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Döner mit alles!
February 23, 2009 10:44 AM   Subscribe

Inventor of the Döner has died. As anybody who has been drunk at 2 a.m. in Germany knows, the Döner is a staple of German fast-food cuisine. Although similar dishes have been around for a while, the modern version is believed to be invented in 1971 in West Berlin by Mahmut Aygün. From there it spread to many other cities and countries in Europe and beyond. Mahmut Aygün died at the age of 87 last month in Berlin.

I can't find definitive date of his death. It was either January 15th or the 16th.
posted by chillmost (121 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
As anybody who has been drunk at 2 a.m. in Germany knows

That only describes about 82 million people.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:48 AM on February 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


Now I want a gyro. Also:

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posted by everichon at 10:48 AM on February 23, 2009


I want to go to there.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:50 AM on February 23, 2009 [13 favorites]


I went to university in London, Ontario, where the street meat is gyros. Grab me one too.

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posted by phirleh at 10:52 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised I haven't seen any Döner in the US yet, but they're all over Austria.
They're pretty awesome, but I know a lot of people who've gotten food poisoning from them. So far I've been lucky- maybe it's just one shop.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:52 AM on February 23, 2009


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posted by Authorized User at 10:53 AM on February 23, 2009


Don't know who the döner is.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:54 AM on February 23, 2009


.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:55 AM on February 23, 2009


I'm surprised I haven't seen any Döner in the US yet, but they're all over Austria.

Really? They're all over the US as well.
posted by signalnine at 10:55 AM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ahh, but I live in Maine, which is blatantly and deliberately provincial and afraid of new things.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:57 AM on February 23, 2009


Ah, hell. I was introduced to döner a few years ago when I went to Oktoberfest with some friends—it was the first real meal we had in Munich, I think, on a Sunday morning when almost everything was closed.
posted by cortex at 10:59 AM on February 23, 2009


Following his own instructions, the skin of Mahmut Aygun, Known as the "kebab king", will be mummified, ground into a paste along with the scabrous remains of animals recently put to sleep in the local pound, left for several weeks and then cooked gently on a large metal skewer in front of several belligerent men angry at having to go home without having pulled.

Well, that's what I always assumed was the recipe for those things. I virtually scraped my own tongue off in disgust the day I tried one sober.
posted by MuffinMan at 10:59 AM on February 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Where in the US??

I just had my very first doner kebab last night (in Cardiff). It was 2:30 am, I was drunk and stumbling the 2+ miles home, only about half sure of the way. Let me tell you, that thing tasted like ambrosia. I am convinced it's what got me back to my room alive.

Mahmut Aygün, my next pint is dedicated to you.
posted by kalimac at 11:00 AM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


My office in Toronto used to be near a cheap lunch place that served Döners. I tried one once, and it was terrible. But so was everything else at that place, come to think of it. Somehow they even did vegetable soup wrong. A question for those who have experienced a good version: am I missing something delicious?
posted by FishBike at 11:01 AM on February 23, 2009


.
posted by Mark Doner at 11:01 AM on February 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


shawarma bomb!

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posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 11:02 AM on February 23, 2009


In NY, they're Gyros. Pronounced like "gyroscope".
posted by Zambrano at 11:03 AM on February 23, 2009


.

I survived on Doner kebab whilst working in Rome as a hostel cleark and street performer. At two euro fifty, they were the cheapest and best food in the city. I often counted my night's earnings in terms of doner kebabs rather than euros. There was a shop a few blocks away from Termini on via Turati where the most beautiful girl put together the most tasty kebab. It was several blocks further than the shop closest to the hostel, but my colleagues and I would make the long journey just to see her. She was only there 50% of the time, though, and the other guy who made the doners did not care about his work. Still, we threw caution to the wind for that dark-haired goddess and her delicious craft. Farewell, Mahmut. May angels sing thee to thy rest.
posted by The White Hat at 11:06 AM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, doner kebab!=gyros. Kebab is garnished with chili sauce and mayo. None of that greek stuff. Those pitiful Greek pitas are but a poor similacrum for the Turkish delight that is Doner.
posted by The White Hat at 11:08 AM on February 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


*
posted by Curry at 11:14 AM on February 23, 2009


I haven't had one since my last trip to NYC three years ago (after falling in love during many a drunken night in Germany), and I still crave one on a nearly daily basis.

