Yale University Library link to yale university library home page link to EAL page


Near East Collection: Middle Eastern & Islamic Cuisine

Middle Eastern & Islamic Cuisine

Scroll Down for an Overview of Items in the Exhibit.
Click small images to see large ones.

Cooks at work in the royal kitchens.

Relief from Ashurbanipal's palace at Nineveh 7th century BC.

Servants back from the royal hunt with a hare and small birds.

Relief from Ashurbanipal's palace at Nineveh 7th century BC.

King Ashurbanipal and his queen enjoying a cup of wine in the garden.

7th century BC

The Uruk Vase showing worshippers bringing provisions to the temple of Inanna.

[The vase was stolen from the Iraq Museum in 2003, but has since been returned and partially restored.]

Uruk ca. 3000 BC


The Oldest Cookbooks in the World

These two clay tablets from the Babylonian Collection, inscribed in Akkadian contain the oldest known cooking recipes. They date to ca. 1750 BC, the time of Hammurabi, known for his famous law code. The cuneiform writing system was complex and generally only scribes who had studied for years could read and write, so it is unlikely that the cookbooks were meant for the ordinary cook or chef. Instead, they were written to document the current practices of culinary art. The recipes are elaborate and often call for rare ingredients. We may assume that they represent Mesopotamian haute cuisine meant for the royal palace or the temple.

From the thousands of tablets recording deliveries and shipments of foodstuff, from vocabulary lists of various kinds of food and from records of payments to workers and soldiers we can get a fairly accurate picture of the standard Mesopotamian diet.

The meats included beef, lamb, goat, pork, deer and fowl - the birds provided both meat and eggs. Fish were eaten along with turtles and shellfish. Various grains, vegetables and fruits such as dates, apples, figs, pomegranates and grapes were integral to the ancient Near Eastern diet. Roots, bulbs, truffles and mushrooms were harvested for the table. Salt added flavor to the food as did a variety of herbs. Honey as well as dates, grape-juice and raisins were used as sweeteners. Milk, clarified butter and fats both animal fats and vegetable oils, such as sesame, linseed and olive oils were used in cooking.

Many kinds of bread are mentioned in the texts from the lowliest barley bread used for workers' rations to elaborate sweetened and spiced cakes baked in fancy, decorated moulds in palace kitchens.

Beer (usually made of fermented barley mush) was the national beverage already in the third millennium BC, while wine grown in northern Mesopotamia was expensive and only enjoyed by the royal household or the very rich.

This tablet includes 25 recipes for stews, 21 are meat stews and 4 are vegetable stews. The recipes list the ingredients and the order in which they should be added, but does not give measures or cooking time - they were clearly meant only for experienced chefs.

YBC 4644 from the Old Babylonian Period, ca. 1750 BC


This tablet has seven recipes which are very detailed. The text is broken in several places and the name of the second recipe is missing, but it is a dish with small birds, maybe partridges:

Remove the head and feet. Open the body and clean the birds, reserving the gizzards and the pluck. Split the gizzards and clean them. Next rinse the birds and flatten them. Prepare a pot and put birds, gizzards and pluck into it before placing it on the fire.

[It does not mention whether fat or water is added -- no doubt the method was so familiar that instructions were considered unnecessary. After the initial boiling or braising, the recipe continues:]

Put the pot back on the fire. Rinse out a pot with fresh water. Place beaten milk into it and place it on the fire. Take the pot (containing the birds) and drain it. Cut off the inedible parts, then salt the rest, and add them to the vessel with the milk, to which you must add some fat. Also add some rue, which has already been stripped and cleaned. When it has come to a boil, add minced leek, garlic, samidu and onion (but not too much onion).

[While the birds cook, preparations for serving the dish must be made]

Rinse crushed grain, then soften it in milk and add to it, as you kneed it, salt, samidu, leeks and garlic along with enough milk and oil so that a soft dough will result which you will expose to the heat of the fire for a moment. Then cut it into two pieces. Take a platter large enough to hold the birds. Place the prepared dough on the bottom of the plate. Be careful that it hangs over the rim of the platter only a little. Place it on top of the oven to cook it. On the dough which has already been seasoned, place the pieces of the birds as well as the gizzards and pluck. Cover it with the bread lid [which has meanwhile been baked] and send it to the table.

YBC 8958 Old Babylonian Period, ca. 1750 BC.



The mere smell of cooking can evoke a whole civilization (Fernand Braudel).

The Middle-Eastern cooking as we know it today largely evolved from the cuisine of the glorious days of the Abbasid Caliphate, and even further back to the ancient Near-Eastern cultures of the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Persians, and Mesopotamians. Of these, the Mesopotamian is the oldest and the first documented world cuisine, of which only three Babylonian cuneiform tablets are extant today (housed at the Babylonian Collection of Yale University and are currently on display at the present exhibition).

When the Arabs conquered the Byzantine and Persian empires in the middle of the seventh century, they assimilated their own simple culinary heritage with that of the local rich traditions and inherited ancient techniques of the regions they ruled. They also adopted so many exotic elements from far and wide, facilitated by active trade, immigrant communities, and foreign domestic helpers of whom the excellent cooks were valuable commodities.

During the golden days of the Abbasid Caliphate when Baghdad was called the navel of the earth, there was a considerable interest among the court and upper classes in the culinary arts and in writing and reading about them. Fine living also necessitated the desire for a healthy living, which gave rise to so many cookbooks, and books on medicine and dietetics. Fortunately, some of these books survived the ravages of time.

The Omayyad Arabs from Syria expanded to North Africa, and reached the Iberian Peninsula in the early eighth-century and stayed there for eight centuries (711-1492). They conquered the island of Sicily in southern Italy and stayed there for more than two centuries (831-1060). To al-Andalus (Andalusia) and Sicily, the Arabs brought the culinary tradition of the Eastern Islamic world, and with it, so many new crops, such as rice, sugarcane, watermelon, lemon, orange, eggplant, and spinach. Naturally, they also incorporated into their cooking the foodstuffs indigenous to the conquered western regions.

