Hi HalalTrip travelers, this time we are shifting our lenses to see the vibe of Ramadan in Malaysia. The country, which has a population of nearly 19.6 million and 61.3% of whom are Muslim, has its own traditions and customs when welcoming the holy month of Ramadan.
Malaysia really appreciates those who are fasting. Therefore, travelers who are fasting in Malaysia, do not expect to find advertisements related to food or beverages in this country.
As the Malaysian Government issued a policy to stop all forms of advertising, whether on television, newspapers, billboards, or banners.
This measure is a form of respect for Muslims who are fasting. So that they are not tempted by these advertisements, especially children who are learning to fast.
Travelers should also know, when in Malaysia during the month of Ramadan, there are some rules or norms to follow for both Muslims and Non-Muslims. As some actions may seem impolite to some in Malaysia during the month of Ramadan. So we recommend doing some more research and even talking to the locals there to get an idea of what you should and shouldn't do during Ramadan in Malaysia.
At the beginning of Ramadan, in some parts of Malaysia, such as Kedah, Malacca, and Johor, most offices gave leave permits to employees. The activity on the road seemed lonely. People prefer to stay at home to prepare for Ramadan.
This opportunity is also used by the local community to make Lambuk porridge. Porridge is typical of a neighboring country, which is always there in the month of Ramadan.
Bubur Lambuk is a rice porridge containing minced beef and dried shrimp, with the basic spices consisting of clove flowers, lawing flowers, cumin, cinnamon bark, and others.
Usually, this porridge is cooked together in the mosque. Then, this porridge is distributed to the people around it.
The most popular and most sought-after Lambuk porridge is the version of the Kampung Baru Mosque, Kuala Lumpur. Every day, the mosque makes 20 large barrels of porridge from 8 am to 4 pm. Furthermore, the porridge is distributed free of charge.
In the month of Ramadan, especially before breaking the fast, the Kampung Baru Mosque is always full of people who want to taste the Lambuk porridge. In fact, the queue was snaking.
This Kampung Baru lambuk porridge is the best in Malaysia. The porridge is made with a traditional recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. Now, for travelers who want to enjoy the best Lambuk porridge in Malaysia, come to Kampung Baru Mosque and get ready to stand in line waiting for their turn.
However, the favorite food of the tourists in this market is the spicy curried rendang which contains pieces of beef.
Malaysia is not much different from Indonesia. When the month of Ramadan arrives, there are many food vendors scattered, and it is commonly called the Ramadan market.
For a whole month, the vicinity of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur's main shopping district, is decorated with various tents of traders holding food.
In this Ramadan market, you can find a variety of delicious snacks to break your fast. Travelers can taste Malaysian specialties here. Like Lambuk porridge, grilled chicken with cream sauce, chicken sprinkled, cendol, or other sweet snacks.
The advantage of breaking the fast in this Ramadan market is that travelers can save more because the food prices here are relatively cheap with the quality of the food not inferior to restaurant standards.
If you don't have time to cook, breaking your fast at the Ramadan market is another alternative. One of the Ramadan markets that tourists can visit is the Ramadan market in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
Every time entering the holy month of Ramadan, many hotels, restaurants, and places to eat hold a Ramadan Buffet. In this place, travelers can enjoy eating and drinking as much as they like all the dishes served by the hotel or dining venue, with only one payment. The price set is quite affordable.
This Ramadan Buffet concept has become a tradition in Malaysia. Then, what about the food menu that is served in this Ramadan Buffet concept?
Travelers don't need to worry, because the Malaysian government will monitor every meal served in the Ramadan Buffet concept.
So, all hotels, restaurants, and places to eat that promote Ramadan Buffet, must have a halal certificate. If someone commits a violation, the hotel or restaurant will be subject to a fine of 200 thousand ringgit.
There is a unique tradition carried out by most citizens in Malaysia, which travelers must know is a joint meal by the beach.
For most people, eating sahur is done at home. But not for some Malaysians. They have a tradition of sahur together on the beach. Of course, this is very unique and should be tried by travelers who happen to be traveling to Malaysia.
The beach that is usually visited at dawn is Batu Burok Beach in Kuala Trengganu. On this beach, you will see different sights during Ramadan. Food vendors line the beach. The visitors also packed every corner of the beach.
It is more like a vacation, visitors come with friends or family. Here, visitors are free to choose the meal they want, because there are so many types of food being sold by the traders.
Then, on a mat, the visitors started to eat their meal while enjoying the cool sea breeze. There are even visitors who bring a small table to put dishes. A unique sensation that you must try!
Apart from enjoying sahur on the sand, there are also visitors who eat sahur in the car, complete with the food they bring or buy from traders around the beach. This joint sahur is often referred to as "sahur car food".
The tradition of enjoying sahur on the beach has been known by local residents for the past five years.
The time has come at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Feelings of sadness arise in the minds of Muslims because they will leave a month full of blessings and forgiveness, and fear that they will never see Ramadan again in the following year.
On the other hand, Muslims are also happy because it is time to celebrate victory. Namely, Eid al-Fitr.
In Malaysia, there is the term Jamuan Raya on the day of Eid where those who are well off economically, do an open house. Anyone is welcome, without exception.
In this feast, a variety of delicious dishes are served. Such as Ketupat, Rendang, and various other foods.
This moment is also used as an opportunity for the owner of the house to distribute money to the children or relatives who come. This aims to strengthen ties and respect for all differences in religion, race, and social status.
Supporting orphans and poor people is highly recommended. The government and people of Malaysia really respect orphans and poor people.
On Eid al-Fitr, those who are able will provide compensation to orphans and poor people. The method is unique, those who will provide compensation, come to the poor and the orphan one by one.
It has become a tradition in Malaysia, after performing Eid prayers, people visit the graves of their family, parents, or close relatives. They will pray for those who have preceded it with dhikr and tahlil.
It is certain that every cemetery that exists will be filled with pilgrims. However, on Idul Fitri last year, the Malaysian government issued a ban on its citizens to go on the grave visiting after the Eid prayer. Possibly for the safety of the masses in times of COVID-19.
Of course, this is related to the spread of the coronavirus in Malaysia. Is Malaysia still pursuing the same policy for this year's Eid celebrations? I hope not.
Cover Photo by Esmonde Yong on Unsplash