Step aside Burger King, Lebanon’s Malak Al-Batata is claiming the French fries sandwich

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In Beirut, nestled among Hamra’s brandless shops and street vendors, through the chaos of taxi horns and grilled corn vendors, stands Lebanon’s Malak Al-Batata. (Arab News)
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In Beirut, nestled among Hamra’s brandless shops and street vendors, through the chaos of taxi horns and grilled corn vendors, stands Lebanon’s Malak Al-Batata. (Arab News)
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Updated 28 September 2020

Step aside Burger King, Lebanon’s Malak Al-Batata is claiming the French fries sandwich

  • With Burger King’s latest announcement of the possible introduction a French fries sandwich in New Zealand, Arabs across social media were quick to remind the world of the sandwich batata (French fries sandwich)

LONDON: Since time immemorial, Arabs and their ancestors have laid claim to some of the world's most renowned inventions. From coffee, to soap and Algebra, the world can pay tribute to Arabs for their role in creating and exporting some of today’s most used inventions.

The same can be said about Arab food creations. With Burger King’s latest announcement of the possible introduction a French fries sandwich in New Zealand, Arabs across social media were quick to remind the world of the sandwich batata (French fries sandwich) and attempt to lay claim to the delicious creation. 

In Beirut, nestled among Hamra’s brandless shops and street vendors, through the chaos of taxi horns and grilled corn vendors, stands Lebanon’s Malak Al-Batata (King of Fries) on Hamra Main Street. The sign, which has changed throughout the years from an artistic vintage look to a more modern logo with the rounded face of a king, can be identified from afar — a beacon for hungry travelers along the road.

The neon red menu charts all the sandwiches the “king” is ready to serve, especially the shop’s namesake best seller — the batata sandwich. 

For a mere LL 3,000 ($2), a diner can get the large, toasted, fry-filled sandwich and even watch the chefs prepare it behind the glass counter in typical deli fashion.




(Arab News)

Open up a pita, stuff it with crunchy coleslaw, sweet ketchup, crispy golden French fries, then give it a slight toast and the best example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts is achieved.




(Arab News)

When news spread of Burger King’s French fry sandwich, Arabs took to social media in their droves to defend the beloved batata sandwich.

“They’ve appropriated the batata sandwich,” tweeted Abed Ayoub, the legal and policy director at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

“The only true kings of this sandwich (are) Malak Al-Taouk and Malak Al-Batata. Y’all are frauds,” tweeted Ibn Battouta Jr.

“Feeling like a hipster (because) in Lebanon we (have) been eating sandwich batata since like 1914,” another user, Batenjeen, tweeted.

While Arabs may lay claim to this invention — and have been quick to call Burger King out for being late to the game — they aren’t the only ones with similar sandwiches.

The UK version is named the chip butty, while the South African fare is called the chip roll — both of which are made with chips (fries) on buttered white bread or a bread roll, often with an added condiment such as brown sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise or malt vinegar.

In 2018, Business Insider rolled out a video showcasing the Turkish version of the batata sandwich called the Patso, which is cheesy bread stuffed with French fries and topped with ketchup and mayonnaise. 

The video prompted a similarly strong reaction form the Middle East, with many teasing the US’s “lateness to the game.”

“Bro I’ve been eating this for 21 years,” Mustiddies tweeted back in 2018, adding that, “Whenever my mom wouldn’t have the energy to cook, she’d shut us up with a fries sandwich.”


Regional brands join the fight against breast cancer

Updated 59 min 21 sec ago

Regional brands join the fight against breast cancer

DUBAI: October is breast cancer awareness month and in light of this, a number of regional labels are showing their support by way of charitable initiatives that see a portion of the proceeds of their sales being donated to different organizations.

Among those brands is the rising Saudi label Honayda. “To all the women who have fought breast cancer  and to those who are still fighting it, you are champions,” wrote the brand’s designer Honayda Serafi on Instagram, adding that she has joined the #PinkMovement initiative to help spread awareness about breast cancer and to remind women to routinely get check-ups for early detection.

Bahrain-based label Noon by Noor, which was founded by cousins Shaikha Noor Al-Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al-Khalifa have curated “The Pink Edit” on the brand’s website, which features a selection of draped gowns, tunics, T-shirts, trousers and cropped jackets in varying shades of rose. 

The edit was launched in collaboration with Think Pink, a breast cancer society in Bahrain. Shoppers are invited to purchase their favorite rose-tinted pieces throughout the month of October, with 10 percent of proceeds going to Think Pink. 

Also raising awareness about the disease and the benefits of early detection is Kuwaiti accessories label Marzook. The handbag brand, which is known for its over-the-top, orb-shaped clutches, is offering 15 percent off on all of the pink-hued Marzook bags on their website and donating to support various giveback programs. 

“In celebration of breast cancer awareness month, Marzook wants to take the opportunity this month to celebrate survivors and their loved ones and raise awareness around the importance of early detection and screening,” wrote the brand on Instagram. 

Featured products include a crystal-embellished pink clutch, a crystal orb bag and a lucid, circular purse among others.

Other fashion and beauty brands continuing their efforts to support the cause and put a spotlight on the issue include the likes of Ralph Lauren, Estée Lauder and Beautyblender, among others, by launching products, capsule collections and pop-up shops to donate funds to organizations such as the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.