Istanbul eats: shawarma
When in Istanbul, one must have shawarma!
Shawarmas are a street food popular all over the Middle East and now Europe. In the Middle East specifically, shawarmas are inexpensive fast-food and are prepared differently across the region. Basically, the meat is stacked vertically on a rotating skewer in the shape of an inverted cone. The shawarma is then slow roasted on all sides (usually using an electric burner, but we saw some charcoal grills used in Istanbul). The meat is shaved off with a large knife and is then made into a sandwich.
We didn’t get a chance to try döner kebab which is what Turkey is really famous for, but the chicken shawarma was pretty good. A typical shawarma has fries, shaved grilled chicken (or beef or lamb), a little salad and comes in your choice of bread. The second time we got shawarmas (at he same restaurant in Sultanahmet), we asked for condiments. They added a yogurt-based dressing, making the somewhat dry wraps so much better.
Living in the Middle East, I’ve had better shawarma before, the one in Istanbul didn’t exactly blow me away – but maybe that’s because I prefer mine with more condiments and pickles. But no trip to Turkey is complete with shawarma… so if you’re ever in Turkey, scout out potential shawarma joints and pick the one that gets the most traffic. Et bon appétit!