11 December 2013

Burger King Dinner

In Saudi eating at a restaurant has a few peculiarities.  The first thing to be aware of is which door you enter through.  There are separate entrances for 'singles' (meaning men) and 'families' (meaning women, children, and men who are with their family).  Most restaurants serve both singles and families, although you will occasionally run into one that serves only singles or only families.

Ben covertly snapped this picture outside of Burger King while we were waiting for prayer to end and the restaurant to open.  I am wearing my abaya (black dress) that I am required to wear whenever I leave the compound.

Once you enter the restaurant you order at a counter just like you would at any fast food restaurant in the States.  The only difference is that the counter has a wall down the middle, so that the singles are ordering on one side, and the families are ordering on the other side.

The eating areas are definitely completely separated--at Burger King the singles eat downstairs and the families eat upstairs.  We happened to be the first ones upstairs so I took the opportunity to snap a couple pictures.

You can see that in the family section there are separate booths that each have their own curtain.  The kids think the curtains are tons of fun.  :-)  In the singles section the tables are just open seating--no booths or curtains.

The booths with the curtains (and the covered windows) allow more privacy--especially for the Saudi women.  They then have the option of taking off their face covering (niqab) to make eating easier while still remaining 'modest'.

The food is basically the same as we would expect.  Although surprisingly the hamburgers are bigger (especially at McDonald's) and often have a type of white Saudi cheese instead of American cheese.  (Not a bad thing, although the cheese has a richer taste so between that and the larger size I have a hard time eating a whole hamburger.)

One interesting thing we've noticed is that the kids meal toys often seem to be old toys--ie having to do with movies that came out quite a while ago.  Although since they don't have movie theaters in Saudi, none of the locals would know the difference.  :-)