Spaniards and Sicilians absorbed Arabic arts and sciences. In Spanish, there are hundreds of words of Arabic origin related to foods and cookery. Between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries, Western Europe was introduced to the culinary wealth of the Arabs through the Crusades. Christians, fascinated by the wealth of their enemies, often borrowed from them. However, the major contribution of the Arab cuisine to European culture was largely through the conquest and re-conquest of Spain and Sicily. Farther East, the Mongols introduced the culinary traditions they learned in Baghdad to their new empire in Northern India. To this day, traces of these traditions can still be detected in the Indian cuisine. The Ottoman Empire dominated the Middle East and Eastern Europe for centuries. The Turkish cuisine was essentially diverse. Its center was the capital, Istanbul, where a refined tradition was created by bringing together elements of regional culinary practices from across the empire, especially the Middle Eastern regions. It was also during this period that many of the New World crops, such as potatoes and tomatoes, were adopted. Through the Ottomans, Europe came to know and love so many of the Middle Eastern delights, such as coffee.



Plus vieille cuisine du monde [The Oldest Cuisine in the World: Cooking in Mesopotamia] by Jean Bottéro, translated by Teresa Lavender Fagan. Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

The author attempts to give an idea about the history of food and its preparation in ancient Mesopotamia. His primary sources are the three clay tablets, dating back to the middle of the second millennium (ca. 35 centuries ago), housed at the Yale Babylonian Collection, and which the author calls "The Yale Recipes." The total number of the recipes in the three tables is forty. He adds, however:

"As for the immediate 'pleasures of the table,' since we are forced to abandon the hope of ever truly communing with the ancient Mesopotamians, might we not taste something like what they ate in the accomplishments of that 'Turco-Arabic,' Lebanese,' or 'Middle Eastern' cuisine (however it is called) that is available to us? For this cuisine may well constitute a prolongation, a contemporary presentation, the only one available, of the lost Mesopotamian techniques of preparing and enjoying food and drink-the oldest cuisine in the world" (p. 126).



Daf' Madarr al-Aghdhiyah [On the Means to Counteract the Harmful Effects of Various Kinds of Food], by Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (865?-925?).

Copied in A.H. 738 (A.D. 1338). Housed at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University (Landberg MSS 473). In this manuscript the famous Muslim physician and philosopher al-Razi (Rhzes in Latin) speaks about the various kinds of foods and drinks from a medicinal point of view. He mentions their benefits and how to counteract their harmful effects.


Aṭ'imat al-Marda [Manual of diet for the sick] by Muḥammad ibn Ali al-Samarqandi (d. 1222). Housed at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University (Landberg MSS 608). Copied in A.H. 769 (A.D. 1368).

This treatise is bound at the end of another treatise on medicine by the same author; a prolific physician (originally from Samarqand, Uzbekistan). He was killed in the city of Herat (Afghanistan) during the Mongol invasion of the Islamic Empire. He describes the specific kinds of foods that should be given to the sick suffering from various kinds of illnesses.


Mukhtaṣar al-Tibyan fi ma Yaḥillu wa-Yaḥrumu min al-Hayawan [Dictionary of animals permitted and forbidden for use as food] by Shihab al-Din Aḥmad ibn al-Imad al-Aqfahsi al-Shafi'i (1349-1405).

Copied in A.H. 855 (A.D. 1451). Housed at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University (Landberg MSS 172). The author of this manuscript is a prolific Egyptian Muslim religious scholar (faqih). In his enumeration of the various animals (mammals, Birds, fish, reptiles, insects, etc.) that are permitted or forbidden to be eaten according to the Shari'ah (Islamic law) he gives many details about the various foods made from the flesh of these animals.


Tadhkirat Uli al-Albab bi-Marifat al-Adab [Manual on human conduct: food, dress, sleep, married life and children, social life, etc.] by Abd al-Rauf al-Munawi al-Ḥaddadi (d. 1621), copied sometime in the 1800's. Housed at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University (Landberg MSS 163).

The author of this treatise on human conduct is an Egyptian Shafiite Muslim scholar who lived in Cairo. In the first part of this manuscript he speaks about table manners, banquet hospitality, the different kinds of foods and how to handle and prepare them in order to achieve the best benefit and avoid their harmful effects.


Kitab al-Tabikh [The Book of Cookery] by Muhammad ibn al-Hasan ibn Muhammad ibn al-Karim al-Katib al-Baghdadi (d. 1240), edited by Dawud al-Jalabi. Al-Musil: Matba'at Umm al-Rabi'ayn, 1934.

Another edition of Kitab al-Tabikh [The Cookbook]. The author, a native of Baghdad, Iraq and an ardent food lover, wrote his book toward the end of the Abbasid Caliphate. In the recipes he mentions, he describes the different foods and dishes used to be prepared by the residents of Baghdad during the era of its opulence. The manuscript of this book is an autograph which the author finished on 20 Dhu al-Hijjah, 623 Hijri (12 December, 1226)


Kitab al-Tabikh [The Book of Cookery] by Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Katib al-Baghdadi (d. 1240), reprint of Dawud al-Jalabi edition (published in 1934 by Matba'at Umm al-Rabi'ayn in Mosul, by Fakhri al-Barudi. Bayrut : Dar al-Kitab al-Jadid, 1964.

The author, a native of Baghdad, Iraq wrote his book toward the end of the Abbasid Caliphate. In the recipes he mentions, he describes the different foods and dishes used to be prepared by the residents of Baghdad during the era of its opulence.


Mu'jam al-Ma'akil al-Dimashqiyah [A Dictionary of Damascene Dishes] by Fakhri al-Barudi.

In his supplement to Kitab al-Tabikh [The Book of Cookery] of Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Katib al-Baghdadi (1184 or 5-1239 or 40) which he edited, Mr. Fakhri, a contemporary resident of the city of Damascus, Syria, describes by the help of his niece, Hudham, more than 100 recipes of modern Damascene dishes most of which have their roots in the traditional dishes which have been prepared in the countries of the Middle East for centuries.


A Baghdad cookery book: The Book of Dishes [Kitab al-Tabikh] by Muhammad b. al-Ḥasan b. Muhammad b. al-Karim, newly translated by Charles Perry. Totnes: Prospect Books, 2005 (Special issue of the periodical Petits Propos Culinaires, ISSN 0142-4857, PPC 79)

[The Book of Cookery] based on the original manuscript. "In this new translation Charles Perry corrects many errors and misreadings that had crept into early transcriptions. Here we have spread before us, as if on a glorious sideboard, the immense wealth and ingenuity of cooking in the golden age of Arab civilization. We can detect the influence of Persia, as well as echoes of Bedouin life, and even the mark of the. Christian Crusaders" (Back cover).

