Doner kebab

Doner kebab
Döner kebap
Doner meat being sliced from a rotating spit. Note the iron heating-plate behind the spit, which is used to cook the meat
Place of origin Turkey
Region or state Bursa and Erzurum
Creator(s) Disputed, goes back to 18th century[1]
Dish details
Course served Snack or main course
Serving temperature Hot
Main ingredient(s) Lamb/Chicken
Variations Multiple

Doner kebab (Turkish: döner kebabı) or sometimes döner kebap, lit. 'rotating roast', often shortened to Doner (Turkish: döner), lit. 'turn around',[2] also spelled "doener", "donair", "donar", "doner", or sometimes "donner") is a Turkish dish made of lamb meat (mainly) cooked on a vertical spit and sliced off to order.

There are many variants in the composition of the meat, the ways of serving it, and the garnishes. Derived dishes include shawarma in Arabic and gyros in Greek,[3] although ingredients and sauces differ. The term kebab in some countries refers specifically to doner kebab.



Cağ kebabı, a related dish. Note that the meat is horizontally stacked.
Doner being carved in Bursa

Before taking its modern aspect as mentioned in Ottoman Travelbooks of the 18th century,[4][5] the doner used to be a horizontal stack of meat rather than vertical, probably sharing common ancestors with the Cağ Kebabı of the Eastern Turkish province of Erzurum.

In his own family Biography, İskender Efendi from the 19th century Bursa claims that "he and his grandfather had the idea of roasting the lamb vertically rather than horizontally, and invented for that purpose a vertical mangal".[6] With time, the meat took a different marinade, got leaner, and eventually took its modern shape.[5]


The meat used for doner in Turkey is mostly lamb,[7] but the chicken variant has also made its way into the very large Turkish street food milieu.

There are two basic ways of preparing the meat for doner kebabs:

  • The more common and authentic method is to stack marinated slices of lean lamb meat onto a vertical skewer in the shape of an inverted cone. The meat is cooked by charcoal, wood, cast iron, electric, or, unpreferably, gas burners. The doner stack is topped with fat (mostly tail fat), in addition to the 25% fat that is typically added to the minced meat in manufacture so that it drips down the meat stack when it is heated. At times, tomatoes, and onions are placed at the top of the stack to also drip juices over the meat, keeping it moist. In Turkey, most restaurants prepare their doner early in the morning, and serve the last portion by the end of the afternoon. Outside Turkey the meat is often re-heated over several days.

Serving and accompaniments

In modern Turkey, the doner is served in diverse ways as main courses or street snacks:

Main courses

  • Porsiyon ("the Portion", doner on a slightly heated plate, sometimes with a few grilled peppers or broiled tomatoes on the side)[8][9]
  • Pilavüstü ("Ricetop", doner served on a base of pilaf rice that gets tastier as the fat in the meat drips into the rice)[10][11]
  • İskender (specialty of Bursa, served in an oblong plate, atop a base of thin pita, complete with a dash of pepper or tomato sauce and boiling fresh butter)[12][13]


  • Dürüm, wrapped in a thin lavaş that is sometimes also grilled after being rolled, to make it crispier. It has two main variants in mainland Turkey:[14]
    • Soslu dürüm (speciality of Ankara, contains İskender sauce, making it juicier)
    • Kaşarlı dürüm döner (speciality of Istanbul, grated kaşar cheese is put in the wrap which is then toasted to melt the cheese and crisp up the Lavash)[15]
  • Tombik or gobit (literally "the Fatty", doner in a bun-shaped pita, with crispy crust and soft inside, and generally less meat than a dürüm)[16]
  • Ekmekarası ("in a bread", generally the most filling version, consisting of a whole (or a half) regular Turkish bread filled with doner)[17]

Health concerns

Doner kebab is popular in many countries in the form of "fast food", often as an end to a night out when preceded by the consumption of an excess of alcohol.[18] Health concerns surrounding doner kebab in the UK and Western Europe, including the hygiene involved in overnight storage and re-heating of partially cooked meat, unacceptable salt and fat levels, and improper labeling of meat used (e.g., illicit addition of pork), are repeatedly reported in the European media.[18][19][20][21]

Doner kebab outside Turkey

Doner kebab sandwich served in a thick pita (Turkish: pide).

Doner kebab is now widely available across Europe and North America, mostly in the variant developed in Germany. The meat may be lamb, mutton, beef, goat, or chicken.