.
posted by rollbiz at 11:15 AM on February 23, 2009


So it's not a gyro - anybody know where you can find them in the SF bay area?
posted by 2sheets at 11:21 AM on February 23, 2009


Oh, I had one in Brussels last year. They' re different than the American gyro. For instance, my Doner had french fries on it, which is pretty damn brilliant.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:27 AM on February 23, 2009


(_)..
a kebab and some drippings for Mahmut
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:32 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Where in the US??

Hamburg Döner in Leesburg, Virginia (DC suburbs)
posted by candyland at 11:33 AM on February 23, 2009


I feel deprived of something great in life after reading your post white hat.

May angels sing thee to thy rest.

indeed

.
posted by a3matrix at 11:35 AM on February 23, 2009


Doner Kebab at 11pm in Brighton, after the pubs close but still in time to catch the bus back to Falmer, is one of my favorite memories of grad school. There truly is NOTHING better. And you really can't find them in the States, gyros (pronounced euros, folks) really are a poor substitute.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:39 AM on February 23, 2009


Damn, where were all you guys when I wrote about this last month?
posted by Cochise at 11:39 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cochise: Um, speaking for myself... I never actually leave the filter to venture out on the real internet.

And Arianna scares me.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:44 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


a hard earned thirst needs a big cold beer
often followed by another cold beer
then, much later in the evening -
a kebab
.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:46 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I very much want to open a döner place here in the US. Mostly because I thought of the name "Dönerstag," and that's too good to pass up. I mean, who wouldn't want there to be a day specifically for eating döner?
posted by god hates math at 11:47 AM on February 23, 2009


I grew up in Newfoundland, which is big into the donairs. In fact, all of Eastern Canada is, I'd always thought due to the decently high Lebanese population there. Never knew this was actually a European invention. When I went to school in Kingston, Ontario, I was treated to the greatest meal ever - Donair Poutine. I only had it once, which is probably for the best.

And apparently in Ottawa there's a donair place near Elgin Street (bar district) which regularly offers free donairs to girls who'll show their breasts to the owner. He (supposedly) gives out like 20, 30 free donairs a night, but I'm sure makes up for it big time with increased drunken frat boys.

Donairs haven't seemed to be as big a deal out here in B.C. A pity.

.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:51 AM on February 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


So it's not a gyro - anybody know where you can find them in the SF bay area?

I don't think they exist here. The closest doener shop I know of is in Victoria, BC.
posted by asterix at 11:51 AM on February 23, 2009


The doeners I've had in France and Germany were, almost uniformly, delicious. When I went to Istanbul a few years ago, I was excited to visit (what I thought was) the ancestral home of the doener. I tried a few different stands, and they were, almost uniformly, not delicious at all.
posted by asterix at 11:56 AM on February 23, 2009


I heard an interview on a Berlin radiostation with one of the employees at the Kreuzberg dönershop belonging to Aygün, and he said it was a hoax, and Aygün was alive and well in Istanbul, and the man that died was someone with a similar name who didn't invent the Döner.
posted by kolophon at 11:56 AM on February 23, 2009


In NY, they're Gyros.

Hell no. They are shwarma.

One of the best in Manhattan is at Kosher Deluxe.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:57 AM on February 23, 2009


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posted by pointless_incessant_barking at 12:00 PM on February 23, 2009


Tesekkür ederim Mahmut Aygün
posted by bottlebrushtree at 12:00 PM on February 23, 2009


Donairs in Red Dwarf
An honest British Kebab (start at like 5:45 for the punchline, but the whole thing is good)
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:00 PM on February 23, 2009


Giles Coren from The F-Word in the UK sees what's in a döner kebab.
posted by ALongDecember at 12:01 PM on February 23, 2009


Doner kebab is not as big in the US because of the gyro. Yes, gyro is not the same as doner, but there's also a larger Greek community in America than Turk, and Greeks really took to opening restaurants in the 1950s and 1960s, so when the gyro came along it propagated through them in a hurry.

The red chili sauce on the doner is a wonderful thing, though. That's what I miss about getting doner in Reading.
posted by dw at 12:02 PM on February 23, 2009


So what's the difference between this German Doner and, say, what's called "Doner" on this menu from a Turkish place in Arizona (the picture shows a plate, but they also serve it stuffed in a pita).
posted by mullacc at 12:02 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Inventor of the Döner has died.

Is he an organ döner?
posted by jonmc at 12:02 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Finally a doner kebab post on the blue!