Charles Perry is an independent scholar of food history, especially that of the Middle East and Central Asia. Many of his essays have been reprinted in Medieval Arab Cookery and he has published widely in scholarly journals. By profession a journalist, he worked for Rolling Stone and now writes on food in the Los Angeles Times" (Back cover).



Kitab al-Tabikh fi al-Maghrib wa-al-Anadalus fi Asr al-Muwahhidin [North African & Andalusian Cookbook during the Almohades Era] by an anonymous author in Revista del Instituto de Estudios Islamicos en Madrid (vol. 9 & 10 (1961-1962), pp. 15-256 (in the Arabic section)

Edited by Ambrosio Huici Miranda. The Spanish study of the manuscript La Cocina Hispano-Magribi durante la Epoca Almohade [The Spanish-Maghribi Cuisine During Almohades Era] is published in vol. 5 (1957), pp. 137-155 (in the Spanish section of the same journal).

The anonymous author of the manuscript of this cookbook according to the editor should have lived in Andalusia (Southern Spain) sometime in the 13th century and worked as a chef in some of the places of the ruling class. Although this unique manuscript is incomplete, lacking leaves at the beginning and end, it mentions more than 500 recipes for different dishes, drinks, sweets, pickles, etc. in simple and popular language demonstrating considerable knowledge of the Andalusian culinary tradition.



Kitab al-Filahah [Libro de agricultura: The Book of Agriculture] by Ibn Bassal (11th century) Edited, annotated and translated into Spanish by José Ma. Vallicrosa and Mohamed Aziman. Tetuán: Instituto Muley el-Hasan, 1955.

The author of this book on agriculture is an 11th century Andalusian Arab from Tulaytulah (Toledo, Spain). Very little is known about his life. However, judging from the meaning of his Arabic name Ibn Bassal (i.e. the Son of the Onion Grower), he seems to be a learned agriculturalist from a farming family. The book, though not a cookbook per se, it contains information about the different kinds of foodstuff and how to produce them and preserve them, in addition to the agricultural methods in cultivation, irrigation, pets control and land tilling in Andalusia in the 11th century.


Kanz al-Fawa'id fi Tanwi' al-Mawa'id: Medieval Arab / Islamic Culinary Art. Edited by Manuela Marin and David Waines. Beirut : in Kommission bei Franz Steiner Verlag Stuttgart, 1993.

An anonymous medieval Arabic cookbook, possibly of Egyptian provenance, compiled sometime during the Mamluk period (1250 - 1517). The book contains more than 800 recipes for the preparation of dishes, sweets, drinks, medicines, etc. from different regions in the Middle East with frequent health references attached to them.


Al-Filahah al-Nabatiyah [Nabatian/Mesopotamian Agriculture] Arabic translation from the Syriac attributed to Ibn Wahshiyah, Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn 'Ali ibn Qays al-Kasdani (9th century). Edited by Tawfiq Fahad. Dimashq: al-Ma'had al-'Ilmi al-Farnasi li 'l-Dirasat al-'Arabiyah, 1998. 3 vols.


The author a 9th century scholar from southern Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq) well versed in deciphering the ancient scripts of that region, records in this encyclopedic work what he translated into Arabic from the language of his own people, ancient Syriac, the agricultural knowledge which has accumulated for millennia. Although the book is not on Mesopotamian cookery per se, it contains a wealth of knowledge on the preparation of basic foods from the agricultural products mentioned throughout the book.



Kitab al-Filahah al-Andalusiyah [Libro de agricultura] [The Book of Andalusian Agriculture] by Abu Zakariya Yahya ibn Muhammad ibn al-Awwam al-Ishbili (d. 1185). Translated into Spanish and annotated by Joseph Antonio Banqueri. Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1802.


The book is on agriculture in Andalusia by the 12th century Arab agriculturalist Ibn al-Awwam of Ishbilyah (Seville). The book "consists of 35 chapters dealing with agronomy, cattle and poultry raising, and beekeeping. It deals with 585 plants; explains the cultivation of more than 50 fruit trees; and includes many valuable observations on soils, manures, plant grafting, and plant diseases. Much of the material was derived from Greek and Arabic literature, especially from the treatise on Nabatean agriculture of Ibn Wahshiyah, but Ibn al-'Awwam made many additions to the accumulated knowledge and experience of his Moorish contemporaries." (Encyclopedia Britanica). In addition to this book which has been edited several times and translated into Spanish, French and Urdu, at least two other books have survived.



Manafi' al-Aghdhiyah wa-Daf' Madarriha [The Benefits of Foods and Warding off their Harmful Effects] by Abu Bakr Munhammad bin Zakariyya al-Razi (865?-925?). On the Margins: Kitab Daf' al-Madarr al-Kulliyah 'an al-Abdan al-Insaniyah [Warding all Harmful Effects off the Human Body] by Ibn Sina (Avicenna, 980-1037). Bayrut: Dar Ṣadir, [1975?] (Photo reproduction of the edition published in Cairo in 1888).

In these two books the two famous medieval physicians, al-Razi and Avicenna-who were very well known in the West through the translation of their medical treatises into Latin in the Middle Ages-speak about the different kinds of foods prevalent in the Islamic world at their time; their benefits on the one hand and their harmful effects and how to avoid them on the other. The overall guidelines are summarized in the old Arabic proverb: "Do not eat until you are hungry and when you eat do not do not satiate yourself."


al-Waslah ila al-Habib fi Wasf al-Tayyibat wa-al-Tib [Reaching the Beloved through the Description of Delicious Foods and Perfumes] by Ibn al-'Adim, Kamal al-Din 'Umar ibn Ahmad (1192-1262); edited by Sulayma Mahjub and Durriyah al-Khatib. Halab: Ma'had al-Turath al-'Ilmi al-'Arabi, 1986. 2. vols.

In his introduction and ten chapters, the author, a 13th cent. native of the city of Aleppo in North-central Syria, describes the different recipes which he himself applied and savored the dishes he prepared and the ingredients for the manufacturing of different kinds of perfumes.


