Some overseas friends were in town last week and a few of us decided to meet up for dinner.
A muslim friend amongst us suggested a Halal Restaurant in Kampong Glam, so that was where we headed to. Hubs had gone by a different route from that suggested by my friend, and that gave us an insight into the "buka puasa" (break fast) experience, as it brought us through the congested streets and half-closed roads.
I have had Muslim neighbours previously, but was never invited to "buka puasa" with them - only to celebrate hari raya!! So this was a 1st for me.
As we drove through the streets of Kampong Glam, we noticed that it was filled with street stalls selling food, and with throngs of people buying them, as this was near the Sultan's mosque. At coffee shops and restaurants there were many people with drinks and plates of food in front of them, BUT no one was eating.
At the restaurant, I noticed big family groups all in a fairly joyous mood. As it was a buffet restaurant, many people were helping themselves to the food and thereafter, just sitting and talking. No one was eating .... YET!
At the designated "buka puasa" hour a representative from the restaurant came and announced that it was time, and everyone, with a "whoop", then joyously started tucking into their food. I just sat and watched as I didnt want to rush with them for the food as they had fasted the whole day. Let them go first.
Many started off the "buka puasa" with a sweet drink. Some did it with dates. My friend just wolfed down her plate of rice in front of her, before she had a sip of her drink.
I must say witnessing this was an interesting experience for me!