Kebab in the Middle East is considered to be any grilled meat, even a shish kebab. However, we are used to thinking that kebab is meat with vegetables in pita bread. After all, all over the world kebab is also associated with a separate dish, which is necessarily served with lavash or bread. Therefore, today we are investigating, in fact, the history of the origin of the world’s popular snack — kebab.
It is said that the first kebab was created by Turkish chef Iskander Efendi back in the 19th century. It was a Döner kebab, for which Efendi used a vertical skewer that was constantly spinning. On it, he roasted pieces of lamb. Then the chef cut the prepared meat into thin slices and served in pita bread with sauce. The signature dish of Efendi quickly won the favor of the residents of Bursa in Turkey, and already in the 1860s, kebabs were named after the inventor — Iskender Kebab.
Of course, Turkish immigrants gradually began to bring the recipe for doner kebab to Western Europe. Therefore, he ended up in both Germany and Greece. Therefore, now in both countries, kebab has its interpretations and positions itself as traditional local cuisine.
In particular, in Greece, the recipe for gyros, which is the most popular street food, is still preserved. It is served with lamb and beef, red onion, parsley, Greek yogurt, fried potatoes, and wrapped in pita bread.
But if we talk about Germany, the kebab was popularized by Kadir Nurman, who was also a Lebanese émigré. He served a kebab with rice and vegetables and wrapped it in crusty bread. This was a very hot street food, as local workers were looking for a quick snack at the time to eat on the go. In addition, this combination of ingredients was high in calories, and therefore the dish quickly took root on the streets of Berlin.
By the way, some people call Nurman the inventor of kebab, because it was he who brought the dish to a new level. At the time of his death, there were more than 16,000 retail outlets in Germany with annual revenues of more than 25 billion euros. Just imagine at what pace the culture of kebab consumption developed.
The Mexicans also have their interpretation of kebab. Only their dish looks more like sandwiches. It’s about tacos and burritos. They also owe these recipes to the Turks and Lebanese, who massively emigrated to Mexico in the 20th century.
Until the 1970s, lavash meat was gaining popularity in Chicago and New York, this time thanks to a wave of Greek emigrants, who by that time already had their version of the kebab — gyros. In particular, George the Apostle opened a factory exclusively for the production of a large number of gyros, which were massively supplied to restaurants throughout America.
Today kebab is one of the most popular dishes in the world, it is found in almost every country and has its adaptation in the local cuisine. Let’s say shish kebab and shawarma, doner and lula. In Ukraine, now there is also pita, which is actually an Israeli version of shawarma. Therefore, we will soon write a separate material for you about how all these dishes differ. Wait for it!