Also…

.
posted by schwa at 12:03 PM on February 23, 2009


There's a new shop that just opened in PDX not too long ago called, originally enough, Doner Kebab. Located on SW 4th right next to the Rialto. Went in there last month and found the doner to be quite tasty. I've been crazing one since I went to school in Germany a while back and this place hit the spot. It's funny that they are located right down the street from Greek Cusina and advertise with the line "Like a gyro, but better!" Good stuff.
posted by friendlyjuan at 12:06 PM on February 23, 2009


mullacc: looks like a Doner to me.
posted by dydecker at 12:06 PM on February 23, 2009


Spitz in Los Angeles (Eagle Rock and Little Tokyo) specializes in the doner kebab. I haven't tried Spitz, but will vouch for the doners at a hole-in-the-wall stand in the University Village food court down by USC.
posted by mirepoix at 12:06 PM on February 23, 2009


Not just in Germany. I have consumed countless Doners on the way home from the pub, despite the fact that they always taste terrible.
posted by unSane at 12:08 PM on February 23, 2009


Anyone else confused when Flight of the Concords (starring New Zealanders but set in New York) sang about buying a girl a kebab and it's shish kebab on a stick? Is that really a late-night food too or did someone screw up?
posted by ALongDecember at 12:08 PM on February 23, 2009


I have weekly conversations with co-workers about trying to find a Doner place in Minneapolis. This place lists Doner on their menu, but they have "(gyro)" next to it, which makes me suspect they don't get it.

It's not just the chili sauce - it's mostly the bread. I think the problem is that the US doesn't have a fresh bread culture, so the pita is favored, since it has more or less the same texture stale as fresh.
posted by bonecrusher at 12:12 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:14 PM on February 23, 2009


I just looked it up on wikipedia, and an employee confirms it there in the discussion site that it is indeed a false report based on a mix-up with another 90year old with the same name that died. Several german newspapers reported that without checking the facts, and international news outlets just copied the hoax.

The Döner inventor is alive and well.
posted by kolophon at 12:15 PM on February 23, 2009 [8 favorites]


Oh, I had one in Brussels last year. They' re different than the American gyro. For instance, my Doner had french fries on it, which is pretty damn brilliant.

There's a Lebanese joint in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that layers the fries inside the pita on its schwarma.

And for the record, the Nova Scotia-style donair is a descendant of the Greek gyros with tzatziki, I believe, though I'm not sure how the name change occurred. The (ubiquitous) donair joints here in Calgary are an interesting hybrid - usually made with beef instead of lamb, and most of them give you a choice of sweet sauce (Nova Scotia style) or spicy (very close to the doner kebab sauce I remember from my years living in southwest Germany).

One thing I loved about the doner stands I frequented in SW Germany was that instead of a pita they often used a thick crusty roll similar to a ciabatta, which tended to be much better at soaking up sauce and maintaining its structural integrity as you staggered down the cobblestones with it.

In any case, Mahmut, thanks for all the cheap filling meals and pre-hangover lifesavers.

.
posted by gompa at 12:15 PM on February 23, 2009


(And if I'd waited just 30 seconds longer I could've saved myself a wasted mournful dot on a living breathing fast food innovator. Dang.)
posted by gompa at 12:20 PM on February 23, 2009


God, thanks for the wonderful memory of pub food from the month I spent studying in London. I rediscovered a friendship with a guy on my program by hitting these places too many nights after the pub closed as we walked around, not quite ready to go back to our hotel... splitting doner and what we Americans call fries (the best fries maybe ever -- which had to have something to do with their creation proximity to the meat) and a 10-pack of cigarettes which his girlfriend wouldn't let him smoke but if came home smelling of them, he could blame them on me.

20 year old me could eat that nightly; I'm pretty sure it would kill 34 year old me. Still though... good eats, great times.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:23 PM on February 23, 2009


Döner Kebab, oh how I long for you in the quiet moments. Bring your friends, les frites, s'il te plait!
posted by blue_beetle at 12:25 PM on February 23, 2009


Shish kebabs tend to be available in most of the same places as doners (at least in the UK). A really good kebab shop will usually have really good marinated lamb and chicken shish kebabs that they'll cook to order on a charcoal grill.

Also chicken doners. Also cut from a big cylinder, but not minced like the lamb. These are usually constructed from chunks of spiced chicken glued and compressed together somehow. Kebab shops in the UK also often sell chicken tikka shish kebabs.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 12:25 PM on February 23, 2009


In NY, they're Gyros.