Outside of Turkey, generally a doner sandwich is served with a salad made from shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and onions—often also with cabbage and cucumbers. Usually there is a choice between a hot sauce, a whiter yoghurt sauce containing garlic (tarator/tzatziki), and a dairy sauce containing herbs. Most doner vendors in Europe also have French fries which can be served as a side or wrapped with the meat and salad. Sometimes more varied ingredients are available, such as hummus (chick pea paste), tahini-based tarator, or Turkish white cheese. When served on pita bread with lettuce and tzatziki sauce, this is also called a Gyro or Gyros. This type of serving is uncommon in Turkey, and is mostly found in western European countries.

The "donairs" made in Atlantic (Eastern) Canada are almost always made with a sweetened garlic sauce, and this sauce (called "donair sauce") is also used as a dipping sauce for Eastern-Canadian snacks like garlic fingers. Donair pizzas are available in Atlantic Canada as well, and feature donair meat, donair sauce, tomatoes, and onions as toppings.[citation needed]

Caucasus, Middle East and Asia


Locals especially in Herat and Kabul enjoy the doner kebab. In Afghanistan it is called shawarma.


In Azerbaijan doner is often called "national fast food". It is very popular in all regions of the country. The most popular variety is Turkish doner.


Doners are widespread in western China, especially Uyghur, owing to Turkish culture. Doner kebabs are a regional specialty that have gradually spread to elsewhere in China.[citation needed]


Doner is a popular food in Georgia. It is a fast food product. The most popular places for eating doner are Doner Tbilisi near Filarmony (25 Kostava st ), Leselidze, Saakadze sq and in Gldani.


Kebab is derived from Persian noun (Kabab, Persian: کباب), today it also uses as a verb "Kabab kardan" (Grilling, Persian: کباب کردن). Because of this Iranians use a distinctive term for Doner Kebab.

Doner is popular in Iran and it is known as the "Turkish kebab" or ("kabab Torki", Persian: کباب ترکی), Some times it called "kabob Estanboli" (Kebab from Stanbul). It is also called dönar by Iranians.[citation needed]


In Kazakhstan doner has become popular since declaration of independence when Turkish business in Kazakhstan started to develop rapidly. Now doner is one of the most favorite types of fast-food in Kazakhstan, especially in Almaty.


A Moses (donair) location in Ueno, Tokyo.

Doner kebabs are starting to appear, mostly in Tokyo, where they are predominantly sold from parked vans. Doner kebabs have been adjusted to suit Japanese tastes; the salad is usually omitted in favour of shredded cabbage, and the sauce is composed primarily of mayonnaise.

Middle East

In Arabic-speaking countries and Israel, the dish most similar to gyro and doner kebab is called shawarma and is usually made of chicken or lamb. The shawarma can be served in a pita, or in a lafa (a pita without a pocket which holds more food). The meat is not commonly prepared in strips like American gyros, but chopped into smaller chunks and usually served with tahini sauce. As commonly practiced in the early 1900s, Arabs used finely sharpened fillet knives to preserve the meats natural tenderness and avoid depleting it of natural juices.


In Pakistan, the doner kebab is referred to by its Arabic name, shawarma, and is getting popular as in other countries. Almost all fast-food restaurants in big cities are starting to serve it with a wide variety of dressings (mostly with hummas chick peas sauce) and spices.


In the Philippines, doner kebab is referred to by its Arabic name, shawarma, and has become relatively common in major cities, especially Manila. This may be due to the huge number of Filipino overseas workers who have been contracted for Middle East work over many years. Filipino-style Shawarma is beef (never minced) or chicken, and, rarely, lamb (which is expensive in the Philippines). It is wrapped in a small pita (one sandwich, around US$1), rolled up, and covered in an oil-based garlic sauce (like a thin allioli) and a hot chilli sauce, together with chopped lettuce, onions and tomato. Recipes vary, some using a sweet, almost teriyakilike marinade. "Special" shawarma can include cheese, French fries, and homemade pickles. "Shawarma Rice" is a dish popular among younger diners; it consists of all the aforementioned ingredients, except for the pita, which is replaced with a seasoned rice pilaf.

South Korea

Doner kebab is available throughout much of Seoul, particularly in the foreigner-dominated neighborhood of Itaewon. There are two main varieties: the first, sold from street carts, is modified to suit Korean tastes, with chicken rather than lamb, shredded white cabbage, and honey mustard; the second is offered at permanent takeaways such as Ankara Picnic, Mr. Kebab and Sultan Kebab, and features a lamb option along with more traditional sauces.


Doner kebab is known as Shawarma(沙威瑪) in Taiwan. It is popular among night markets and streets throughout Taiwan and usually made from chicken and is served on leavened buns with julienned cabbage, slice of tomato, sliced onions, ketchup, and mayonnaise.


