But unlike most such food fads, this one did not originate from a hipster American eatery, but from an innocuous Australian patisserie, Patissez, in Canberra in 2015. Thanks to Instagram, it became a worldwide phenomenon over the next couple of years, including in the Middle East, where freakshakes are available in a growing number of eateries.
Typically served in mason jars, these decadent diabetes-inducers are designed to look as outrageously sweet as they taste. Here is our hotlist of the best places to find the most indulgent shakes in the region.
The Aussies may have invented it, but the Americans seem to have perfected it, if the signature shakes at this build-your-own-burger venue are anything to go by. At the Jeddah outlet, you can indulge in handcrafted treats such as the Birthday Cake Shake (vanilla ice cream, cake mix and rainbow sprinkles), the Caramel Apple Crumble Shake and the Banana Split Shake (vanilla ice cream, fruits, caramel and chocolate syrup), as well as build your own.
Steak n Shake
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This international burger chain, with its roots in Indianapolis, is probably as popular for its milkshakes as it is for its food. The Riyadh outlet, featuring a retro diner-style environment, serves up specialty shakes with toppings such as chocolate chip cookies, cookies and cream, peanut butter and M&Ms, all handmade using quality ingredients. With more Middle East expansion plans in the pipeline — they already have outlets in Kuwait too — it is likely that you will be able to get your sugary shake fix even more easily.
Burgers and shakes just seem to go together, so no surprises that most of these freakshakes emerge from burger restaurants. At the Dubai outpost of this New York institution, you will find jaw-dropping concoctions that the word “shake” simply cannot do justice to.
Laden with things such as chocolate brownies, cakes, chocolate-covered pretzels and peanut butter cups, topped with M&Ms, sprinkles, cotton candy and lollipops, and served in towering glasses with frosted rims and a generous dollop of whipped cream, if there ever was a sugar overload in a glass, this is it. These self-proclaimed “crazy shakes” need at least two people to get through them.
No self-respecting list of shake joints would be complete without a nod to this DIY destination where you make your own ultimate shake, choosing from over 70 flavors and toppings.
This local brand, with branches across Saudi Arabia, may not sell themselves as freakshake specialists. But when you can customize your own “drinkable dessert” with treats such as Oreo cookies, M&Ms, Snickers, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and lots of whipped cream, we think that qualifies as freakish enough.
This well-loved American chain is known for its regular shakes which, with their whipped cream tops, are calorific indulgences in and of themselves. But they also regularly come up with limited-edition shakes that take things to the next level. Plus their “concretes” — frozen custard ice cream with all sorts of add-ons — can probably be considered the father of freakshakes. Shake Shack has outlets in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.
Not only does this funky home-grown restaurant in Dubai do comfort food very well, they also offer a selection of monster shakes that fit in perfectly with its hip, industrial vibe. Their innovative “dessert in a drink” offerings include bro-nut (chocolate brownie, Nutella and marshmallow), popping cereal (popcorn ice cream with caramel and white chocolate), and funky cheesecake (strawberry cheesecake, biscuits and chocolate).