Nishwar al-Muhadarah wa-Akhbar al-Mudhakarh [The Table-talk of a Mesopotamian Judge] / by al-Qadi Abu 'Ali al-Muhassin ibn 'Ali al-Tanukhi (940?-994) ; ed. By 'Abbud al-Shaliji. Bayrut : Dar Ṣadir, 1971-1973.

The Abbasid judge and administrator al-Tanukhi spent more than twenty years in compiling this voluminous encyclopedia about the culture of food and drink and table manners, including descriptions of the opulence and magnificent banquets in the households of the ruling and upper classes in Baghdad and the provinces of the Islamic Empire. He says that he collected his material firsthand-without using any other written work-from the wise and learned people who used to visit him. Parts of this work were translated into English by D. S. Margoliouth and published in 1921-1922.


Kitab al-Aghdhiyah = Book on Dietetics / by Ishaq ibn Sulayman al-Isra'ili (d. ca. 935). Frankfurt am Main, Germany : Institute for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science, 1986.

This is a facsimile edition of the complete manuscript MS 3604-3607, Fatih Collection, Suleymaniye Library, Istanbul (4 parts in 3 volumes), copied in the year 708 H/1308 A.D.


Kitab al-Aghdhiyah wa-al-Adwiyah [The Book of Foods and Medicines] by I by Ishaq ibn Sulayman al-Isra'ili. Bayru¯t : Mu?assasat ?Izz al-?Arab lil-T?iba¯?ah wa-al-Nashr, 1992.

In this voluminous Medieval Arabic treatise, the Egyptian Jewish physician Ishaq ibn Sulayman al-Isra'ili (d. ca. 935) who later moved to al-Qayrawan in Tunisia, speaks about the various foods and the best ways for preparing and using them-according to his own experimentation - to help the individual maintain good health. This edition was based on the manuscript MS 3604-3607, Fatih Collection, Suleymaniye Library, Istanbul, copied in the year 708 H/1308 A.D.


Kitab al-Aghdhiyah wa Hifz al-Sihhah [The Book of Foods and Health Maintenance] by Muhammad ibn Yusuf ibn Khalsun (14th century?) Edited and translated into French by Suzanne Gigandet. Damas: Institut Francais de Damas, 1996.

The author of this book is most probably a 14th century North African scholar. Although it is not a cookbook per se, it contains much material describing the different foods and the hygiene of their preparation and use in order to maintain good health. It was written to a friend who had asked him to compose a book that will relieve him from asking the advice of physicians. In a way, this treatise is on "preventive medicine," a concept underemphasized in our modern medical schools.


Qutb al-Surur fi Awsaf al-Khumur [The Zenith of Pleasure in Descriptions of Wine] by Abu Isḥaq Ibrahim, known as al-Raqiq al-Nadim (11th century), edited by Aḥmad al-Jundi. Dimashq: Majma al-Lughah al-Arabiyah, [1969]

In this 11th century treatise, though not about the Arabic Islamic cuisine per se, the author, a native of al-Qayrawan (Tunisia), a high court official and an accomplished poet, man of letters and historian collected anecdotes in poetry and prose about the culture of wine and its peripheries: the magnificent banquets, the music, and the conviviality of the men and women singers and boon companions during the era of the Arabic and Islamic opulence.


Al-Mukhtar min Qutb al-Surur fi Awsaf al-Anbidhah wa-al-Khumur of Ibrahim ibn al-Qasim al-Raqiq al-Qayrawani (11th century) [Selections from The Zenith of Pleasure in Descriptions of Wines and Alcoholic Beverages] Selected by 'Ali Nur al-Din al-Mas'udi (ca. 1219), edited by 'Abd al-Hafiz Mansur. Tunis: Mu'assasat 'Abd al-Karim ibn 'Abd Allah, 1976.

Although this book is a selection from the previous, it contains materials not found in the extant manuscript of the original. Very little is known about the author of the selections except that he was alive ca. 1219. He might, however, have been a Tunisian also as the two extant manuscripts of the selections are of Tunisian origin.


Kitab al-Tabikh [The Book of Cookery] by Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq, al-Muzaffar ibn Nasr (10th century). Edited by Kaj Ohrnberg and Sahban Mroueh. Helsinki, 1987.

This 10th century treatise is, so far, the earliest extant cookbook in Arabic. In its 132 chapters, the author, about whom is little known and who might have lived in Baghdad, not only describes recipes for the preparation of the different foods and drinks but also kitchen hygiene and table manners.


Fidalat al-Khiwan fi Tayyibat al-Ta'am wa-al-Alwan: Surah min Fann al-Tabkh fi al-Anadalus wa 'l-Maghrib fi Bidayat 'Asr Bani Marin [The Delicacies of the Table and the Finest of Foods and Dishes: On the Art of Cooking in Andalusia & North Africa at the Start of Banu Marin Era] by Ibn Razin al-Tujibi, edited by Muhammad bin Shaqrun, supervised by Ihsan 'Abbas. Beirut: Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, 1984.

The author is a 13th century Andalusian Islamic jurist and man of letters. He describes in the precision of an advocate not only the foods of Andalusia and North Africa but also their recipes, the methods and the different utensils for preparing them, table manners and the medicinal benefits of the different foods.


The Food of Spain and Portugal: A Regional Celebration by Elisabeth Luard. London : Kyle Cathie, 2004.

The Muslim Arabs established themselves in al-Anadalus (Andalusia, Southern Spain) since the Middle of the eighth century and remained there until 1492 when the Christian armies of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile drove them out. However, the influence of the Arabic and Islamic food traditions were passed along to the Spaniards and Portuguese and survived until modern days.


Regional cuisines of medieval Europe : a Book of Essays edited by Melitta Weiss Adamson. New York: London: Routledge, 2002.

"The Saracens [i.e. Muslim Arabs] contribution [to Italian cuisine] was much greater, quantitatively and qualitatively, than any other successors. They deserve to be classed with the major creators of Italian cooking . The art of making ice cream and sherbet, which they have learned from the Hindus, who had learned it from the Chinese; new methods for preserving food-fruit by drying; meat by drying or salting and above all, distillation, unknown to the ancients. The Arabs invented it, along with its vocabulary" (p. 113).


Recipes in Arabic poetry discussed and applied by the Abbasid Caliph al-Mustakfi (d. 949) and his Boon Companions at the Caliph's Palace in Baghdad.