There is at least one doner kebab shop on the island of Koh Samui. There are many kebab shops around the Nana area on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok, and many kebab shops in Pattaya on Walking Street.


Several Turkish and Middle Eastern restaurants have opened up in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offering both halal and non-halal variants of doner kebabs. Istanbul Cafe was the favorite chicken doner kebab restaurant in the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area, until it closed its doors. Pork doner kebab restaurants can be found in the District 1 and District 3 areas of Ho Chi Minh City as well.



In Albania, doner kebabs are usually called "sufllaqe" and sold at fast food stores. In southern parts of the country, they are called "gjiro". They are made with either pork or chicken, lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, French fries, ketchup, and/or mustard, etc. In general, a normal gjiro in Southern Albania is made with tomatoes, onions, French fries, ketchup, mustard and "salce kosi" (yogurt sauce). In the capital (Tirana) they are made with meat wrapped in freshly made pitta with thick yoghurt and cucumber sauce. Another variant includes a Russian Salad dressing versus salc kosi or mayonnaise.


Doner kebab shops can be found in all cities across the country. Kebabs (rarely referred to as "Doner") are very popular in Austria and outsell burgers or the traditional Würstel (sausage) stands.[22] The range of doner is similar to other German speaking countries, but one is more likely to find a chicken kebab in central Vienna than lamb or beef kebab.


Doner kebab restaurants and food stands can be found in almost all cities and smaller towns in Belgium. The variety served is similar to that of Germany and the Netherlands. However, it is not uncommon to see doner served with French fries in Belgium, often stuffed into the bread itself (similar to the German "Kebab mit Pommes"). This is probably done to suit local taste, as fries are still the most common Belgian fast food. Many different sauces are typically offered, including plain mayonnaise, aioli, cocktail sauce, sambal oelek or harissa paste, andalouse sauce, "américaine" sauce and tomato ketchup or curry ketchup. Belgians are renowned for mixing two sauces for maximizing taste effects (e.g., garlic and sambal). Another basic ingredient of the typical Belgian Kebab is two or three green, spicy, Turkish peppers.


Doner kebab stands are a common sight in Bulgaria. The Doner kebap or Dyuner (Дюнер) is widely made of chicken meat, and it’s wrapped in a flatbread or Turkish wrap. It consist a wide variety of salad choices most commonly used are tomatoes, chopped lettuce, onions, hot peppers, cabbage and cucumbers. Rice and bean salads are offered along the coastline. In recent years the use of French fries has become a popular ingredient. It is served with yoghurt-mayonnaise based garlic sauce, with ketchup or mayonnaise on demand, and hot spices. It’s a widely adopted fast food choice, and there are a number of venues that specialize in the Greek, German and Turkish styles of Doner kebabs in the capital.


In growing number of cities in Croatia doners are becoming extremely popular. Called simply, kebab (kebabi plu.) got a lot of attention over the past few years with number of consumers constantly rising. In bigger cities such as Zagreb, Split, Osijek and Rijeka doner stands can be easily found. Cost of a usual doner kebab in Croatia varies from town to town, although average price is around 20 kuna (2.75€) with special and extra ingredients such as ketchup, mayonnaise, pepper, salt or different sorts of salad coming free of charge. Common ingredients are: Beef or chicken meat, salad, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, yogurt sauce.


In Denmark, doner kebabs are sold under a variety of names depending on the doner salesman's ethnic background. In Copenhagen, doners are usually sold as shawarma, or simply kebab, whereas it is sold as guss in other parts of the country. Doner kebab was first introduced to Denmark in 1981 by Turkish migrant workers, and has since become a staple. The meat would typically be beef, rather than lamb. Doner is typically served with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream dressing and chili oil either in a pita bread, or as a dürüm. Kebab is also served on pizza along with lettuce and créme fraiche or garlic dressing.


A plate of doner kebab in Kamppi, Helsinki

In Finland, kebabs have gained a lot of popularity since Turkish immigrants opened restaurants and imported their own traditional food (albeit modified to suit Finnish taste as in Germany, e.g. replacing lamb with beef in most cases). This popularity is apparent when perusing choices of cuisine, especially in larger cities. Kebab foods are generally regarded as fast food, often served in late-night restaurants also serving pizza. However, recently kebab restaurants have begun to appear in shopping malls and in the form of proper high street restaurants as well.[23] There are at least 1122 currently active restaurants that serve kebab foods[24] in Finland. Furthermore, there is on average one kebab restaurant for every 5222 people in mainland Finland.[25] Beef is predominantly used instead of lamb because Finns are familiar with the taste and consume beef significantly more than lamb, which also means that it is cheaper and more readily available. Some doners can be a mix of lamb and beef. Unlike in Central Europe, where kebabs are made from whole cuts of meat, practically all available kebab in Finland is made from ground meat. Often restaurants do not prepare the meat themselves, but use processed ready-made pieces instead.


