Hari Raya Puasa, or Eid al-fitr is an important festival celebrated by Muslims globally including Singapore. Muslims in Singapore make up approximately 15% of the population. Hari Raya Puasa is celebrated after observing the holy month of Ramadan, a month of fasting and reflection.
Hari Raya Puasa is the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month in the Islamic lunar-based calendar. The morning of the first day of Shawwal starts with Eid prayers at the mosque, attended mostly by men, while the women will tend to the kitchen to cook up delicious meals. Many look forward to indulge in delicious and rich foods with their loved ones who would gather together for this special occasion. There are plenty of scrumptious food to enjoy during Hari Raya such as rendang, ketupat, sayur lodeh, and many more. In this article, you will find Top 6 most popular Hari Raya food in Singapore.
What’s Hari Raya without some rendang? For the uninitiated, rendang is a coconut milk-based stew, that is so savoury and full of umami and also has a little sweetness from the addition of natural palm sugar. It is normally made with beef and it is slow cooked for hours until the meat is absolutely tender. Rendang is a labour of love. All the amazing flavours comes from the different spices used such as galangal, turmeric, coriander seeds, lemongrass and with the addition of kerisik¹ Not only can rendang be eaten with rice, but it can also be eaten with lemang or ketupat. Which brings us to the next popular dish during Hari Raya - ketupat!
Ketupat is a staple food in the Malay community and although it is mostly associated during Hari Raya, it can be eaten any time. Ketupat is shaped like a diamond and made from hand-woven young coconut leaves. It plays a role as a side dish during Hari Raya which can be eaten alongside gravy-rich foods. Malays would also eat ketupat with Sayur Lodeh, with Soto² broth and also as an accompaniment to satay or spiced meat skewers. Trust us, dipping ketupat pieces into satay’s peanut sauce is one of life’s greatest pleasures! To make ketupat, the first step is to wove coconut leaves until it becomes a pouch. Rice grains are then added into the pouches and are boiled for several hours before hanging them to dry and then serving. it. And to serve ketupat, it is not by peeling away the leaves, but by cutting the cooked ketupat into halves or quarters!
3. Sayur lodeh
A rich and creamy coconut gravy spiced with chillies, turmeric and lemongrass among other spices and filled with a variety of vegetables and tofu is sayur lodeh. Usually laden over ketupat or lontong³, sayur lodeh is a must-have during Hari Raya as it is very comforting to eat it with serunding⁴ and sambal⁵ on the side. The vegetables you add to sayur lodeh varies. The most common vegetables in sayur lodeh are cabbage, long beans and carrots. Some families have their own traditions and theirs could include jicama, young jackfruit and also fermented soya beans known as tempe. Whatever vegetables you put in sayur lodeh, prepare to have seconds or thirds, for one soulful bowl is not enough!
Although satay can be easily found in Singapore’s hawker centres, these tender meat skewers are also very popular during Hari Raya. Made with chicken, beef or mutton, the meat is cut into cubes, marinated overnight and then skewered and grilled over a flaming charcoal fire. While the satay is being cooked, it is constantly brushed with oil for that shiny glaze until caramelised. To serve satay, it is often paired with a bowl of spicy and sweet peanut sauce, cuts of onion and cucumbers, and also ketupat.
Not to be confused with ketupat, lemang is a mixture of glutinous rice and coconut milk filled in the hollow of large bamboo stalks and then grilled over a slow, smokey heat. Lemang is a traditional delicacy that is enjoyed within the Malay community. They may look similar, but they definitely have a difference in the taste. Cooking lemang requires big flame and firewood. The process of cooking lemang can take up to five hours hours but in Singapore, you can easily get lemang at shops and Ramadan Bazaars that are ready to eat without you having to slave for hours. Enjoy with sambal, serunding or rendang and other rich gravies for that full-on eid feeling.
6. Kuih Raya and Cakes
It wouldn’t be a proper celebration without a plethora of sweets or kuih raya that are served to guests who come visit for the Raya celebrations. From traditional cakes such as kek sugee, kek kukus, marble cake and not forgetting tapak kuda, these cakes are the must-haves when it comes to house visiting.
Kuihs such as Pineapple Tart to Gula Melaka Cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookies, you can find an abundance of different kinds of kuihs, both sweet and savoury, some even spicy (!) sold in Ramadan Bazaars or confectionary shops.
We hope that you have enjoyed this article and that it brought some inspiration for your raya-planing. If you are looking for food to cater for your friends and family, you can check out our Raya Ready mini buffet, or even finger foods. Check out the rest of our Hari Raya offerings for more mouth-watering treats for your Raya essentials.
- Kerisik - It is a condiment made of toasted grated coconut
- Soto - Soto is a traditional Indonesian soup mainly composed broth, meat, and vegetables.
- Lontong - It is a dish made of compact rice cake, usually in the shape of a cylinder covered inside a banana leaf.
- Serunding - Serunding is a side dish that is made from grated coconut flesh that is being cooked with different spices.
- Sambal - Sambal is a chilli paste or sauce, usually made from different chilli peppers which originated from Indonesia.