The Arabic text of these recipes is found in al-Mas'udi's historical encyclopedia Muruj al-Dhahab wa-Ma'adin al-Jawhar [Meadows of Gold and Ores of Jems]. Bayrut : Dar al-Kitab al-Lubnani, 1982 (vol. 2, p. 710-718). The English translation by A. J. Arberry is published in Islamic Culture (vol xiii, no. 1 (Jan., 1939), p. 21-31) as an introduction to his translation of Kitab al-Tabikh [The Cookbook] of al-Baghdadi (1184 or 5-1239 or 40)


Medieval Arab cookery Essays and Translations by Maxime Rodinson, A.J. Arberry and Charles Perry, with a Foreward by Claudia Roden. Devon, England: Prospect Books, 2001.

The articles in this book, mostly translations of Medieval Arabic treatises on food and cookery, give the English speaking reader a taste of what used to be eaten and prepared by the people in the Arabic & the Islamic worlds in the Middle Ages, what is still popular and what has been forgotten and abandoned, nevertheless, can still stimulate the taste buds of food lovers in our own day.


Las Mejores Recetas de los Monasterios Españoles [The Best Recipes of the Spanish Monasteries] by José Antonio Fidalgo. Oviedo : Ediciones Nobel : Circulo de Lectores, c2001.

It is possible that the monks in this Spanish monastery are dining on the same foods used to be prepared according to the recipes which the Arabs introduced to al-Andalus (Andalusia of southern Spain) from the beginning of the 8th to the end of the 15th centuries; recipes which have been used in the Middle East for millennia. Flip through any Spanish dictionary and you will find hundreds of Spanish words related to food that have Arabic origin.


Mufakharah Adabiyah Ghidha'iyah: Mufakharat al-Ruzz wa Habb al-Rumman, aw, al-Maqamah al-Simatiyah [Literary and Gastronomical Conceit: the Boasting Debate between Rice and Pomegranate Seeds, or, The Table Maḳama] edited and translated by Ibrahim Khalil Jurays. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2002.

Although not a cookbook per se, this late 15th/early 16th century Arabic manuscript of Egyptian provenance uses food items, in this case rice and pomegranate seeds, and the different dishes in which they are utilized or compete with as an allegory to describe the political and social conflicts of the Mamluk reign in Egypt.


In a Caliph's Kitchenby David Waines. London: Riad el-Rayyes, 1989.


"[The Medieval Arabic] cookery books were but a small part of a broad, dynamic humanist literary movement which marked this period as a golden age of Arabic letters. The concern for food and drink in general, the art of cooking, the constitution of proper diet and table etiquette were all trated as vital to a cultured person's preparation for life. The names are now know of nearly a dozen individuals who contributed to the literary expression of the culinary 'new wave'. They included Caliphs such as al-Ma'mun (d. 218/833) and al-Wathiq (d. 233/847) and al-Mu?tasim (d. 228/842), the poet Ibrahim b. 'Abbas al-Suli (d. 243/857), the physician Yuhanna b. Masawayh (d. 243/867), the courtier Yahya b. Khalid al-Barmaki (d. 190/805), the astrologer Yahya ibn Abi Mansur al-Mawsili (d. unknown [850?]), and one Samin who remains unidentified but was perhaps a professional chef in the service of al-Wathiq. There were also recipes attributed to other individuals which were probably particular favorites of the persons concerned, or else dishes named especially in their honor" (p. 11).



The Ni'matnama Manuscript of the Sultans of Mandu: The Sultan's Book of Delights Written in Urdu, translated by Norah M. Titley. London , New York: Routledge Curzon, 2005.


"The Ni'matnama is a late fifteenth-century book of recipes of the eccentric Sultan of Mandu (Madhya Pradesh), Ghiyath Shahi, collected and added to by his son and successor, Nasir Shah. It contains recipes for cooking a variety of delicacies and epicurean delights, as well as providing remedies and aphrodisiacs for the Sultan and his court. The text provides a unique and tantalizing account of rarified country life in the fifteenth-century Indian Sultanate region. The manuscript is illustrated with fifty elegant miniature paintings, most of which show the Sultan, Ghiyath Shahi, observing women of his court as they prepare and serve him various dishes" (p. [i])



Persian Cuisine: Traditional, Regional, and Modern Foods by M.R. Ghanoonparvar, line illustrations by Claudia Kane and Jill Lieber. Costa Mesa, California: Mazda Publishers, 2006.

"The cuisine of every nation is a way of celebrating its culture. It is true that food is a necessity for human survival, but combining various edible ingredients, devising various methods of preparation, and arranging and decorating various dishes for presentation at the table is an art developed by many generations that requires not only skill, creativity and patience, but also care and compassion. The recipes presented in this book that comprise Persian cuisine also represent a celebration of several thousand years of Persian culture" (Inrod.)


The Khawan Niamut [Table of Abundance] or Nawab's Domestic Cookery edited by David E. Schoonover. Iowa: University of Iowa Press, c1993.

"Khawan niamut" means in Persian the "Table of abundance." The English translation reproduced here by David E. Schoonover is based on a Persian manuscript. The translation was first published in 1839 in Calcutta, India. It contains recipes for the dishes used to be served at the tables of the high dignitaries of the Persian court, like the one mentioned in the present work: Nawab Qasim Ali Khan Bahadur Qaim Jung. The editor and his wife Jane having lived in Iran for two years (summer of 1975 through late spring 1977) add their own recipes for the Iranian dishes which they used to prepare both in Iran and after they came back to the United States.


Za'faran [Saffron] a documentary film by Ebrahim Mokhtari. Seattle: Arab Film Distribution, 1992 (1 videocassette, 40 minutes)

Saffron is a herb used in cooking, medicine and dying. It was considered the jewel of the herbs in the Middle Ages both in the Middle East and Europe. The cuisines of the high class in the Arab Islamic world used it to flavor their exuberant dishes. It is still very expensive-a pound of Saffron costs at the retail price today no less than $5000. This documentary provides an account of a season's toil of saffron growers in Iran's eastern desert. A peasant from the region leads us through the growth cycle, from the preparation of the soil to the time the saffron is sold at the market.


Food of Life: A Book of Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij. Washington, D.C.: Mage Publishers, c1990.