Most kebab shops (themselves known simply as kebabs) are generally run by Turkish or North African immigrants in France. The basic kebab consists of either "pain de maison" (Turkish soft bread) or "pain arabe" (unleavened flatbread) stuffed with grilled lamb shavings, onions and lettuce, with a choice of sauce from sauce blanche (yogurt sauce with garlic and herbs), harissa (spicy red sauce originally from North Africa), ketchup, or several others. Kebabs are usually served with chips, often stuffed into the bread itself. This variation is called Doner grec ("Greek kebab"). Other variations include turkey, chicken, veal, beef, falafel or sausage, and replacing the Turkish bread with pita bread or baguette.


A version developed to suit German tastes by Turkish immigrants in Berlin has become one of Germany's most popular fast food dishes. Annual sales in Germany amount to 2.5 billion euros.[26] Veal and chicken are widely used instead of lamb, particularly by vendors with large ethnic German customer bases, for whom lamb is traditionally less preferred.

Döner, common German style (Berlin)
Döner kebab in a dürüm

Typically, along with the meat, a salad consisting of chopped lettuce, cabbage, onions, cucumber, and tomatoes is offered, as well as a choice of sauces—hot sauce (scharfe Soße), herb sauce (Kräutersoße), garlic sauce (Knoblauchsoße), or yogurt (Joghurtsoße). The filling is served in thick flatbread (Fladenbrot) that is usually toasted or warmed. There are different variations on the döner kebab, one of which is kebab mit pommes. This is similar to an ordinary döner kebab, except that it has French fries instead of the salad. Another variety is achieved by placing the ingredients on a lahmacun (a flat round dough topped with minced meat and spices) and then rolling the ingredients inside the dough into a tube that is eaten out of a wrapping of usually aluminum foil (Türkische Pizza). When plain dough is used (without the typical Lahmacun spices and minced meat) the rolled kebab is called "dürüm döner" or "döner yufka".

Tarkan Tasyumruk, president of the Association of Turkish Doner Producers in Europe (ATDID), provided information in 2010 that, every day, more than 400 tonnes of döner kebab meat is produced in Germany by around 350 firms. At the same ATDID fair, Tasyumruk stated that 'Annual sales in Germany amount to 2.5 billion euros. That shows we are one of the biggest fast-foods in Germany'. In many cities throughout Germany, "Döner" (as it is usually called) is at least as popular as hamburgers or sausages, especially with young people.[26]

Germany's large Turkish minority is probably the biggest reason for the widespread sale of döner kebab sandwiches there: from the late 60s on, large numbers of Turks were invited to come to Germany as guest workers, to fill a then acute labour shortage caused by the Wirtschaftswunder after the war. Most of these Turkish workers eventually stayed in Germany, and opening small food shops and takeaways was an excellent option in terms of progressing from more menial jobs.


In Greece, Doner Kebab is called gyros. The most common form of gyros is prepared with pork, due to its broad availability and low price in Greece. The name comes from Greek γύρος ("turn"), a calque of the Turkish name döner kebap; the dish was formerly called ντονέρ [doˈner] in Greece as well. Today, ντονέρ refers to gyros prepared with lamb or beef.[27]


Doner kebabs are very popular in Hungary but are usually referred to as gyros- even some Turkish restaurants use the Greek term. It is served in two main forms: in a sandwich (€2) or on a plate (€3–4). French fries or pasta are only part of the plate version. The meat is beef, chicken or lamb (the latter is a rarity), and the more popular sandwich version is usually served with lettuce, tomatoes, sliced onion and with some kind of a yoghurt sauce (which should be tzatziki in gyros, but it usually has nothing to do with tzatziki) and a mildly hot sauce made of red paprika. Kebabs are widespread in smaller cities and holiday spots as well, and are usually made by locals. Turkish kebab shops are only widespread in Budapest. Kebabs became popular in the 1990s.


In Dublin, increasing numbers of Turkish immigrants have led to growth in the number of late-night kebab eateries, popular with party-goers and evening revellers in the city centre.

Kebabs are often eaten as take-away food after a night out. Owing to demand for late night food in the city centre, large businesses, such as Abrakebabra, remain open very late. Some businesses apply a surcharge to food purchased later at night.


