The Kebap Connection

Greetings fellow Lexiophiles readers! Today we delve into the history of the famous Turkish fast food that has spread nearly all around the world. Let’s start with the Etymology of the Döner Kebap. In Turkish ”Döner Kebap” means ”Rotating roast” it is also often shortened to the word döner which means ”turns around”.


If we want to discover how Döner actually came to be we have one piece of information that dates back to an 18th century Ottoman travel book which states that the Döner used to be a horizontal stack of meat instead of the modern vertical one. It is believed that it shares common ancestry with the Çağ Kebabı which comes from the Eastern Turkish province of Erzurum and is thought to be the oldest form of Döner Kebap.

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Now while most know only a handful of Döner variations there is quite a lot of Döner styles in Turkey. Here are a few examples. ”Porsiyon” which is döner on a heated plate with grilled peppers and broiled tomatoes on the side. Then we have ”Pilavüstü” which means ”over rice” it is served on the base of pilaf rice which gains taste when the fat from the meat drops on to it. One of the more famous ones is the ”İskender” which is a specialty around the Bursa region of Turkey. It is served in an oblong plate on top a layer of pita with tomato sauce and boiling fresh butter.

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One of the more mobile versions is the ”Dürüm” which is wrapped in thin lavaş that can be grilled or rolled. There are also two more variations of this more fast food version Döner, one is the Ankara ”Soslu dürüm” which contains the İskender kebap sauce that makes it juicier and the other one is the ”Kaşarlı Dürüm döner” which is a specialty to Istanbul and has the grated kaşar cheese that is toasted and melts with the Lavash that crisps up.

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Hungry? We are not done yet! The ”Tombik” which means fatty is a döner in a bun-shaped pita with crispy crust. It is soft inside, and has mostly less meat than a normal dürüm. And last but not least the ”Ekmekarası”, which literally means between bread is döner in between normal Turkish bread and is very filling and yummy! Now these are just the a few versions of Döner Kebap. There are many other regional Kebaps in Turkey and also dozens of other variations in different regions of the world!

Now that you know all these variations you will look at the Döner a bit more differently and maybe will even wonder which type you are eating? Either way Afiyet Olsun! (Enjoy your meal!)


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