If you have ever been to a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean restaurant, you may have come across two delicious dishes that look very similar. Shawarma vs. doner, what’s the difference? In this article, you will learn what is Shawarma vs. a Doner, as well as other popular “middle-eastern” types of food such as Gyro and Kebab.
People often confuse Shawarma with Doner and Kebab because they share some similarities. However, these dishes are a bit different in terms of flavor, history, ingredients used to make them as well as the way they’re served.
A bit of history
This might be able to help you understand the difference between Shawarma and a Doner. History records that in the middle of the 1800s, immigrants from Syria and Lebanon settled down in Istanbul; they brought with them their traditional cooking style which is known today as “Shawarma.”
A doner kebab (Döner Kebap) was invented by Turkish chef Kadir Nurman and his brother Nevzat Nurman in 1971 when Turkey had just begun its economic boom after joining the European Union Customs Union. A Döner consists of meat rotating on a vertical skewer – usually beef or lamb- stacked onto a large cone and roasted. A rotisserie, or tandoori as it is called in Indian cuisine, cooks the meat evenly on all sides so that a slice of doner meat can be easily carved off by pulling it away from the stack.
The Difference between Shawarma vs. Doner and other similar foods
Traditionally made with shaved lamb or beef (mostly), shawarma also may include chicken breast strips; wrapped in pita bread and then served with dressing such as yogurt sauce, garlic paste, tahini paste, ketchup-like hot sauce ̓ajvar’or hummus for dipping purposes. The traditional method of cooking “shawarma” is to place each thin layer onto an open flame grill and fry it.
Shawarma is a traditional Arabic dish that is still very popular in the middle east and it gained a lot of popularity after Tony Stark mentioned it in the Avengers movie. The Lebanese were some of the first countries to have a taste of this dish and it’s now very popular around the middle east.
Traditionally made with lamb or beef (mostly), doner is served in a long cylinder shape, topped with salad and sauces such as hot sauce ̓ajvar’, yogurt sauce, tahini paste or hummus dip; stuffed inside Turkish bread called “pide” – which resembles the Mexican tortilla wrap and it’s also similar to the Pita bread- for eating on the go.
Doners are usually grilled vertically over an open flame grill that rotates to cook all sides of the meat evenly until done. Doner is a traditional Turkish dish that was first invented in the 1970s.
The word doner means “to turn” or “rotate” in Turkish.
A Gyro is basically thick slices of gyros meat wrapped around pita bread and then garnished with lettuce, onion, tomato, and cucumber alongside Greek fries, rice pilaf, or garlic dips.
Yes, gyros are traditional greek food, and they are quite delicious in taste. The word gyro comes from the Greek word “giro” which means to turn.
Kebabs are made with ground meat, vegetables, and spices mixed together before being grilled on skewers. The kebab is then served in pita bread or rolled into a wrap alongside rice pilaf or fries.
Shawarma vs. doner – The bottom line
There is a clear difference between Shawarma vs. Doner and other similar foods such as Gyro and Kebab because they are all different in taste; ingredients used to make them as well as the way they’re served.
Whether you are looking for a healthy option or something more on the greasy side, Shawarma or Doner are not going to disappoint you!