Suhoor Fest to bring unique food, flavors for Bay Area Ramadan celebration

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Saturday, March 23, 2024
Suhoor Fest to bring unique flavors for Bay Area Ramadan celebration
Suhoor Fest will bring unique food and flavors to San Jose this weekend for a special Ramadan celebration.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- This weekend in San Jose, a parking lot will be transformed into what's known as "Suhoor Fest" that will feature plenty of great food from local vendors.

Thousands will enjoy anything from Indian cuisine to tacos and Texas BBQ throughout this special celebration

During the celebration of Ramadan, the Muslim community fasts from sunrise to sunset as an act of worship.

The meal eaten before dawn is known as Suhoor and making sure it's a good experience is important.

"Usually in Muslim-majority countries, the nighttime is when everybody goes out and eats and they go out on the street and have street food and other things like that," Suhoor Fest organizer Irfan Rydhan said. "So, we want to replicate that experience."

Suhoor fest is a celebration of food, friends and family here in the Bay Area.

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Bhaiya's Grill owner and head chef Syed Sami is already hard at work on his Texas-Style Halal Brisket for Saturday's event.

"In the Bay, there's not too many Halal vendors that are doing smoked brisket," Sami said. "Smoking brisket is a very, very long process. I'm talking about a 14-18 hour smoke. Then after that, we hold our brisket anywhere for anywhere between 12 and 15 hours before serving."

It's a craft that Sami has perfected by studying YouTube videos and working with Texas pitmasters.

It's a unique style of food for Suhoor Fest, but he's proud to bring new flavors.

"My background is from India, so you don't really get that smoked flavor in Indian food," Sami said. "Indian food is great on it's own, but it's a whole different flavor profile."

It's popular at these kinds of festivals - a place where Sami got his start cooking for big crowds.

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"At the end of Ramadan, we have a huge festival called Eid," Sami said. "I had signed up to be one of the vendors. I thought I would sell 50-100 burgers and make a little cash on the side. But, I prepared for 200 burgers and I was the first vendor to sell out."

This time, Sami's ready to serve alongside the other vendors.

With so much tension surrounding the community, Rydhan hopes their food can be a unifying force for all.

"It doesn't matter if you're Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or if you don't have any religion at all - you're always welcome to come and enjoy food," Rydhan said.

The event runs Saturday at 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. at the Saba Islamic Center in North San Jose.

You can learn more by visiting their website.

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