Luckily, our friend who had been fasting all day for Ramadan was there with us, and we let him do all the talking. Through a jumble of Arabic, we were able to make out words like halloumi, chicken, banana, foul—quite a lively mix of foods, we thought to ourselves—but we pretty much had no idea what to expect. Except the Dhs 145 price tag (around $40 USD), which, for a two-person room service meal, didn't seem too bad.
Thirty-five minutes later, a knock at the door, and a fully loaded cart was wheeled in. The attendant removed the covers from several plates of cheeses, hummus, salad and a bread basket. Then, to our surprise, he opened a plate-warming cabinet on the side of the cart and took out three more dishes. This was our kind of midnight snack!
It turns out suhoor is not just limited to specific foods, but can incorporate lots of different kinds of dishes. It falls loosely under the category of breakfast, but since it can be eaten either before bedtime, or right after waking up, there is room for interpretation.
The hotel-prepared suhoor was one of the best we've ever had. Well, it was also the first we've ever had, but nevertheless we loved it. All the hummus, bread, cheeses, grapes, roasted vegetables, spiced chicken and grilled halloumi went together like the midnight room service smorgasbord we've always dreamed of.
Apparently, the banana milkshake ordered on the side was simply our friend satisfying a craving he'd been having for bananas all day long. Fair enough.
We didn't quite manage to get through every plate on the cart, but, in the true spirit of cultural exploration, we gave it our best try.