Doner is very popular, especially among Moroccan immigrants and young people, including students and bargoers in many major cities. The most common toppings are cabbage, lettuce, tomato, onions, hot pepper relish, spiced yogurt, tzatziki, and harissa sauce; a kebab with all the said toppings is referred to as a "complete kebab" (kebab completo). Other common toppings include mayonnaise, ketchup, and French fries. It is also possible to get the kebabs without bread in a small foil bowl with all of the toppings over rice. It is referred to as "kebab".
The average price of a doner kebab sandwich in Italy is €3.5.


Turkebab Restaurant in Riga, Latvia.

Doner kebabs have started to gain popularity in Latvia as well. Turkebab restaurant chain, owned by Turkish immigrants, successfully opened their second restaurant in Riga. Other private kebab restaurants are run by locals, Egyptians, and Turks.


Introduced in the 2000s, doner kebabs exploded in popularity. They are usually sold from small kiosks and carts. Most popular are ones served in lavash bread (Dürüm), though pita bread is also used. The cabbage is the most often used vegetable, along with salad, tomato, bell pepper and cucumber, with a variety of sauces.


Doner kebab is very popular in the Netherlands among all populations.[citation needed] As a snack, it is usually served in or with a pita as a "broodje döner" (doner sandwich) with lettuce, onion, tomato slices and sauces, mainly garlic and sambal. It is widely available.

In the last few years[when?] a new form of serving is increasing in popularity. The 'kapsalon', from Rotterdam, is a metal tray filled with French fries with a layer of doner (sometimes a layer of sauce) over them, topped by a layer of young cheese. This goes into the oven until the cheese melts. Then a freshly sliced salad is put on top of that. The kapsalon is finished with a large amount of garlic sauce and a bit of sambal.

The name kapsalon is the Dutch word for a hairdresser's salon. A hairdresser from Rotterdam working next to a doner stand snack bar wanted to combine the best of both worlds and came up with the idea of the kapsalon. Kapsalon is typically a food mostly served in the Randstad metropolitan area.[citation needed]

The Dutch television programme, Keuringsdienst van Waarde, analyzed doner kebab sandwiches, showing that only one kebab sandwich contained 100% lamb meat, while most consisted of mixes of lamb and beef. Others consisted of 100% beef, chicken, turkey or pork.[28]


In Norway, the kebab was introduced by Turkish and Arab immigrants during the 1980s. It soon became a very popular meal after a night out, gaining a cult status among young people during the 1990s[citation needed] . The kebab has become a symbol of immigration from the Muslim world, and speaking Norwegian with an Arab accent or with a lot of words and expressions borrowed from the Turkish, Arabic, Persian and Punjabi languages is sometimes referred to as "Kebabnorsk" (Kebab Norwegian).

The kebabs in Norway are served in a variety of ways, commonly in fast-food shops selling both hamburgers and kebabs. The kebab roll has become increasingly popular, with the kebab not served in pita bread, but rather wrapped in pizza dough (making it look like a spring roll) for easy consumption. The most "Norwegian" kebab to date is probably the whalemeat kebab sold at the Inferno Metal Festival. As of 2008, the average price of the kebab in Norway lies around 65 kroner, or about €8. In Bergen the average price of a kebab is around 50 kr. In Bergen kebab is most commonly served in the dürüm variety, with two types of sauces, one standard and one optional hot chili variety.

The Norwegian Food Safety authorities have issued a warning about cheap kebabs, estimating that more than 80% of kebab shops selling these are involved in organized meat smuggling, or are in other ways not in full compliance with stringent Norwegian food safety laws and regulations.[29]


In Poland the kebab bars are spread mostly in major cities, but it is still considered one of the most, if not the most popular fast foods for young people. A very Polish specialty is a fresh cabbage salad with cucumbers, tomatoes and other vegetables, added to the meat in a sandwich. A basic version costs 7–8 zł (€2–€2.5) and includes pita or thick bread, meat with onion, the aforementioned salad and a choice of sauces. It can be super-sized and/or served with extra cheese. Sandwiches are available with hot, medium or mild sauces made of house special ingredients. Kebab shops also serve complete meals, vegetarian dishes and ayran. Undoubtedly[citation needed] Warsaw is the capital of Polish kebab, with shops run by Turkish emigrants, and serving Arab specialties and hookah pipes apart from the sandwiches. As they run 23 hours a day, every day of the week, they are often visited by partying youth and policemen.

