Eid al-Fitr literally means “holiday of breaking the fast.” It comes after the month of Ramadan in which Muslims don’t eat when there is sunlight. So naturally this celebration is one big feast for everyone who can finally eat while the sun is still up. In several cultures, meals eaten during Eid are just bigger and fancier versions of the meals eaten every night during Ramadan. But there are also some special foods that really mark the holiday.

1. Maamoul

A plate filled with Mamoul biscuits and a smaller one with a full biscuit and a halved one
Image description: A plate filled with Mamoul biscuits and a smaller one with a full biscuit and a halved one

This shortbread cookie is primarily eaten Levantine countries like Syria and Lebanon. There are different variations of stuffing, usually dates, pistachios, or walnuts, and they are often covered in powdered sugar. Kleicha is a very similar cookie enjoyed in Iraq as well as kahk in Egypt and Sudan.

2. Cambaabur

Image description: Cambaabur, a Somali Eid bread with sprinkled sugar and yoghurt on top Source: mysomalifood.com

This is a Somali Eid bread similar to injera in texture but has different spices added to it. On Eid it’s typically served sweet with sprinkled sugar and topped with yogurt for a tangy contrast. This recipe is also very popular in Djibouti and may have originated there.

3. Sheer khurma

Image description: a bowl with sheer khurma

Literally translated as “milk with dates,” sheer khurma is also known as semai in Bangladesh. This sweet vermicelli dessert is an Eid favorite in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. It’s prepared with vermicelli, milk, sugar, dates and, depending on the country, pistachios, almonds, and/or raisins.

4. Tajine

A table laid out with cutlery sets and various plates with appetizers such as samosas, berries, and salad, and a big plate of Tajine.

Eid al-Fitr isn’t just marked by elaborate desserts. Big, grand, meat dishes are also prepared in several countries on Eid. Tajine is one of those dishes often served in North African countries like Morocco and Algeria. It is a slow-cooked stew prepared with some sort of meat (often lamb or beef), with vegetables and/or fruits like plums and apricots.

5. Doro wat

Image description: bowl of Doro wat

This is a hearty Ethiopian stew or curry prepared with chicken and is typically eaten with the classic sourdough-tasting bread, injera. It is typically served on a communal dish allowing everyone to dig in and enjoy both the food and the company.

6. Lokum

Image description: A platter with 3 glasses of tea and lots of Turkish delight.

What we know in English as “Turkish delight,” lokum is a favorite for holidays like Eid in Turkey. This gel-like dessert is a combination of starch, sugar, and other fillings like dates, pistachios, and walnuts. Tastes good and is also one of the most beautiful Eid desserts as it can come in many different colors.

7. Tufahija

Image description: a platter with Turkish coffee and sugar, and a desert glass with Tufahija

Tufahija is a dessert enjoyed by several Bosnians on Eid. It’s poached apple drenched in sugar and stuffed with walnut. It is often served elaborately in a large individual glass filled with syrup and topped with whipped cream. A very sweet way of celebrating the end of the fast.

8. Manti

Image description: a dish full of Manti dumplings

These dumplings are a traditional Russian Eid al Fitr food, though they can be found all over the world. It’s thought to originate in what we now know as China and is a part of Afghan, Armenian, Turkish, Bosnian, and central Asian cuisine. They’re usually stuffed with spiced lamb or beef and size and shape varies across regions.

9. Bolani

Image description: a serving plate with Bolani

Bolani is one of those dishes enjoyed throughout Ramadan and still eaten on Eid al Fitr and throughout other special occasions year-round. Found in Afghanistan, it is a thin-crusted bread with a vegetable filling, stuffed with foods like potatoes, lentils, or pumpkin and can be served with yogurt. It’s typically served as a side or appetizer, though it can be eaten as a main dish.

10. Lapis legit

Image description: A closeup of Lapis legit stacked against one another.

This is an Indonesian take on traditional Dutch layer cakes that was developed during colonial times. It’s made like a typical cake with flour, butter, and eggs, but contains Indonesian spices like cardamom and clove. It takes a lot of effort to prepare the cake and so is seen as a delicacy to eat on special occasions.

11. Beef Rendang

Image description: a closeup of a dish of Beef Rendang with a spoon in it.

This spicy main course is an Eid classic in Malaysia. It originated with the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia that saw the dish as an embodiment of the society’s culture with the meat symbolizing the leaders/royalty/elders, coconut milk the teachers and writers, chili the religious leaders, and the spice mixture the rest of society.

12. Spice cookies

Image description: Cookies with Eid Mubarak decorative icing on it.

In the United States, most Muslims celebrate Eid by going out to eat at restaurants with large groups of friends and family. But a new trend taken up by American Muslims is making spice cookies (think Christmas gingerbread) but in a more Eid-festive way by using crescent moon and mosque cookie cutters.

As you can tell, there’s no such thing as traditional Muslim holiday food with Muslims coming from a variety of cultural backgrounds that aren’t even all encompassed by this list. But one thing is for sure across all countries, the food on Eid al-Fitr is always stuffing and delicious.

  • Talah Bakdash

    Talah Bakdash is a current undergraduate at Emory University studying creative writing and psychology. Middle Eastern Midwesterner as she is, she most enjoys reading The Things They Carried while listening to Fairouz on her deck overlooking Kansas flatlands. With this, she is passionate about stories, whether they come in the form of a war novel, a 1960s Arabic song, or a conversation over black tea.