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I tried the Moroccan-style Ramadan buffet, and it was delicious!

I tried the Moroccan-style Ramadan buffet, and it was delicious!

In Montreal, journalist Louis-Philippe Messier travels mostly on the run, with his desk in his backpack, in search of fascinating subjects and people. He speaks to everyone and is interested in all walks of life in this urban register.

This week the Ramadan fast began and someone suggested I go to dinner at one of the many buffets in Montreal that offer special menus, which start right at sunset.

“You should try the Ramadan buffet even if you haven't tried it,” my barber told me.

He showed me a tiktoker in Montreal who dedicates videos to these buffets.

A few hours later, I arrived at Malak (“angel” in Arabic), a Moroccan restaurant located in the San Michele area on Boulevard Pie-IX.

The clientele is 99% from North Africa, according to the owner. All you can eat buffet for $24.

A censer near the entrance spreads the smoke I usually associate with organs and Gregorian chants.

This fragrance will not accompany a mass this evening, but rather a tempting and colorful feast ftourIt is a Moroccan name given to breaking the fast every night of the month of Ramadan.

Delicious smells waft from the kitchen. The light is bright and the music is festive. loud voice.

“People arrive at the last minute!” exclaims Mohsen Al-Milani, the owner.

If his face looks familiar to you, it's because he was the main media “outrage” of Montreal taxi drivers against Uber, seven or eight years ago. Here's a restaurant owner.

the last moment

Ten minutes before the start, Mr. Meliani and a staff member hastened to place everything on the service table: bread, pies, soup, fish puffs, hard-boiled eggs, etc.; And I'm still the only one there with my 7 year old son.

At 6:55 PM, the first customers arrive, greet the owner warmly, help themselves and dine starting at 6:56 PM (exact time of ftour Tuesday evening).

Another arrives three minutes later: He starts smoking a cigarette outside before entering (since he was deprived of tobacco before ftour More painful than abstaining from food for some.

The majority of people who spend Ramadan eat with family or friends.

“People invite each other, but they quickly get bored of cooking, and then, my tables are booked days in advance,” says a beaming Mr. Al-Milani.

During my visit on Tuesday evening, customers of Ramadan Orphans.

“My wife is visiting her family in Tunisia, and instead of being alone at home, I’m here,” says Idris, one of the clients.

“I'm not very religious, I drink alcohol, but I really fast during Ramadan,” another solo eater told me.

A young couple arrives.

“In Morocco, we don't go to restaurants because everyone invites themselves to eat during the 30 days… but here, there aren't enough Moroccans for that… or we don't know enough!” Akram and Ikram Sumatran tell me while laughing.

Son and I

Akram and Ikram Sumatran drink mint tea.

Louis Philippe Messier

Everyone is friendly with my son who finds a way to stuff himself with only dates, honey, cheese, bread and sweetened sourdough. I'm sorry With strawberry coulis.

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I reward myself with puffer fish paste, then four small sandwiches Batbot Top with liver, chicken, shrimp and corn, while emptying a bowl of soup Calorie And several cups of mint tea.

Son and I

These sandwiches are small, but if you eat four of them, they fill the corner.

Louis Philippe Messier

Most customers stay and order the tagines later (in addition to the buffet).

If my report had taken place at an Afghan or Pakistani restaurant, the menu would have been completely different…but the meal would have started at the same moment.