Hell no. They are shwarma.


Hell no. They are Doner kabob.
posted by dirtdirt at 12:26 PM on February 23, 2009


HALLALuLA!!!

HE HAS RISIN FROM THE DEAD!!!!

ALL BOW DOWN AND PRAISE THE DÖNER!!!!

IS THERE NOTHING THE MAGICAL DÖNER CAN'T DO???!!!
posted by chillmost at 12:27 PM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


\       /
 \     /
  \   /
   \ /
    .

posted by Mach5 at 12:28 PM on February 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


kolophon - thanks for the link! Here's the google translation.

ALongDecember - döner kebab's are popular in New Zealand, says Wikipedia. Wikipedia also has a fantastic page, simply titled Döner kebab around the world.

It sounds like döner kebabs differ from Gyros in terms of presentation and extras. Couldn't you modify a gyro to make a döner kebab? Or is that some sort of delicious blasphemy?
posted by filthy light thief at 12:34 PM on February 23, 2009


To pay my respects, I'm going to make a Gyro. I'm going to smell like Gyro for about a day and a half, for sure.
posted by Flex1970 at 12:36 PM on February 23, 2009


Lemurrhea>When I went to school in Kingston, Ontario, I was treated to the greatest meal ever - Donair Poutine. I only had it once, which is probably for the best.

From the King of Donairs on Princess & University? Great place, some of the best donairs I've ever had.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 12:42 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


doner kebab!=gyros

Isn't that cute how the Greeks do everything just like the Turks, but pretend they're different? Those zany little Greek Turkettes!
posted by Meatbomb at 12:49 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


King of Donair also sells Donair pizza... oh god. One slice, you're full. Two, you're completely stuffed. Order stoned at your peril.
posted by anthill at 12:54 PM on February 23, 2009


Oh, man, this takes me back- to drunken nights, afflicted with mauerkrankheit, tossing chunks of bricks and rocks over the wall trying to set off a tripwire and/or landmine to annoy the Vopos on the other side. Getting up at noon after a night of this and finding the nearest Döner kebab. They're not just for late night crawls, they're also a Breakfast of Champions.
posted by pjern at 12:56 PM on February 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Döner in Turkey are so damn good ... I was disappointed when I had them in Europe and they turned out to be greasy late-night food.
posted by kanewai at 1:00 PM on February 23, 2009


(er, of course, I know that Turkey is in Europe and I meant Western Europe ... )
posted by kanewai at 1:01 PM on February 23, 2009


For all the MeFites in and around NYC, the absolute best Doner Kebab in Manhattan is at Yatagan on McDougal St. Be sure to order it with double meat.

Runner up is Bereket on Houston and Orchard st.

Third place is Troy on 9th and 40th in Hell's Kitchen (though not the same hell's kitchen that Mahmut Aygün is probably in right now, for foisting this addictive calorie bomb on us innocent drunks.)
posted by bashos_frog at 1:04 PM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


ah, döners, how I love thee. I spent my adolescence in London, Ontario, so I was a frequent customer of Sammy's Souvlaki and their gyros, which prepared me for döners when I first visited Europe. I first enjoyed döners in Lyon and then in Paris, but I always found them a bit lackluster.

Then, I lived in Berlin last summer. I was two steps from a place near Hermannplatz called Güney Grill, where for €2 I could get a huge scheibe brot (not pita, but a huge square piece of crispy leavened flatbread sliced like a pita) filled with fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, lightly pickled cabbage, onions, lettuce, tasty meat, and that red chili sauce. It was glorious. When I moved to Paris in the fall, I was perpetually disappointed.
posted by LMGM at 1:05 PM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


For the minor group of Germans here (not the German-speaking-non-Germans, well maybe for the German-speaking-non-Germans-living-in-Germany-since-a-couple-of-years, anyone still reading?), this fantastic ahoi polloi cartoon is about the death of the Döner inventor.
posted by Henrik at 1:08 PM on February 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


Having lived on fastfood in Berlin for nearly 10 years now I can say that arabic Schawarma is superiour to Döner Kebab in taste and quality most of the time. It's not that common though...
posted by kolophon at 1:12 PM on February 23, 2009


LOL @ that cartoon Henrik...
posted by kolophon at 1:14 PM on February 23, 2009


Yeah I just wanted to say -- döner is only good for about a year and then you have to upgrade to schwarma. I didn't want to say this while döner man was dead, but now that he's alive again, he's severely outclassed by the Arab version. In Kreuzberg there's an axis of good schwarma from Reichenberger/Glogauer to Ohlauerstr. to the motherfucking king of schwarma on Spreewaldplatz. The schwarma axis is also the M29 bus line, coincidentally.
posted by creasy boy at 1:28 PM on February 23, 2009


Gott sei dank, er lebt immer noch.
posted by cotterpin at 1:34 PM on February 23, 2009


Nöööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööööö!!!

