1. Bubur Lambuk
Bubur lambuk is a rice porridge with a variety of ingredients, among them sweet potatoes, prawns, beef, and herbs. This dish is also traditionally served free by Mosques to the public during the breaking of a fast after sunset but can be eaten during Hari Raya itself too.
Do not be fooled into thinking this is some sort of chocolatey delicacy. It’s actually a sticky sweet dessert is made from coconut milk, cane sugar, and rice flour. Besides the original, dodol can also be found in other flavours like durian and jackfruit.
3. Ketupat or Lemang
A Hari Raya icon, no festivity is complete without these little parcels of squished boiled rice. The ketupat’s bland flavour makes it a great accompaniment to more robust meat dishes served during this period. Lemang, meanwhile, is a variation on the ketupat that is cooked in hollowed bamboo poles lined with banana leaves.
4. Kueh Raya
Just like Chinese New Year, you’ll find it hard to dodge all manner of sweet treats and cookies during Hari Raya. You have your traditional pineapple tarts, kueh makmur and almond london varieties, as well as new flavours like cornflake and ondeh-ondeh up for sale these days.
5. Kueh Lapis
More sweets for the sweet, this time with the traditional kueh lapis (or layered cake), which tastes as good as it looks. Kueh lapis is simply a layered pastry made from thin alternating sheets comprising butter, eggs and sugar, coloured separately and piled on top of each other.
A staple at many homes in Singapore during Hari Raya, families can often end up eating lontong for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Think of it as rice cakes in a mixed vegetable curry dish. The bright orangy gravy may look spicy, but it is actually very mild, slightly sweet and has a lovely coconut milk aroma.
Rendang is a preparation of beef, duck, or chicken that has been slowly cooked in coconut milk and spices over the space of a few hours. This rich and flavourful dish is always, always found on the dining table during Hari Raya and every family usually has their own secret recipe.
You’ll find serunding (or meat floss) at many houses during Hari Raya. This appetite-rousing snack is favoured by the little ones usually but everyone will have their fill of serunding by the time Hari Raya comes to a close.
This spicy soup noodle always makes a showing as you trek from open house to open house during Hari Raya. In Malaysia, particularly, the type of laksa served can denote which state the family hails from. If Assam laksa is served, the family comes from the northern states (Penang, Kedah) while if curry-based laksa is served, the family hails from down south (Melaka or Johor).
After all that feasting, you have to have something to quench your thirst and that’s where a tall, cool drink of Bandung steps in. There’s just something about its vibrant, pink hue that bring a smile to everyone’s faces during Hari Raya and beyond.
11. Assam Pedas
Some families will always have a dish of Assam Pedas (also known as Assam Fish Curry) on their table come Hari Raya. It’s said that a woman’s prospective mother-in-law will test how good of a cook she is by asking her to prepare this dish before accepting her into the family. It takes hours to make but the result is delicious, tangy and spicy!
12. Black Glutinous Rice Dessert
This traditional Malay dessert (also known as Bubur Pulut Hitam) is a festive delicacy and sweetens up the palate after a full day of feasting on mostly savoury dishes. This dessert is also healthy due to the use of black glutinous rice, which is unprocessed and therefore, retains more nutrients.
What’s icy cool but sinfully sweet as well? Chendol! Not every house will have this dessert on the menu but those that do, will have some very happy diners returning for seconds (and maybe thirds!). What is it you ask? An iced dessert that contains shredded green rice jelly, coconut milk and palm sugar syrup in an oh-so-delicious combination that thrills and delights during the festivities.
14. Sayur Lodeh
Pairing ketupat with rendang is a Raya favourite, but if you’d like to have something different, this rich, coconut milk curry dish ticks all the right boxes for the festive season. Pair it with ketupat rice cakes to make it a heartier meal.