ALKHOBAR: As Jubail gets ready to be part of the Sharqiah Season, another attraction is sure to draw attention from far and wide: a temporary branch of Albaik, the legendary Jeddah chicken shack. Visitors to Jubail’s Young Marine Park can now swing by its pop-up restaurant for a taste of the west coast’s iconic fried chicken for the next 45 days, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.
“I don’t care if it’s in Jubail; I’ll go all the way there for Albaik,” one person tweeted. “It’s cheaper than getting a flight to Jeddah, after all.”
The first Albaik restaurant opened in Jeddah in 1974 as the local answer to Kentucky Fried Chicken and has since gained something of a cult following in Saudi culture. Long seen as a west-coast-exclusive, Albaik has only just started to expand outside of the Hijaz region and into other parts of Saudi Arabia. Riyadh now has two branches in operation, with more on the way, and the chain shows no signs of slowing down.
The fast-food chain took to Twitter to announce plans to expand its reach to the east coast back in October of 2018, causing a nationwide frenzy amongst fried chicken enthusiasts. “Goodbye, KFC, McDonald’s, Kudu and Herfy!” one fan commented on Albaik’s Facebook page. “If we’re getting Albaik, then no other fast food matters.”
The pop-up shares its debut with that of Sharqiah Season, a festival that opens across several east coast cities on Thursday, March 14 and runs until March 30. With Jubail events including a multimedia water show, watersport competitions, concerts and exhibitions, residents and visitors alike can take in the entertainment and grab some coveted chicken goodness to boot.
The festival will also feature sports events such as the Red Bull Air Race and the Formula 1 H20 boat race, as well as concerts in Dammam featuring Akon, Deadmau5, Pitbull and French Montana.