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General Discussion

Authentic döner kebab vs Westernized versions

drjlm | Sep 12, 201706:33 AM

Hi folks,

I just returned from a trip to Turkey where I of course sampled the many döner kebabs on offer.

I was immediately struck by the fact that there was almost no resemblance between any of the kebabs that I had and the "Westernized" versions I have tasted in Turkish/döner kebab shops in the UK, Ireland, and Germany. And to be honest, the non-Turkish ones were a lot tastier!

To generalize, UK kebabs (and those I have had in the other non-Turkish countries mentioned above) consist of:
-Heavily spiced homogenized meat
-Use a bread that is often a flatbread like na'an
-Are almost always heavily doused in garlic and chilli sauce.
-Raw onions and lettuce are also typical.

Real Turkish kebabs:
-Came in a very thin wheat wrap known as dürüm
- Had hardly any detectable use of spice with the meat - after the bread, the most pronounced difference
- The meat seemed whole rather than homogenized
- Only one kebab I had came with a sauce (which was tzatziki) and additions were very scant (like a slice of lettuce). The preference seems to be to just add a bit of lettuce and perhaps some sliced tomato.

Are my observations accurate?

Is it much the same situation as "real" Chinese and Indian food and the versions sold in the Western world?

And most importantly: which recipes can I find that will best resemble non-authentic, Western Turkish kebabs, such as those that popularized by the supposed inventor of the döner in Berlin in the 70s?

(BTW have also had shawarma many times and it's a different taste than either of the above).

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