Kebabs were rarely seen in Poland before the downfall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. A similar Greek-fashioned dish gyros could have been occasionally encountered in that era. One possible origin of the recent popularity of kebab in Poland is post-communist Berlin, with local Turkish immigrants inspired by their fellow natives in the other country.[citation needed]


In Portugal kebabs are fairly recent. The most common kebab in Portugal is served in thick pita bread. Salad, Onion, tomato, fresh cheese and sauce.


In Romania, doner kebab and its locally widespread variant, the shaworma, have gained much popularity over the past decade. So much so that shaworma has become a staple food of the young generation.


In Russia doner kebab is usually called shaurma (Central Russia) or shawerma (North-West). It is widespread and is usually made in booths or small cafes. There are two basic types: in pitah (a type of bun) or in lavash (thin round cake, in which it is packed). Types of meat from which it is usually made are chicken and pork. Other meat is seldom used for doner. Typical recipe includes meat, cabbage and/or carrot salad, cucumbers and/or tomatoes and two types of sauces: ketchup and a type of spicy youghurt. Doner production in Russia is usually subject of a small business, which is most usual owned by Caucasus or Middle Asia migrants. There is especially large number of such booths near railway stations and markets. Shaurma is a very popular meal for students and people who have to eat "on the go" due to its relatively low price. It depends on the region, in big cities it is usually a little higher, but in average one portion costs 1.5-2 Euro in booths and some higher in cafes. Shaurma can be served also in a plate apart from the bun and can be accompanied with French fries and vegetable salad. Most often it is consumed with light beer.


In Slovenian cities you can find many doner kebab stands that were spread across the country by immigrants from Kosovo and Bosnia. Some places also serve so called jufka kebab (dürüm).

Common ingredients are: Beef or chicken meat (and mixed), salad, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, yogurt sauce.


In Spain, doner kebab is common, especially in Andalucía.[citation needed] It is often called chawarma,[citation needed] and one can find a kebab restaurant in Granada every 100 meters.[citation needed] The kebabs are served with chicken or veal and with salad, tomatoes, onions, olives, peppers, white sauce, and salsa picante (hot sauce). Falafel, French fries, and fried eggs are typical additions to a kebab. The average price in Andalucía for a kebab is 3 euro.


In Sweden, Kebab med bröd (Kebab with bread) can be found in the local pizzeria or specialised kebab/falafel shop. The word "kebab" is normally associated with doner kebab made purely from beef or sometimes chicken. It is quickly, along with falafel, becoming a popular fast-food alternative to the more traditional hot dogs and hamburgers, and are a popular late-night post-drinking meal, with kebab/falafel restaurants often being open late into the night. Other commonly occurring kebab variants are kebabrulle (a roll of flat bread, filled with kebab meat, salad, tomatoes, kebab sauce and sometimes fefferoni or sliced pickles), and kebabtallrik (a plate of kebab meat and salad with either French fries, rice, or mashed potatoes). Customers are typically asked what kind of sauce they want, the most common alternatives being "hot", "mild", "garlic" or "mixed", the latter being a mixture of all three. Most pizzerias sell Kebab Pizza, a pizza with kebab meat and the aforementioned sauces as a topping, now the most popular pizza in Sweden.


Doner can be found in cities across Switzerland. Of particular interest are the Doner stands in Dietikon. The doner vendors have popularised the grammatically incorrect way of asking if the customer wants the doner "mit scharf oder mit ohni scharf" (i.e. "with hot or with without hot"), "mit odr ohni sibele?" (i.e. "with or without onion"). These ubiquitous errors have entered the general usage of German in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany, and people do not react at all to this grammatical peculiarity.

United Kingdom

Introduced by Pakistani immigrants, the doner kebab with salad and sauce is a very popular dish in the United Kingdom, especially after a night out. The typical kebab shop in the UK will offer hot chilli sauce and garlic yoghurt-style sauce, and in different regions may also offer barbecue sauce, burger sauce, lemon juice, or a mint sauce similar to raita. Sometimes a customer can ask for a mild, a medium or a hot sauce but it is not made clear what the ingredients are. There are several common ways in which doner kebabs are served in the UK:

  • Wrapped in pita bread
  • Roti
  • On naan bread
  • Served as a dish of "doner meat (or chicken doner meat) and chips", typically including salad
  • Served as Doner/Chicken/Mixed Meat with (Grated) Cheese instead of Pita bread, not usually with salad unless requested
  • Served on a pizza base, known as a kebab pizza
  • Often preferred to be garnished with a range of sauces such as tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, chilli sauce, mint or garlic sauce.
  • Served in Pizza dough also known as a calazone with chilli and garlic butter and cheese .

