Is it a ‘bancake’ or a ‘pancake’? Arabic speakers explain IHOP name change

File photo showing fresh IHOp pancakes at a Dubai restaurant. (Photo courtesy: IHOp Facebook page)
Updated 10 June 2018

Is it a ‘bancake’ or a ‘pancake’? Arabic speakers explain IHOP name change

LONDON: It’s a puzzle. Or should that be “buzzle”? After 60 years, the International House of Pancakes restaurant chain is changing its acronym from IHOP to IHOb. But they haven’t yet said why.
Cue widespread consternation — and quite a few jokes — all over the Twittersphere… except among pancake-loving Arabic speakers.
For them, this is old news. Arabic has no “p” sound, and speakers of the language usually substitute a “b.” In the Arab world, IHOP has been IHOB ever since the first pancake — sorry, bancake — house opened in Dubai in 2012.
IHOP announced the change (they called it “flipping” the name) on Monday but will not reveal the reason for it until June 11. In the meantime, Twitter has gone into hyper-buzz with tweeters of Arab background supplying most of the wit.
“Did an Arab person take over IHOP?” asked Fatima Syed, a reporter on the Toronto Star newspaper. “I ask as someone who for years was known as the girl from ‘Bakistan.’’’
Ala’a Ibrahim pointed out that Arabs also love to eat in Bizza Hut and Bopeyes, no doubt washing down their food with cans of Bebsi.



“My beoble have taken over IHOB so much, they changed the name to something we can bronounce!” tweeted Mohamed El Dahshan.
Breakfast and brunch are among the suggestions for what the “b” might stand for, along with the more fanciful broccoli, biscuits and even barnacles. IHOP’s popularity in the Middle East led one Twitter user to suggest that since “hob” means “love” in Arabic, therefore “Ihob= I love (pancakes).”
Hob also means the top of a stove, the hub of a wheel or male ferret — none of which seems pertinent, or even bertinent.
IHOP also joined in the fun, tweeting: “The blot thickens.”
When a tweeter named Patrick asked for an explanation, IHOP replied, “Batience, Batrick, batience!” and tweeted an audio guide “to helb you bronounce it broberly.”
The first IHOP in Dubai in 2012 was followed a year later by restaurants in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, then Bahrain and Lebanon in 2014.
From a business perspective, the name change makes little sense. The brand is well established and very well-known, sales are doing well and shares in parent company Dine Brands are up nearly 25 percent.
Changing the signs and menus at nearly 1,800 IHOP restaurants is expensive and risky. Studies have shown that brands which change their names typically experience an immediate 5 to 20 percent drop in sales.
IHOP’s only comment is a statement from Stephanie Peterson, the company’s executive director of communications, which said: “We’re serious about the quality of food and our menu, and this name change really reflects that.”
A search for domain name reveals it is “data protected” and registered by someone with 123 Data Protected, Toronto as an address, and the email address [email protected] Emails sent there bounce back as undeliverable.
All of which could mean one of two things: IHOP have really flipped and this is either a blea for attention or a massive brank.


Other words mispronounced in the Middle East

Lunch on the go at work might very well be a sandwich from ‘Bret-a-manger’. After a hard day, it is tempting to order in a ‘bizza’ and wash it down with a can of ‘Bebsi', and a ‘Benguin' chocolate bar for afters. If you overindulge, a couple of ‘Banadol' should ease any indigestion. Another reason for not going out is difficulty with ‘barking’ the car. Much nicer to stay home with a DVD and tub of ‘bobcorn’ and that is ‘berfect'. 

Nicki Minaj shows off her quad biking skills in the UAE

Nicki Minaj recently released a new album. (AFP)
Updated 25 September 2018

Nicki Minaj shows off her quad biking skills in the UAE

  • Nicki Minaj just hit the sand dunes in Abu Dhabi
  • She was just in Milan attending Fashion Week

DUBAI: Pop superstar Nicki Minaj just hit the sand dunes in Abu Dhabi and posted a string of photos on Instagram to show off her skills.

“Ride wit Minaj (sic),” the rapper-singer captioned a snap on the social media site, showing her astride a dune buggy in the desert.

She also posted a video in which she can be seen speeding through the desert with her loose hair streaming in the wind. Earlier in the evening, she posted a video in which she runs along a beach in the UAE at night and talks in a British accent, saying she wants her fans to “see the water.”

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Ride wit Minaj

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Before her trip to the Gulf country, Minaj sat front row at the Versace show at Milan Fashion Week.

She sat alongside Leona Lewis, Rita Ora, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, actor Luke Evans and Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni in an enormous industrial space in the modern CityLife neighborhood where the runway show was held, according to Reuters.

“I’m so proud of you @donatella_versace You’ve never missed a beat. So tiny, but so powerful,” Minaj posted after the runway show.

“Loved the show tonight. Thank you for my gorgeous flowers & for playing like 75 percent of the Queen album at the show,” she added, referencing fourth studio album, which was released in August to mixed reviews.

Minaj also took a front row seat at the Fendi show in Milan, taking a turn for fans on her way in decked out in a Fendi puffer jacket and matching leggings and cropped top.

Other front-row celebs included Ferragni with her rapper husband Fedez, leaving home their much-Instagrammed infant, Leone, but trailing television cameras as they toured backstage.

While the front-row celebrity attire was highly branded Fendi streetwear, the runway collection by Karl Lagerfeld was more elegant and subtle, the Associated Press noted.

The artist is fresh off a bout of controversy involving US rapper Cardi B, who infamously tried to attack Minaj during a scuffle at a party held on the sidelines of New York Fashion Week earlier in September.

Minaj and Cardi B were the center of attention as A-list guests reportedly huddled around their phones to watch footage of the fracas.
A person who witnessed the incident, who asked for anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said Minaj was finishing up a conversation with someone when Cardi B tried to attack her, but Minaj’s security guards intervened, the Associated Press reported.
Video footage that circulated on social media at the time showed Cardi B lunging toward someone and being held back. Cardi B reportedly threw one of her shoes at Minaj.

Here’s to hoping Minaj has a more enjoyable time in the UAE.