The next time I am in Berlin I will be hitting up my fave döner place on Rosenheimer Platz.

Of course, the very fact that http://www.doener365.de exists = a tribute to this fine gentleman's invention.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:50 PM on February 23, 2009


Doners never die!
posted by Curry at 1:50 PM on February 23, 2009


Wasn't Döner Mike Seaver's pal in Growing Pains. Yeah. I think it was.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:58 PM on February 23, 2009


Pseudoephedrine, no I was thinking of Famous King, Princess & Chatham. North side of the street, about a block up from where you're thinking. I'm not sure I know King of Donair, unless it was the one that opened up in (I think) 2006/2007? Never tried that one, my preferred grease was either the above if at home or Bubba's if walking back from the Tir Nan Og.

This whole thread is awesome, people sharing their spiritual food experiences.
posted by Lemurrhea at 2:00 PM on February 23, 2009


@ Lemurrhea & Pseudoephedrine

Famous King! Greatest donairs ever.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 2:02 PM on February 23, 2009


I sold Doner Kebabs on a cart outside of nightclubs in Salthill (Galway, Ireland) for a few years back in the '80s. It was spiced lamb with god knows what else in it, (we got it pre-prepared from a local Halal joint) cooked on the skewer thingy and placed in Pita bread after salad, onions and garlic or chilli (or both) sauce was added.

There's a chain of kebabs shops now in Ireland called AbraKebabra. They are truly awful. The McDonalds of kebabs.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 2:08 PM on February 23, 2009


how appropriate he died in berlin.

That only describes about 82 million people.
you're right, the backpacking yank kids are usually sloshed around lunchtime.
posted by krautland at 2:12 PM on February 23, 2009


İskender kebap is the title of the upcoming Sigur Rós record, incidentally. It is much more upbeat than their previous releases and draws a lot of inspiration from such seminal bands as the Beach Boys and The Stray Cats.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:17 PM on February 23, 2009


Looks like my closest kebab place is in Atlanta, but they call it a gyro. Decisions!
posted by schwa at 2:22 PM on February 23, 2009


I blame the Doner Kebab for provoking a disturbing yet hilarious mental image when ever anyone mentions the Donner Party. It's one thing having to resort to cannibalism high in the snow-bound Sierras, but it's quite another having to get shit-faced on Stella before eating your mate's grilled leg in a pita with shriveled lettuce and chilli sauce.
posted by ob at 2:25 PM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Anyone know where to get doner kebab in Chicago? I can get Middle Eastern, and gyro places are two to a block, but I want to try doner.
posted by sugarfish at 2:26 PM on February 23, 2009


Best Turkish in Bay Area (doner kebab, hookah?)
Where can i get a Döner kebab in San Francisco?
posted by kirkaracha at 3:07 PM on February 23, 2009


Just one doner kebab contains your entire day's calorie allowance
(which helps explain the awesome)
posted by kirkaracha at 3:08 PM on February 23, 2009


Val Halal's Kebab Emporium

.
posted by jonp72 at 3:37 PM on February 23, 2009


You have a calorie allowance? You are doing it wrong.

When I worked in London, minimum wage meant a Doner Kebab and a Red Stripe per 45 minutes worked. That is what I call a fair wage.
posted by dirty lies at 4:05 PM on February 23, 2009


I think the problem is that the US doesn't have a fresh bread culture

Yes, Black Sea in St Paul will serve it on a grocery-store-quality pita. (Haven't had the döner there specifically, was just there a few days ago.)

More 'upscale' Turkish restaurants that I've been to (not in Minnesota) have had fantastic just-baked little loaves of bread with dinner. But, they're less likely to have döner on the menu at the same time. Black Sea is more at the 'Imbißbude' end of the spectrum.
posted by gimonca at 4:38 PM on February 23, 2009


In germany they make more money with döner than Mc Donalds and Burger King together.

