with just a click away without the hassle of thinking what to eat.
And if it's too much for iftar, you can keep what's left for a filling sahur too.
GREAThai's Ramadhan Set for Two (2 pax) comes with:
1. Two plates of Jasmine Rice 2. One Choice of Soup: a) Tom Yum Red Soup b) Tom Yum Clear Soup c) Sliced Chicken Soup 3. One choice of vegetables: a) Thai Styled Fried Kang Kong b) Thai Styled Fried Kailan c) Fried Mixed Vegetables 4. Choice of One Street Favourites: a) Deep Fried Chicken Wings (6 pieces) b) Deep Fried Tofu c) Thai Fish Cakes (4 piece) d) Hand Made Spring Roll (4 piece) e) Thai Roasted Chicken f) Thai Stuffed Chicken Wings (3 piece) 5. Choice of One Side Dish: a) Prawn Omelette b) Thai Fried Squid c) Sweet & Sour Fish d) Basil Beef e) Basil Chicken f) Yellow Ginger Chicken g) Honey Chicken 6. Choice of One Dessert: a) Mango Sticky Rice with Coconut b) Sweet Tapioca with Coconut Milk c) Coconut Ice Cream with Red Ruby d) Coconut Ice Cream with Red Bean Paste 7. Complimentary Dishes: 1. Dates 2. Porridge 3. Thai Custard Special for dine-in: $2 deal for additional drinks and dessert Complimentary Thai Custard with Sticky Rice **Free porridge & kurma for Iftar.
GREAThai's Ramadan set of 4 comes with the same options as above but for 4 pax, and with additional choices of one curry dish, one fish dish and an extra choice of dessert.
1. One Choice of Curry Dish: a) Green Curry Chicken b) Green Curry Seafood c) Massamann Curry Chicken 2. Choice of One Fish Dish: a) Steam Fish with Hot Lemon Sauce b) Deep Fried Fish with 3 Flavour Sauce c) Deep Fried Fish with Mango Sauce
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This article was sponsored by GREAThai. GREAThai serves authentic thai dishes with recipes prepared by chefs from Thailand. At GREAThai, you will get to taste the best of Thai using highest quality ingredients to provide a truly authentic Thai experience. They are halal-certified by MUIS.
GREAThai is located at 430 Upper Changi Road, Singapore 487048. For more information like contact details and opening hours, refer here. You can also get 10% off with the FRIENDS with halalfoodhunt.com card when you dine in at GREAThai with a minimum spend of $50.
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