Friends always ask me in Singapore if I miss spending Ramadan in Sarajevo and what part do I miss the most.
I probably miss Sarajevo Somun the most. I know, I know what you're thinking. What is Somun??? Somun is a type of Bosnian bread that has been a staple of Ramadan and Iftar in Bosnia for centuries. Somun is believed to have been influenced by the arrival of the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. It's a cross between Turkish pide bread and pitta bread in the western countries.
Only true master bakers throughout Sarajevo are able to make the best and tastiest Somun. The dough is kneaded by hand as it has been done that way throughout centuries. They are made in old wooden stoves with the temperature reaching around 500 degrees Celsius.
Ramadan Somun also differs from the regular Somun due to the fact that they are sprinkled with black seed. In the Arab world, they call it Habbatul barakah (the blessed seed). An hour or so before Iftar, people will line up in front of bakeries waiting to buy the Somun, directly taken out of the hot oven. The smell is overwhelming. As a kid I used to stand in line with my grandfather waiting for the Somun while my grandma prepared Iftar. I guess I miss that the most.
If you ever happen to be in Sarajevo during Ramadan, do try the Somun. It's a beautiful experience.
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