"The cuisine of any country is a fundamental part of its heritage. The ingredients reflect its geography, while the savor and colors accent the aesthetic tastes of its inhabitants. And food is associated with many major social events-births, weddings, funerals-that culinary traditions are intertwined with a country's history and religion. This is specially true of Iran (called "Persia" by westerns in ancient times)" (p. 2).


Sufi Cuisineby Nevin Halıcı, translated by Umit Hussein: foreword by Claudia Roden, original miniatures by Ahmet Efe. London: Saqi, 2005.


"The fact that a Sufi's initiation begins in the kitchen, that there are several written regulations regarding the organization of the kitchen, that these regulations refer to the teamwork in operation there, and that a memorial tomb was built for a cook shows how highly cuisine was regarded in Anatolia in the thirteenth century. Another of the special attributes of Mevlevi cuisine, already famous for these characteristics is that it is one of the principal roots of Turkish cuisine. It will be seen from this study that the cuisine served in dervish lodges was more refined than folk cuisine" (p. 21).



The Turkish Teacher by Margo True, photography by Christopher Hirsheimer. In Saveur (No. 95, Sept. 2006)


In this feature article in Saveur, a cookery magazine, Christopher Hirsheimer writes about the famous Turkish cookbook writer and teacher Nevin Halici, a native of the ancient city of Konya-the hometown of the famous Sufi poet and mystic Jalal al-Din al-Rumi (1207-1273) and the capital city of the Seljuk Turkish Sultanate-and author of Sufi Cusine. In her writings Halici inspires the poems of Rumi in which recipes are mentioned to prepare the delicious and exotic dishes that are still being served in modern day households of Konya, though their origins might not be known to the local population. In short these recipes give food a spiritual dimension. Indeed, food here nourishes not only our physical existence but also our spirits and souls.



Sultan's Table of the Turkish Cuisine by Ciaran Hickey. Istanbul : Aksit, c2002.


"Anatolia [mainland Turkey] enjoys immense geographical richness. She shelters the traces of various civilizations as a result of her location in the world, hosting innumerable nations in her history which is evident in the vegetation, the zoology and sea products. The synthesis of all those cultures is revealed by the Ottoman, the famous Turkish cuisine has maintained a prominent position among the cuisines of the world. This book is aimed at guiding the cook to prepare delicious meals. You can explore new tastes while experimenting with the recipes" (p. [3]).



Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and a History of the Iraqi Cuisine by Nawal Nasrallah. Bloomington, Indiana: Author House, 2003.

"This new Iraqi cookbook contains more than 400 recipes covering all food categories. There is ample choice for both vegetarian and meat lovers, and many that will satisfy a sweet tooth. All recipes have been tested and are easy to follow. Introducing the recipes are thoroughly researched historical and cultural narratives that trace the development of the Iraqi cuisine from the times of the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians, through the medieval era, and leading to its interaction with Mediterranean and world cuisines. Of particular interest are the book's numerous folkloric stories, anecdotes, songs, cultural explications of customs, and excerpts from narratives written by foreign visitors to the region. Arabic calligraphy, and photos, paintings and sketches add to the pictorial appeal of the book" (Back cover).


Food Culture in the Near East, Middle East, and North Africa by Peter Heine. Westport, Connetucut: Greenwood Press, 2004.

The Ultimate Communal Meal "Generally, one could say that Near and Middle Eastern and North African cooking and nutrition are healthy. As in other Mediterranean gastronomies, meat is rare and vegetables often used. The religious purity rules also have consequences for the kitchen, which is important for the health of the people." (p. 164).


The Middle Eastern Kitchen: a Book of Essential Ingredients with over 150 Authentic Recipes by Ghillie Basan, photography by Jonathan Basan. London: Kyle Cathie [2005]


"There is something incredibly sumptuous about the food of the Middle East. It is steeped in history and mystery, teasing the palate with exotic and tantalizing flavors. Delicate and spicy, aromatic and fragrant, scented and syrupy-these are some of the words that come to mind. The tastes are rich and pleasing, the images romantic, airy and ancient. Rose petals and orange blossom, tamarind and dates, figs and apricots, mulberries and melons, saffron and orchid root, almonds and pistachios, olives, coriander and cumin-a myriad of flavors and dishes that are intricately entwined in the fascinating history of this vast and exciting region" (p. 10).



Arab World Cookbook: the Book of One Thousand and One Delights Cooking and text by Nahda S. Salah, photography by Basem S. Salah. Dhahran, Saudi Arabia: Said Salah International Publications Agencies, 1973, 1977 print.

"All you have to do is: Follow the pictures and cook the articulated Arabian delicacies which are the only rival to the Chinese and French cuisines; and are the descended from mothers to daughters since the glamorous days of the Alhambra Palace of Granada, Andalusia. Easy and simple recipes that make your neighbors and guests savor the aroma coming out from your kitchen. When the conversation goes culinary this book will make you the star of your guests" (p. 1).


Arabesque: a Taste of Morocco, Turkey & Lebanon by Claudia Roden. London: Michael Joseph, 2005.

"Three great cuisines-of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon-developed around the Mediterranean where the Occident meets the Orient and where, long ago, medieval jihadis and crusaders clashed. The three are part of the Mediterranean culinary culture that the West has come to love and also share legacies from the Islamic world, with echoes from ancient Persia and Medieval Baghdad, Moorish Spain and the Ottoman Empire" (p. 6).


Of Dishes and Discourse: Classical Arabic Literary Representations of Food by Geert Jan van Gelder. Richmond: Curzon, 2000.

Yes, some of the famous chefs were no less than members of the royal Abbasid dynasty in the capital of the Islamic Empire, Baghdad. On this page is a recipe in verse for a dish called "Narjisiyah" by the Prince Ibrahim,s son of the Caliph al-Mahdi (778 or 9-838 or 9). It is simple and clear and easy to apply. Give it a try!


God's Banquet: Food in Classical Arabic Literature by Geert Jan van Gelder. New York: Columbia University Press, c2000.

