Fast food geography: Discover Qatar through Arby’s
What better way to learn about a country than through its fast food? Arby’s has an intriguing international presence, with locations in the United States, Canada, the UAE, and Qatar. That makes the Arby’s a perfect lens to learn the basics about Qatar.
Qatar’s capital is Doha
You’ll find your Qatari Arby’s in Doha, the capital city. It’s Qatar’s largest city, with a population around a million. The Arby’s is on Salwa Road, near the Ramada, and other Western restaurants are clustered nearby, like the Burger King on Suhaim Bin Hamad Street and the DQ Grill and Chill in the same complex.
As Qatar’s largest city, Doha’s home to the most expatriates and cosmopolitan influences. It will host many of the World Cup games in 2022.
Qatar’s currency is the Riyal
Want to buy a regular roast beef sandwich? According to the menu, it will cost you 22 Riyal. That comes out to about $6 USD.
The riyal is also the name of Saudi Arabia’s currency. After Qatar stopped using the Indian rupee in 1966, they briefly switched to the Saudi Riyal. They teamed up with the UAE for a while before issuing their own riyal in 1973.
Qatar shares the Middle East’s affinity for mangoes
Because it largely caters to expats and Western-friendly diners, Arby’s menu in Qatar isn’t particularly localized. However, there is one notable concession: your Jamocha shake will have to be a mango shake instead.
India, just across the Gulf, is the world’s largest producer of mangoes, and Qatar shares the rest of the Middle East’s taste for the fruit. It’s easy to find mango lassi in Qatar, so the Arby’s shake there is a close cousin to the classic drink.
Qatar is Muslim, moderate, and Western friendly
The presence of an Arby’s may have been a giveaway that Qatar is a Western-friendly country (the presence of U.K. and U.S. military forces should be another). The Arby’s there is open on Friday and, as notably, serves the world famous Ultimate BLT.
Bacon in Qatar isn’t without controversy, and the sale of pork products to non-Muslims is a cause for continued debate. However, as an oil empire, it’s unlikely that Qatar’s Western-friendly stance will change in the near future. Order your BLT freely—just make sure to get a side of curly fries.