CultureShift: Dining options expanding in Metro Detroit during Ramadan

Eater Detroit’s Serena Maria Daniels and WDET’s Nargis Rahman joined “CultureShift” to discuss the expansion of dining options during Ramadan.

Eater Detroit editor Serena Maria Daniels and WDET reporter Nargis Rahman post in front of a WDET logo.

Thousands in Metro Detroit are celebrating the holy month of Ramadan right now. During the lunar month-long holiday, many Muslims fast from food and drink during the daylight hours, making the meals eaten before sunrise and after sundown (called Iftar and Suhoor) incredibly important.

Eater Detroit’s 2023 Ramadan Eating Guide has quickly become one of their most popular annual lists, even influencing an increase in Ramadan coverage across the national Eater news network. Serena Maria Daniels, a Mexican American and longtime food and culture journalist in Detroit, says she began compiling the dining guide last year.

“I’ve lived in communities where I don’t feel seen, I don’t feel represented in the local newspaper or local TV news,” Daniels says. “And we would be remiss if we didn’t write about it in the same way that we might write about Christmas or Thanksgiving. Imagine if we didn’t cover the automotive industry in Detroit — it would be a huge missing piece. That’s kind of the approach that I’ve taken with Ramadan as well.”

Listen: Dining options in Metro Detroit expand during Ramadan

WDET reporter Nargis Rahman covers many issues affecting local communities of color, including the food culture that’s unique to celebrating Ramadan in Detroit.

Rahman observes it’s becoming more popular for local restaurants and coffee shops to change their business hours to accommodate Muslim customers breaking fast.

“Maybe right before they’re going to the night prayers or right after, maybe they want a cup of coffee or a quick bite to eat,” says Rahman. “You’ll see some of the coffeehouses are also open late, especially since many people want to socialize with friends and family [after breaking fast each day].”

Rahman continues: “The other thing is that they’ll have special menu items. So specifically in the Bangladeshi restaurants like Aladdin [and] Bono, they’ll have special foods that you only find during Ramadan. So if you want to get a taste of homemade Bangladeshi food, then this is a great chance to go into the restaurants and see what we really eat during Ramadan.”

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  • Amanda LeClaire
    Amanda LeClaire is an award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. She’s a founding producer of WDET’s flagship news talk show Detroit Today, and a former host/reporter for Arizona Public Media. Amanda is also an artist, certified intuitive and energy healer, and professional tarot reader.