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The Difference Between Gyros, Shawarma, Döner & Kebab

Time:2016-08-12 Read:
A Kebab is a piece of grilled meat, or shaped, grilled mince meat. The name itself comes from 'Kababa', a bastardization of the ancient Aramaic word for "char or burn". The ubiquitous lamb or chicken kebabs in middle eastern restaurants fall under the former category; the Indian Seekh and Shami kebabs under the latter. In fact, Chicken Tikka, a popular Indian dish is also a kebab since it is grill

A Kebab is a piece of grilled meat, or shaped, grilled mince meat. The name itself comes from 'Kababa', a bastardization of the ancient Aramaic word for "char or burn". The ubiquitous lamb or chicken kebabs in middle eastern restaurants fall under the former category; the Indian Seekh and Shami kebabs under the latter. In fact, Chicken Tikka, a popular Indian dish is also a kebab since it is grilled.

Gyros, Shawarma and Doner on the other hand are all wraps that contain some kind of (mostly grilled) meat. The differences between them are mainly due to the kind of ingredients that are used, and how they are prepared.



The story begins with the Doner, invented in Bursa (Turkey) by (most accounts) Iskender Effendi sometime in the 18th or 19th centuries. He also has one of the most popular dishes named after him - the Iskender Kebab. The name Doner means "Rotating" in Turkish, and the term Doner Kebab thus becomes "Rotating Grilled Meat". In Turkey, Doners are sold with mostly lamb or chicken inside, and may have a mayo like dressing inside them. This is also the most common variety that is sold by Turkish immigrants across Europe (though the meat may also be veal or beef in certain countries). Surrounding the meat is usually Pide, a thicker Turkish bread and perhaps some chopped tomatoes and onions.

This dish was apparently introduced into Greece via Thessaloníki, and named Gyros (which in Greek means "Turn"). Today, the most common varieties are sold with Greek pita on the outside, that generally tends to be a thinner flat-bread. The Greek version also contains the famous Tzatziki sauce, and is mostly served with french fries (not to mention hot sauce). Also, specially in Athens, Pork and Veal are much more common fillings than in other countries.

Finally, Shawarma is the name of Arabic origin given to the same dish in various parts of the Middle East. Generally, it tends to be more like Greek Gyros than Doner kebab, and may have different spices or sauces that go with it depending on the country it is being served in.