In this book the author explores the relationship between "food", "literature" and "good manners" in Arabic literature. He maintains that the three concepts are interrelated; food, literature, and good manners derive in Arabic from the same trilateral root (a-d-b). In the last paragraph of his book, the author writes:

"If the present book had been written in Arabic some centuries earlier, it might have been called something like Ta'am al-kalam wa-kalam al-ta'am, 'The food of Speech and the Speech of Food'"


Apricots on the Nile: A Memoir with Recipes by Colette Rossant. London: Bloomsbury, 2002.

In this cookbook we encounter a mixture of various cookery traditions: Andalusian, Turkish, French, Jewish and Egyptian. The author was borne in Egypt to an affluent Jewish family whose Spanish Andalusian ancestors came to Egypt from Istanbul, Turkey as officials in the Ottoman administration, shortly after Sultan Selim I (1470-1520) took over Egypt in 1517. Her mother was French and she herself spent more than thirty years in France.

On this page a recipe for one of the most popular dishes in Egypt, "Ta'miyya with Tehina," or, the Egyptian "Falafel". Completely vegetarian, highly nutritious, cheap and easy to prepare. On page 42, is a recipe for another similar and popular Egyptian dish: "Ful Medames" (Cooked Fava Beans) said to be the favorite breakfast dish for the late Egyptian King Faruk (1920-1965).



Al-Ṭahy: Wajabat Shahiyah li-Rabbat al-Buyut [Cooking: Delicious Dishes for Homemakers] by Samirah Shanuda. [Cairo: Dar al-Zayni li 'l-Tiba'ah, 1977].

In this Egyptian Cookbook, the author Samirah Shanudah, a Coptic Egyptian, gives around 100 recipes of the most popular dishes in Egypt. Some of the traditional Egyptian dishes, as their names suggest, might have been handed down from ancient Egypt for generations.


Egyptian Food and Drink by Hilary Wilson. Aylesbury, Bucks [England]: Shire, 1988.

"Food features prominently in Egyptian wall paintings and reliefs of all periods. Old Kingdom tomb owners are shown overseeing the work of their servants preparing and delivering all manners of foodstuffs, Middle Kingdom tomb models reproduce the activities of the bakery, brewery and butcher's yard. New Kingdom monarchs are portrayed offering to the gods plates of bread, meat and vegetables. Food was naturally essential to the Egyptians but Eighteenth Dynasty paintings of dinner parties show that the affluent upper class enjoyed the luxury of eating for pleasure" (p. 7).

The curled pastry shown in the picture is the modern "Mushabbak" (made of a mixture of semolina, yoghurt or milk, baking soda, deep-fried in oil and dipped in syrup). It is still a popular dessert in many Middle Eastern countries and made the same way.



al-Ma'idah al-Maghribiyah [The Moroccan Table] by Nadiyah Jahri. [Morocco]: N. Jahri, 2000.

The book contains more than 200 recipes of the different foods and dishes prepared in the Moroccan households. The author has tried the recipes herself. They are simple and clear. The Moroccan cuisine encompasses different culinary traditions: Arab, Muslim, Berber, Andalusian, and European.


Moroccan Modern by Hassan M'souli, photography by Joe Filshie. Northhampton, Massachusetts: Interlink Books, 2005.

"The art of hospitality is legendary in Morocco, and eating is very much a social ritual, as well as a necessity. When you enter a home, whether it is a wealthy household or a humble Berber tent, you will be greeted with a warm welcome and offered a variety of food. It would be an insult to refuse, and why would you? The hospitality of Morocco is an experience not to be missed; food is always plentiful and wonderfully aromatic and flavorsome" (p. 10).


Tastes of North Africa: Recipes from Morocco to the Mediterranean by Sarah Woodward, with food photography by Gus Filgate, and location photography by Alan Keohane and Sarah Woodward. London : Kyle Cathie, 2005.


[The region] "assimilates many cuisines to create a rich infusion of flavors. The Moors introduced a host of exotic ingredients to Spain, Portugal, Sicily and Province, and in turn when they were expelled from al-Andalus [southern Spain] they retained the culinary knowledge they had gained from the Iberian Peninsula resulting in one of the world's most exotic and tantalizing cuisines. With flavorsome "Tagines", subtly spiced "Couscous" and sticky almond pastries. This book covers all the wonderful tastes of Moroccan food" (back cover).



Tarif al-Nida fi Dimashq al-Fayḥa: Baḥth fi al-Judhur al-Ilmiyah wa-al-Tarikhiyah wa-al-Turathiyah wa-al-Sha'biyah wa-al-Lughawiyah lil-Sila wa-Nida'at Ba'atiha [Witty Cries of Damascene Food Vendors: A Study in their Scientific, Historical, Cultural, Folkloric and Linguistic Roots] by Qutayba al-Shihabi. Dimashq: Wizarat al-Thaqafah, 1998. (2 vols).

A plate of delicious mixed pickles: carrots, cauliflower, eggplant, varieties of cucumber and squash which the author photographed at one of the pickle stores in Damascus in 1998.


Damaskus: der Geschmack einer Stadt [Damascus: A Taste of a City] by Marie Fadel, aufgezeichnet von Rafik Schami. Zurich: Sanssouci, c 2002.

One needs no more than a glance at this kaleidoscope of colors and shapes - where the ancient past of the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world embraces the present - to taste and smell the aromas of the delicacies prepared on the streets and in the households of Damascus, the present capital of Syria, and for almost one century the capital of the Islamic Empire (660-750)


Mt. Lebanon to Vermont: Autobiography of George Haddad, taken down by his daughter Emily Marie Haddad, with the assistance of Berenice Rachel Tuttle. Introduction by John Mead (Governer of Vermont, 1910-1912). Rutland, Vt.: The Tuttle Co., 1916.

Although an autobiography of a Syrian immigrant from Mount Lebanon who came to the United States in 1892, this book contains recipes of the Syrian dishes which Mrs. Haddad used to prepare for her family. These same recipes from the turn of the 20th century are still being used in modern Syria and Lebanon and by the descendents of the Syrian and Lebanese Americans until now.


Fann al-Tabkh lil-Akalat al-Yamaniyah [The Art of Cooking Yemeni Dishes] by Anisah Ahmad 'Ali al-Anisi. Ṣan'a': Maktabat al-Mutafawwiq li 'l-Tiba'a wa 'l-Nashr, [2004]

The southern region of the Arabian Peninsula, especially Yemen and Hadramut (the land of the famous Arabian frankincense), had a long cultural history, way before the advent of Islam. In this cookbook, a native and a teacher from that part of the world gives us recipes from modern Yemen. Some of the dishes' names do indeed point to the possibility that they are the same as those the ancient Yemenites used to prepare.