The UK doner kebab often uses a different mixture of spices. Menus typically offer doner, shish (lamb, pork or chicken)[30] and kofte kebabs, with a "special" including portions of each sometimes with bread and French fries or chips. "Doner meat" is often also offered as a pizza or burger topping in many such establishments.In Northern Ireland Doner kebab is most favourited served on chips, Steak doner and house sauce is popular, while others prefer garlic mayonnaise.

The Americas


Doner kebab is one of the most popular fast-food dishes on São Paulo streets. It is usually served as a sandwich, and it is called "Churrasco Grego", which means "Greek Barbecue".[citation needed]


A variation on the doner kebab known as "donair" was introduced in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada in the early 1970s. A restaurant called King of Donair claims to have been the first to serve this version in 1973.[31] The meat in this version of the doner kebab (sometimes called 'Halifax donair') is sliced from a loaf cooked on a vertical spit, made from a combination of ground beef, flour or bread crumbs, and various spices, while the sauce is made from evaporated milk, sugar, vinegar, and garlic. The meat and sauce are served rolled in a flatbread pita with diced tomato and onion. The donair is very popular throughout the Atlantic provinces of Canada, and is also available in some other areas of the country, particularly Alberta and the metropolitan Toronto area, with many fast food pizza restaurants also featuring donairs on the menu. Many of them also offer a donair pizza featuring all of the donair ingredients served on a pizza crust. Donair subs are also not uncommon.

In Atlantic Canada you can also find donair meat used in offerings such as donair egg rolls (an egg roll casing stuffed with donair meat), donair calzones/panzerottis, and in donair poutine (French fries topped with cheese curds, donair meat and donair sauce or gravy or a combination).

In the summer of 2008, after numerous cases of E. coli related food poisoning due to the consumption of undercooked donair meat in Alberta, the federal government came out with a set of guidelines for the preparation of donairs. The principle guideline was that the meat should be cooked at least twice: once on the spit, and then grilled as the donair is being prepared. Many Atlantic Canadian establishments already did this, however, some restaurants in Alberta omitted the grilling step.

Cayman Islands

Doner kebab is available in Georgetown, Grand Cayman with a Caribbean flair. The meat is cooked on the traditional vertical spit, and the kebab is served on flat bread with a variety of sauces, including garlic and mango pepper sauce.


A similar dish is served in Mexico known as tacos al pastor or "tacos de trompo". The cooking is different from that of the kebab. The meat is cooked and then sliced into a corn tortilla. They can be found all over Mexico, especially in street corners. They are not new to Mexico, and it is unknown if there is a direct relationship with the Turkish Kebab. In Puebla, this was introduced by the numerous Middle-Eastern immigrants, mostly from Lebanon and Syria, but also Turkey and Iraq, in the early 1920s.[32] Since then, it has become a traditional dish of the city, locally known as taco árabe, "Arabian taco", sold in taquerías orientales, "[Middle-]Eastern taco stands".[33] Nonetheless, it is now usually made with pork and served either in pitas –locally called pan árabe, "Arabian bread"–, leavened bread –locally called torta árabe, "Arabian baguette", also called cemita–, or simply in flour tortillas. It is usually accompanied tahini and labneh –locally called jocoque[34] even though the skhug (or kharif) has been replaced with a thick chipotle-garlic sauce.[35] In other parts of the country, most notably in Mexico City, the dish has adapted to the Mexican cuisine by replacing the pita with corn tortillas, in what is now called a taco al pastor, "Shepherd taco".[35] Unlike a taco árabe, the taco al pastor is served with pineapple, cilantro, chopped onions and green or red salsa, and marinated with annatto sauce. Regardless of local adaptations, authentic middle eastern shawarma is available in the many middle eastern restaurants and kosher taquerias that cater to the large Mexican Lebanese and Mexican Sephardim communities. German style Doner Kebab can be found too but is not common, although is gaining popularity.

United States

In the United States, doner kebab is not widely known, except in some larger cities with a strong Mideastern immigrant community, e.g., Boston, Detroit, New York,[36] Leesburg, Virginia (near Washington, D.C.),[37] Chicago,[38] Seattle,[39] San Diego,[40] and Los Angeles.[41] In contrast, gyros, considered Greek food, are popular across the U.S., and frequently are found at mobile stands as fair food as well as at Greek- and Italian-style pizza and sandwich shops.



In Australia, doner kebab—usually called just kebabs—are very popular owing to immigration from Greece, Turkey, the former Yugoslavia and Lebanon. Many consider them to be a healthier alternative to traditional fast food.

