You say shoarma, I say shawarma – however you say it, pronounce it, this Middle Eastern/Mediterranean basin specialty has sure taken root all over the globe. (Wiki country-by-country reference/definitions). The word comes from Turkish, and today is an all-encompassing description of a spicy meat sandwich served on a pita, usually with cucumber sauce and diced tomatoes. Many places offer it on a plate, instead of bread. Today’s variety comes in a wide variety of choices, including beef, lamb, chicken, goat, or mixed meats.
In Amsterdam, there is some variety of shoarma shop in nearly every block, some clearly having the word on their signage, other shops emblazoned with “doner kabob” (This is another phrase from Turkish, which literally means “rotating meat”, which is the way shawarma is usually prepared, a large roast of one of the aforementioned meats rotating on vertical spit, with gas flames to heat it. The meat is cut from the vertical roast length-wise, and, depending on the operator, placed directly on the bread or plate, or sometimes flash-grilled before plating.
I have had a dish called “Turkish Pizza” in the Middle East, and most of the shoarma shops in Amsterdam offered it, so BurgerDogBoy had to continue his life-long vigil and research and have a wee taste or two.
We chose the Jerusalem Shoarma, Pizza, Steakhouse and “Croissanterie” as the test, for no reason other than “it was there.” (Can you tell we spent a lot o time on this street?)
They also had burgers and dogs on the menu board of course, but I was singularly focused at the this location and placed my order. Mrs. BDB and I were the only customers, until a group of four English women came in and ordered hamburgers and chips to go. The TV was blaring with the Olympics, and the proprietor seemed fascinated by the broadcast.
As we found out later, the Dutch were jazzed about having a potential gold medalist in the speed skating, and later on in our trip, we heard this modern-day Hans Brinker did bring home the gold.
Apparently the burgers took precedent to my pizza, so I grabbed a couple of Coke Zero’s from the cooler and waited for our order. (Mrs. BDB ordered more cheese croquettes, which were quickly becoming her new junk food of choice).
Turkish pizza can be served flat or rolled-up like a burrito, depending on the operator’s or purchaser’s preference. I didn’t specify, so mine arrived in roll, but I unrolled it for inspection.
Spiced meat, cucumber sauce, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and julienne carrots (WTF?) ruled the day (reminds me of any time in Europe you see “American Pizza” on the menu, it’s bound to have sweet corn on it.) (WTF? again).
Anyway, it was delicious, tho I prefer mine to be served flat and a little crispier. This guy didn’t use a pita, unless it was one sliced in half lengthwise, as it was thin and crispy around the edges.
I like these, and will have to try and find some at home, perhaps one of Portland’s glorious food carts has them. They are a good substitute or lactose intolerant diners, as they have no cheese. (WTF?)
Turkish pizza. What will they think of next?