In recent years, the shawarma dish has been introduced as a mass consumption fast food item that is no longer only popular in the middle-Eastern commu
In recent years, the shawarma dish has been introduced as a mass consumption fast food item that is no longer only popular in the middle-Eastern community. There are new shawarma joints and franchise restaurants popping up on every corner. In recent years Just in the Greater Toronto Area, we have seen Pita Land expand and get into franchising, Shawarma X, Villa Madina, Paramount Foods and my favorite spot Osmow’s. So how did all this start and where does Shawarma come from?
The Shawarma dish dates back to the 1800’s Ottoman empire which is now Turkey. They introduced this dish in the form of Doner kebab. The Greeks later adopted this dish, with a few modifications and called it Gyros which means “turning. The Arabs called it Shawarma which derives from the Turkish Word Cevirme which means turning as well. “Cevirme” is in reference to the turning rotisserie. The way the dish is prepared is by marinating lamb, beef, chicken or veal and placing them on a vertical spit that is sometimes grilled for as long as a day. Shawarma is usually served in a pita but it can also be served on a plate.
Difference Between Gyros and Shawarma
Some key differences in the way Gyros is prepared vs Shawarma is that Gyros is usually open faced and comes in a thicker pita bread served with tzatziki sauce as a spread and few French fries inside the pita itself. Shawarma, on the other hand, is served in a much thinner pita bread and usually served with garlic sauce and pickled turnip.
With the increasing popularity of shawarma in the western world, we now see some restaurant chains making small modifications to the dish, either to stand out or to reflect the way it has been served in a particular country or a region in the middle east.