By Ian McIntyre

As Muslims throughout the world begin to mark the Holy Ramadan month where fasting is mandatory from dawn to dusk, in Malaysia, a unique culture has also sprouted up during the same period – it is the Ramadan breaking of fast buffets.

Such feasts are the domain of hotels and resorts throughout the country, and they cater for families, friends and work colleagues, who are too busy to observe preparations and cooking for the breaking of fast daily throughout the coming 30 – days.

So, they come over to hotels, who have taken great trouble to prepare dishes which are both nutritional and a delight to the tastebuds.

In Penang, it is no different as almost 100 hotels, resorts and homestays prepare a form of the breaking of fast spread to help Muslims breakfast.

As for the non – Muslims, it is also a food fest galore since they too can join in the occasion with their Muslim counterparts in tasting the delights of a buffet.

Since its inception more than two years ago, Amari Spice Hotel with its over 400 rooms, making it the biggest hospitality property in Penang, is determined to make an impression on the people here by leading the way in providing an unconventional menu.

Besides Amari, the other notable hospitality properties which have reached out to share their promotions, were the Ascot Gurney, the Voux, Bahang Bay, Sunway Hotels, Rasa Sayang and Spa as well as the Light over in Seberang Jaya.

For this Ramadan, newly appointed executive chef Azmi Affandi from Amari, brings two new signature dishes revolving around lamb shanks and giants’ soup tulang (beef soup).

“The lamb dishes will have an Arabic flavour and designed to whet the appetites, especially for those who have been fasting from dawn to dusk.”

Lamb galore at the Star City Hotel.

The other signature is a seafood briyani rice – which is unique, as usually such rice is cooked with poultry or beef but at Amari, it is all about innovation.

The Sabahan Murut, is back in Malaysia after some 14 – years in Europe, namely France where he worked alongside the Michelin star accredited chefs.

He has earned the confidence to showcase quality food just like the menu he had designed with six other chefs for Ramadan.

He is confident that Amari can meet the tastebuds of residents and tourists here alike.

“We are in the business of meeting the high expectations of our diners. We also have a delightful spread for all types of guests,” he said.

Some 70km away, is the Star City Hotel in neighbouring Alor Setar, Kedah.

Its outspoken general manager Eugene Alan Dass has come out with a novelty of an idea, which is to have the breaking of fast at the root top of its sister hotel Fuller, which is located just off Star City.

And the buffet price is among the most affordable in the state – less than RM60.

But Dass said that the traditional favourites and evergreen dishes, would be on offer despite the lower than usual buffet pricing.

Dass, who also heads the Kedah / Perlis chapter of the Malaysia Association of Hotels, hopes that all diners can enjoy the unique splendour of Ramadan in Malaysia – the delectable buffet spreads.