When a spit-roasted meat ends up in a nice soft bun, all it takes is a little tomato, onion, and white sauce to make it the talk of the world. It’s great to show that
When a spit-roasted meat ends up in a nice soft bun, all it takes is a little tomato, onion, and white sauce to make it the talk of the world. It’s great to show that gourmet food is not a big deal. According to legend, medieval Ottoman soldiers used their swords to grill pieces of meat vertically.
This spit cooking would have given birth to kebab meat. In Turkey, the Iskender Kebap restaurant in Bursa claims to have invented the vertical spit in 1867. But what about the sandwich? So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn more about the history of kebabs.
A German-Turkish creation
A popular sandwich par excellence, the kebap, with its Turkish name, was born in Germany. At the age of 16, the young Mehmet Aygün left his native Turkey to live in Berlin. In 1971, Mehmet worked in a small snack bar at the Berlin train station, where he served grilled meat. He had the idea of putting the strips of mutton in a pita bread, the traditional round bread of the Eastern Mediterranean. He adds salad and French fries. Later, tomatoes, onions, and white sauce, another creation of the Turkish cook, were added.
The doner kebab was born, doner meaning the cooking method on a rotating spit, and kebab meaning grilled meat. The sandwich will quickly be exported… to Turkey! In its world tour, it changes its name and nationality. In France, it is often referred to as a “grec”, while the Greeks call it the “gyros”. In the United States, the “shish kebab” is a German specialty. The Arab world knows it as “Shawarma”. Today, kebab meat is often a mixture of veal, turkey, and chicken. The white sauce is made of yogurt, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Consistent and cheap
The small price of the kebab is undoubtedly a major factor in its international success. Cheaper than a Big Mac, it is also more nutritious but more caloric: it is estimated to contain between 800 and 900 calories.
The kebab is also in the news for another record: that of hygiene controls. Many restaurants have been closed, and the sandwich has had a bad reputation ever since. It is, therefore, better to choose your restaurant carefully so as not to end up with a bought kebab and an offered gastro.
Contrary to what was announced by the press in 2009, Mehmet Aygün is not dead! It was a homonym living in the same neighborhood and died at the age of 87 years. The inventor of the kebab is alive and well: he now owns 6 restaurants in Berlin and 5 hotels in Turkey.
Another Turkish immigrant would be at the origin of the same sandwich: a man named Kadir Nurman would have followed the same path from Turkey to Germany before opening a snack bar in 1972, where he served his grilled meat in a flatbread. The Turkish Doner Manufacturers Association recognized his contribution. Norman died in 2013 at the age of 80.
How to eat doner kebab?
Food is an important part of every culture, and traditions and eating habits differ from culture to culture. For example, slurping your noodles is considered a positive thing in Japanese culture, while it is frowned upon in the West. So you might think that eating a kebab is easy, but I ask you to think again because it is not.
Grabbing the skewer and eating the kebab directly from it is a widely accepted technique, and you have the right to do so. However, more traditional people and Orthodox women will break off pieces of meat from the spit and eat them. With the shish kebab, it depends; if it is offered as an appetizer, which is usually the case, you can take it right off the skewer and eat it.
If the shish kebab is ordered or presented as a main course, then good manners and table etiquette dictate that you eat it without the skewer and with a knife and fork. Remember that eating according to a culture’s tradition is a sign of respect.
Looking for a new kebab place?
For all your kebabs cravings, especially if you live in Fraiser side, Australia, you have to visit Viva Kebabs and Grill, the delivers authentic and fresh Turkish cuisine with recipes that have been passed down from generation. Visit them now or find them on Doordash and UberEats and try authentic kebabs ad other Turkish food. So, what are you waiting for? Give them a visit and make your tummy happy with a nice kebab.