Community iftar: a melting pot of cultures

The iftar in the homes of Sustainable City is unlike any other in Dubai. Here, each day a Muslim resident invites the entire community to their home to end the fast together.

Recently awarded the ‘happiest community‘ in Dubai, Sustainable City on Al Qudra Road is home to 512 families from 73 nationalities.

“The residents in the community are socially active and are always planning on doing something to connect with each other,” said Hadeel Ahmad, communication director at The Sustainable City.

Learning experience

Indian expat Reshma Ahmad, who recently moved here, said she has hosted over 30 nationalities in the last two weeks. “There has been at least one family every day. I usually prepare Hyderabadi biryani along with other traditional dishes,” said the 32-year-old.

Nicole Walker with her guests.

American expat Nicole Mallick, 36, a long-time resident of the community, said she has already sampled 12 cuisines this Ramadan.

“I have tried some authentic Emirati, Egyptian, Sudanese, Moroccan, Pakistani, Iranian, Indonesian and Lebanese dishes since the beginning of Ramadan. It’s been an excellent learning experience for me and my kids as we experience different cultures,” she said.

Bonding over a meal

“I am so glad that my neighbours, who are from Norway and Sweden, joined us for iftar,” said Sireen, 43, who has been a resident of Sustainable City for over two years.

“I prepared a traditional Arabic dish known as freekeh, which is one of the main dishes we serve at iftars in Jordan. There were several side dishes too.”

Saudi Arabian expat Shatha Al Kaud, who offers free Arabic learning classes for the kids in the community, has hosted residents hailing from Colombia, Lebanon and China.

“Our friends even joined the family prayer and we had a wonderful time together. As for the food, I prepared eight main dishes including the warak al enab (stuffed vine leaves) and two desserts – lugaimat and rice pudding,” said the mother of two.

Nicole Walker, an Australian expat, served her guests a variety of Emirati dishes including stuffed lamb, fatoosh salad and regag (homemade bread). “My husband is Emirati but he is travelling at the moment. My kids and I hosted our neighbours, who are from Switzerland, India and Turkey, to join us for the evening,” said the 38-year-old who moved to the UAE in 2006.