Döner macht schöner!
posted by Smaaz at 4:40 PM on February 23, 2009


they're less likely to have döner on the menu at the same time

They're less likely to be places where I would look for döner on the menu.

Fixed that for me. A quick backcheck of a couple of places that I've been to showed that they did, in fact, have it--and I aggressively ignored it on the menu.
posted by gimonca at 4:54 PM on February 23, 2009


I don't get all the people in here saying döner is gross sober. Back in my Germany days, I used to go to the döner stand once a month on Friday for lunch. I also went with my host family for dinner a few times.
posted by !Jim at 5:05 PM on February 23, 2009


Does "hungover" qualify as "sober"?
posted by cortex at 5:11 PM on February 23, 2009


Oh, man, I have been wondering why I have a white label 12" record labelled Donna Kebab for the past 4 years. It all make sense now. Thanks Metafilter!
posted by empath at 5:36 PM on February 23, 2009


I have one thing to say, I say it without shame, it will confuse most of you, but for the few who know what I'm talking about...

Abrakabobra.
posted by effugas at 5:55 PM on February 23, 2009


It's true, being a lowly student close to penury, I survived on 1 EUR doner kebabs throughout my misspent summer in Germany a few years back. I no longer can have such delicacies for health reasons.

.
posted by the cydonian at 6:53 PM on February 23, 2009


I didn't realize that King of Donair is actually a real restaurant, I just thought it was where Ricky, Julian and Bubbles sometimes bought their weed.
posted by avocet at 6:58 PM on February 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


effugas, are you referring to what may possibly be the worst fast food chain known to mankind?
posted by sineater at 7:08 PM on February 23, 2009


Does anyone have a good recipe for the spicy sauce that's served on döner in Germany? I've managed a respectable (to me, anyway) Tzatziki sauce, but have no idea where to begin on the spicy one.

Part of me is a little afraid to know.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:31 PM on February 23, 2009


Oh man, that takes me back. I spent the summer of '95 in Berlin, and whenever I was out, I would hit an Imbiss and get a Doener with Pommes. German mustard isn't as sweet as American mustard (and thankfully, none of that Dijon shit), and the ketchup has less sugar as well. Fucking awesome food. The nearest American equivalent would be meat loaf, though a Doener's texture is different and the flavor is sharper (curry powder?). Good stuff.
posted by zardoz at 10:42 PM on February 23, 2009


Döner kebab is what sustained me as I trekked all over Europe as a hungry student as well, cydonian. It was cheap and ubiquitous and I didn't have to be drunk to enjoy it.

The best döner I ever had was on freshly-baked bread, straight from the öven when I was caught in the rain after visiting Neuchwanstein. I've not had anything like it since.

And hurray! Er lebt noch!
posted by ooga_booga at 10:57 PM on February 23, 2009


Henrik
Thanks for the introduction to the blog you mentioned–brilliant!
posted by impuls at 12:06 AM on February 24, 2009


Kebab != Döner. And Döner doesn't always have chilli sauce. Perhaps it's a Berlin thing. In NRW, I never had chilli sauce on one. I've had Döner that was good, and some that was bad (burned/dry). I encountered no chilli sauce, eating in Istanbul this past weekend, but then, I avoid that stuff, not being fond of spicy hot.

Pedant: "Hookah" is Arabic. In Turkish, the word is "Nagela" (however spelled). I had a shop keeper explain that to me, at the Grand Bazaar. (and yes, if you own one, you truly can say you have a nagela).

Turkish food is seriously good stuff, but the way they do a meal is awesome. They do large quantities of appetisers, of many varieties, followed by a relatively small portion for a main course. Good luck finding a really good place though. My partner always gets great food when his Turkish colleagues take him out. Our meals together were only mediocre. We'll go back, Istanbul is a fabulous city, and there is much to see.
posted by Goofyy at 12:19 AM on February 24, 2009


It's been really fun getting to know more about Donor since moving to Spain. The Turkish ones are excellent, but pretty similar to stuff I knew in the USA.

