Ever since Al Baik announced that it would be opening branches in the UAE, it has thrown foodies into something of a frenzy. Its first branch – launched in The Dubai Mall in June – has been known to attract queues so long that pictures of them have gone viral, and there are no signs of them abating either.
For those planning to make a trip, the Expo 2020 branch doesn’t have any dishes that are exclusive to it, but rather a limited selection from the original Al Baik menu. So expect dishes such as their falafel, the only vegetarian offering at the moment; the chicken nuggets meal, the most popular option; the value shrimp meal (Dh27 for 10 pieces) and the jumbo shrimp meal.
The meal options come with fries and sauces, which can also be bought separately if you have a hankering for extra helpings of the garlic or nugget sauces.
The menu at Al Baik Expo 2020 is constantly updated, with more dishes being added; new to the list seems to be the corn in a cup (Dh7.50) and a double Baik sandwich (Dh9.50) with options between regular and spicy.
How does Al Baik Expo 2020 compare to Al Baik at The Dubai Mall?
The Dubai Mall branch offers a wider selection, with all the Expo 2020 offerings as well as options such as the chicken fillet sandwich (Dh6.50), hummus (Dh4.50) and vanilla ice cream (Dh2).
However, the prices on the Expo 2020 menu are slightly elevated.
The brand’s most famous offering, the nugget meal, is priced at Dh15 at The Dubai Mall but goes for Dh18 at Expo 2020; the shrimp meal is Dh22 at The Dubai Mall and Dh27 at Expo; and the double Baik which is Dh7.50 at The Dubai Mall is priced at Dh9.50 at Expo.
According to calculations, that's about a 20 to 25 per cent increase in prices at the Expo 2020 site when compared to The Dubai Mall. The bottom line is that you can expect to shell out around Dh2 to Dh5 more for the same dishes at Expo 2020, although with Al Baik’s prices, this still puts it very much in the budget category.
How does Al Baik in the UAE compare to Saudi Arabia?
Al Baik opened its first store in Jeddah in 1974 and it’s certainly come a long way since then. A meal of four sizeable chicken pieces, along with a bun and fries, was initially priced at 10 Saudi riyals (Dh9), making it a satisfying and affordable meal for those on a tight budget. Today, the same meal goes for SAR13 with VAT (Dh12.7).
The Saudi branches have a more extensive menu too, with a variety of sandwich options, fish fillet and desserts, which we hope will land in the UAE soon enough.
There’s also a difference in price: Al Baik’s beloved chicken nuggets meal goes for SAR13 (Dh12.7) in Saudi Arabia as opposed to The Dubai Mall Dh15 price tag and Dh18 Expo 2020 price.
The shrimp meal goes for SAR19 (Dh18.6) in Saudi Arabia and Dh22 at Dubai Mall at Dh27 at Expo.
The jumbo shrimp meal is priced at SAR26.5 for eight pieces (Dh25.9); it is available at Dh31 at The Dubai Mall and Dh38 at Expo 2020.
Overall, it’s about a 20 per cent jump in prices between Saudi Arabia and at The Dubai Mall.
There might be a difference in terms of pricing and offerings, but the flavours and memories associated with the brand ensure that it still has a solid fan following. And judging by the lines gathering outside both the UAE branches, it looks like the appeal of Al Baik isn’t waning any time soon.