The Cuisine of Armenia Sonia Uvezian, illustrations by Dickran Palulian. Northbrook, IL: Siamanto Press, 2001.

"The combination of many influences plus pride in national heritage has given Armenians a richly varied cuisine that, in addition to preserving its vast repertoire of original dishes, has skillfully assimilated foods of other cultures that left their imprint on the land. Conversely, as Armenians settled throughout the Middle East, a large number of their recipes became part of the cuisines of other countries in the region" (p. 4).


The Armenian Table: More than 165 Treasured Recipes that Bring Together Ancient Flavors and Twenty-first-Century Style by Victoria Jenanyan Wise, food photography by Rick Wise. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2004.

The Armenian cuisine is a product of the lands inhabited by the Armenians for millennia: Armenia proper, Turkey, Greece, the Mediterranean shores, and some Arab countries, especially Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. In essence, it is a Middle Eastern cuisine. It is still alive among the descendents of the early Armenian immigrants in both North and South America and other parts of the world where Armenian communities are settled.


Simply Armenian: Naturally Healthy Ethnic Cooking Made Easy by Barbara Ghazarian. Monterey, California: Mayreni Publishers, 2004.

"The secrets of the Armenian table are revealed for North American home cooks. Simply Armenian draws on the ancient culinary traditions of the Tigris and Euphrates river basins to explore over 150 classic recipes ranging from inexpensive but tasty peasant fare to special occasion dishes. More than half are meat-free and all are delivered with the cheerful generosity of a neighbor" (back cover).


Secrets of Cooking: Armenian, Lebanese, Persian by Linda Chirinian ; photographs by Rene Chirinian. New Canaan, CT: Lionhart, 1987.

"For the cautious and conservative cook, the Armenian, Lebanese and Persian meals may, on the outset, seem time-consuming and difficult to prepare. They shouldn't be. Secrets of Cooking was inspired by and designed for people who were discouraged from preparing these tasteful, authentic dishes who needed a simple, step by step approach to creating original means without disappointment. It pleases me to know that Secrets of Cooking has proven valuable for those who took the initiative to follow the instructions to end up with delicious meals." (p. 8).


Cuisines of the Caucasus Mountains: Recipes, Drinks, and Lore from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia by Kay Shaw Nelson. New York: Hippocrene Books, c 2002.

"Because of its geographic and ethnic diversity, the colorful and vibrant cookery of the Caucasus, represents a mixture of tastes. We find distinct culinary influences from the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Arabs, Turks, and Central Asians, and there are some Slavic or Russian contributions. Today, the region's cuisine is perhaps best described as a joyful mélange of Persian, Turkish, Greek, or Mediterranean with many innovations and improvements" (p. 4-5).


The Arab-Israeli Cookbook by Robin Soans, [with a foreword by Claudia Roden]. London : Aurora Metro, 2004.

"Simple recipes offering the best of Middle Eastern food and more. `Gathered in Israel and Palestine from ordinary people going about their everyday lives, the author found that each person had a story to tell and a recipe to cook. Robin Soans tells of his moving encounters with the people of the region and provides authentic pictures of those he met, the places he visited and the food he tasted. We bring you their individual recipes handed down through the generations-from carrot cake to kebab, from falafel to gefilte fish, from tabbouleh to tuna melt." (back cover).


Indian Jewish Cooking by Mavis Hyman. London: Hyman Publishers, 1993.


"Characteristically, Jewish communities in the Diaspora preserved their culture with interesting culinary results. In the Middle East, for example, Jews had a repertoire of dishes indigenous to that region and which they took with them to lands of new settlement. From the time they left Baghdad and Syria until the present day, most of the Jews of India retain an essentially Middle Eastern style of cooking. The connections are clear, from the works of Elizabeth David, Claudia Roden, Susie Benghiat and Daisy Iny for example. During the 200 years of settlement, however, Indian influences inevitably crept in. The employment of Moslem cooks in Jewish households meant not only that the cooks learnt our way of cooking but they also introduced to us local dishes, local ingredients, and local traditions in cooking. The mainspring of this work, however, lies in the style of cooking brought from Baghdad and Syria to the three main Jewish settlements in India-Bombay, Cochin and Calcutta" (P. 15).



Food for the Vegetarian: Traditional Lebanese Recipes by Aida Karaoglan. New York: Intrlink Books, 1988.


"Lebanon's cuisine draws from culinary history truly unlike any other in the world. This healthy and wholesome diet is a reflection of Lebanon's unique interaction with Babylonians, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Byzantines, Turks, and more recently, Europeans. This tantalizing collection of vegetarian recipes-passed down from mother to daughter, generation after generation-has been carefully collected from the rural villages of Lebanon, patiently tested and adapted to Western kitchens. Accompanied by colorful photographs, these tempting and delicious dishes are straightforward and easy to prepare. They offer exotic alternatives to those wishing to rely more on plant protein and less on meat protein." (back cover).


Most of these delicacies are cooked today, especially during Lent, by the Christian communities in Lebanon and Syria.



Selera Srikandi by Hajah Sharifah Maimunah Syed Mohamad. Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka Brunei, Kementerian Kebudayaan, Belia dan Sukan, 1994, Vol. 1.

A cookbook from Brunei, a small sultanate in Southeast Asia, on the South China Sea. The country consists primarily of Malays (64%) and Chinese (20%). The predominant religion is Islam (63%, Buddhism 14%). Malay is the official language; English and Chinese are also spoken. The diversity of dishes in this cookbook represents different culinary traditions: Islamic, Buddhist, Middle Eastern, Chinese, Malaysian, European, etc. All the recipes are translated into English.


Ahan: Sap læ Sin Phændin Thai = Thai cuisine: Treasure and Art of the Land. Krung Thep : Plæn Mothip, 2546 [2003].

Celebration of 'Id al-Fitr at the Mosque of Thonburi (part of Bangkok the capital of Thailand) at the end of the holy month of Rmadan by the Muslim community of the city. The Islamic culinary traditions are strictly observed and adhered to despite the vast distance that separate Thailand from the main Islamic centers.