But the real treat here is Lebanese schwarma! Where the Turkish donor is ground meat on a big cylinder, the Lebanese stuff is big slices of lamb held together by a thick paste of spices to form a cylinder. When the flame is up high and the outsides are crunchy and the insides are steaming, it's just ridiculous how tasty it is!
posted by smeger at 1:20 AM on February 24, 2009


Err, the . is for the fact that I can't have doner kebabs anymore. Or something. :-|
posted by the cydonian at 1:47 AM on February 24, 2009


.
posted by madh at 2:01 AM on February 24, 2009


Doner kebab's alright, I guess, but it's not a touch on a decent yiros (South Australian for gyro), maybe with a Farmer's Union Iced Coffee to wash it down. Part of the trick is in the way the big slices of lamb (never minced lamb) are marinated, and then hacked straight off the spit, still sizzling, when you place your order. But the other important part of the experience is the way the end product is wrapped tightly in paper to hold it all together. Most of the kebab joints I've found since moving to Brisbane willfully persist in the heretical use of a steam tray to keep the pre-sliced meat warm, and it seems like all of them madenning insist on the employ of a sandwich press to toast the pita until crispy for some nefarious reason, sliding the result into (gah!) foil-lined packets. And how can tabouli, such an integral part of the yiros experience, be considered an 'extra'?!

Of course, back home in Adelaide we've taken the evolution of the Spiced Lamb Snack one step further. Behold the ideal start and/or finish to a big night on the piss in North Adelaide: The A.B.
posted by MarchHare at 4:00 AM on February 24, 2009


The next time I am in Berlin I will be hitting up my fave döner place on Rosenheimer Platz.

That's RosenTHALerplatz. I just spent 9 days in Berlin and had döner at 5 different shops, and I agree, this place is completely brilliant. Their dürüm döner is similarly fantastic, and I like how they have the option of veal or chicken (and the signs read "Chickenfleisch").

I had shawarma for the first time in Germany (statt Döner I mean) at a place on Kantstrasse near Bleibtreustrasse, and while it was okay, I was a bit befuddled that it only came with chicken (no beef or lamb as here at home- Calgary) and the pita was sadly stale. Nice veggies, though.

Speaking of home- donair (vs döner) positively abounds in Alberta and in Calgary I heartily recommend Sammy's on 17th Ave SW near 12th St, south side. Also- there's a place in Kensington called Shawarma Station that has zero donair as such but makes a shish tawouk with fries embedded inside.

It's 5:30am, I am jetlagged and have a cold bad enough to have decided to call in sick today, we're under a winter storm watch, and I am dying to head out for a donair right now. Damn.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:33 AM on February 24, 2009


For those in London, I highly recommend either of the Best Mangal doner shops near the West Kensington station on North End Road.
posted by mzanatta at 4:48 AM on February 24, 2009


back home in Adelaide we've taken the evolution of the Spiced Lamb Snack one step further.

i was hoping it would be a doner kebab, yeeros or shawarma roll floating in mushy pea soup, but was sadly disappointed.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:48 AM on February 24, 2009


Lemurrhea>

We're talking about the same place. Famous King / King of Donairs (which is what I used to call it b/c of the sign saying "the King of Donairs" in the window) was fantastic. They opened a new place?
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 5:48 AM on February 24, 2009


Marquette Gyros in Milwaukee. Only been there once, very late at night, very very good. Just down the street from a bar that opens around 8 AM.
posted by Science! at 8:30 AM on February 24, 2009


Point of information: Mahmut Aygün might have brought döner to Germany, but the dish has been around a lot longer and variations are served throughout the countries in the Eastern Mediterranean. The names döner, shawarma, or gyros all have to do with the technique of roasting meat on a rotating spit.
posted by zany pita at 3:20 PM on February 24, 2009


Donairs haven't seemed to be as big a deal out here in B.C. A pity.

Sub City in Kelowna. So good.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:08 PM on February 24, 2009


Zany Pita speaks the truth.

no offense to the Turks or anything, but Cairo shawarma > Istanbul doner kebap any day
posted by Fin Azvandi at 8:22 PM on February 24, 2009


Nova Scotia donair is good, but German döner is better.
posted by oaf at 8:39 PM on February 24, 2009


I seem to remember something about donairs and parties in the Andes mountains and soccer players. Or something like that.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:39 AM on February 25, 2009


Oh, crap, I mixed up my foods. My above comment was really about boulettes, a kind of beef patty/meat loaf-ish patty that are popular in Germany, at least in Berlin. And Doeners are damn good as well. I'm in Tokyo, and there are a lot of Doener vans and small restaurants (really stalls) spread around the city.
posted by zardoz at 7:13 PM on February 25, 2009


Halifax's legendary King of Donair, in case you were curious (or drunk, which, if you're in Halifax, you will be soon enough).
posted by Sys Rq at 4:12 PM on March 2, 2009


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