PUNE: Kiran Dalvi, an engineer from Nigdi, travelled all the way to Kondhwa with his family to relish the mouth watering chicken and mutton dishes at Iftaar food stalls during Ramzan.
Rama Desai, a housewife from Aundh, came with her group of friends to Imdadi food stall for the fourth time this month, as there are so many dishes that a person cannot eat in a single outing.
These two are among the thousands of non-Muslim customers that Iftaar stalls feed during the month of Ramzan.
If owners of these stalls are to be believed, foodies from other religions, mostly Hindus, make up the major chunk of customers every year.
“We get around 1,500 customers every night from 7 pm onwards and around 70 per cent of them are non-Muslims,” said Sharif Ali Sheikh, owner of Sharif Caterers in Kondhwa.
He said the variety of non-vegetarian dishes that are made for Iftaar surpass the normal dishes that are available throughout the year. Desai, 56, has been visiting Iftaar stalls in Pune and Mumbai since last 10 years. “My sons took me out to eat the non-vegetarian delicacies for the first time back then. They had studied in Delhi and wanted me to try the Mughal era-inspired dishes.” She said it’s an interesting cultural experience to see how the Muslim community comes together and feasts after fasting during Ramzan.
“I can’t say for sure how many Muslims come here, but since I have been in this business for many years, I can safely say that Hindus and other communities visit in far more numbers.” Hafiz Sayed, a furniture store owner who had put up a grand food stall in Kondhwa, said normally, Hindu customers surpass Muslims at his Iftaar joint.
“Go to any restaurant that serves non-vegetarian food at any other time of the year, you won’t get items like chicken samosas, dalcha and other special preparations. It is only during Ramzan that these dishes are prepared.”
He said those who keep Roza (fast throughout the day) and are out in the market or want to go out with family are the only ones who come to Iftaar stalls to eat. “Otherwise, it’s a simple affair at home where food is home cooked and nutritious to make up for the fasting,” Sayyed added. But for those who don’t fast, it’s an open invitation to taste the innovative and delicious cuisine that is unique to Ramzan and Punekars are surely making the most of it.
During Ramzan, Muslims break their fast with Iftaar. Sakal Times explores eateries where people can get mouth-watering delicacies during this holy month