In Australian shops or stalls, Greek style kebabs are called souvlaki in Victoria or gyros, yeeros, or yiros in South Australia and New South Wales. "Doner kebab" is the Turkish name. Meat (beef or lamb) and chicken kebabs can often be found in Sydney and Melbourne where many suburbs have take-away shops that offer them. They are optionally served with cheese and a salad consisting of lettuce, tomato, onion, and tabouli on either pita bread (also known in some areas as Lebanese bread) or using thicker but still quite flat Turkish breads. These are sliced in half with the filling placed in between the slices, rather than wrapped, as is common with pita/pide breads.

The most commonly used sauces are tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, hummus (made with chickpeas), yoghurt and garlic sauce (Greek:tzatziki, Turkish: cacik) and chili or sweet chilli sauce. Doner kebabs in Sydney and Melbourne can be served with all the ingredients placed onto or next to the pita bread on a plate, or more commonly, with the ingredients rolled into the pita bread in the form of a "wrap". There are two primary ways to serve the wrapped version. It can be toasted in a sandwich press, which has the effect of melting any cheese, heating the meat and baking the bread so that it becomes crisp. It can also be served without toasting.

A kebab snackpack with lamb and chicken served with cheese and various sauces

An additional form is dominant in Canberra, where the bread with filling is passed underneath a grill for a minute. The sandwich is then wrapped in paper to stop the filling from falling out and usually placed in a foil/paper sleeve. This variety is also available in New Zealand. In Brisbane, kebabs are influenced most strongly by the Turkish variation. They are invariably served in a pita wrap and toasted in a sandwich press for about a minute before being inserted into a foil or paper sleeve. The main meats available are chicken or lamb.

Shops or vans selling kebabs are colloquially referred to as "Kebaberies" and "Kebabavans" in some parts of Australia. Kebab meat can also be found as a pizza topping in the western suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne, as a "beef pizza" or "Turkish pizza".

The "late night kebab" has become an icon of urban food culture in Australia, with kebabs often purchased and consumed following a night of drinking. Kebabs are considered suitable following consumption of alcohol due their high content of lipids (fats) which aids in metabolism of alcohol. Another variation found commonly in the western suburbs of Sydney are the "snack pack" or "meat box". This is a take-away box with a layer of chips, kebab meat and sauce on top. It is also common to add lettuce, onion, tomato or cheese on top.

Nowadays, the "dodgy kebab" often blamed for food poisoning should be a thing of the past. Ill feelings in the morning can generally be attributed to hangover. Since NSW food safety best practice recommended a second cooking of kebab meat, most stores have adopted this measure and it is now common practice in Australia. Second cooking requires that meat sliced from the doner is cooked on the hotplate/grill to 60 °C just before serving.[42] Previously, "Dodgy kebab" meat was often sliced from the doner, including some not yet fully heated/cooked meat, at the time of ordering or meat that had been sliced and sat waiting at the bottom of the doner for indiscernible length of time.

See also

  • Cag kebab, Horizontal Doner Kebab from Erzurum
  • Gyros
  • Iskender kebap, doner served with tomato sauce and yoghurt.
  • Kebab van
  • List of kebabs
  • Shawarma, the Arabic term for a similar dish.
  • Shish taouk, a similar dish made with chicken.
  • Taco al pastor, a similar dish from Mexico, made from spiced pork and served in a tortilla.


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Döner kebab — (Turkish döner kebap , literally turning roast ), is a Turkish national dish made of meat cooked on a vertical spit and sliced off to order. The meat may be lamb, mutton, beef, goat, or chicken. Alternative names include kebab, donair, döner,… …   Wikipedia

  • Döner Kebab — Kebab Un kebab avec du pain pita …   Wikipédia en Français

  • doner kebab — UK [ˌdɒnə(r) kɪˈbæb] US [ˌdoʊnər kəˈbɑb] noun [countable/uncountable] [singular doner kebab plural doner kebabs] british a Middle Eastern meal that consists of flat pieces of cooked lamb , served i …   Useful english dictionary

  • doner kebab — ► NOUN ▪ a Turkish dish consisting of spiced lamb cooked on a spit and served in slices. ORIGIN from Turkish döner rotating and kebap roast meat …   English terms dictionary

  • Döner Kebab — Dönerfleisch am Spieß Döner mit Pide …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Döner kebab — Dönerfleisch am Spieß Döner mit Pide …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • doner kebab — UK [ˌdɒnə(r) kɪˈbæb] / US [ˌdoʊnər kəˈbɑb] noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms doner kebab : singular doner kebab plural doner kebabs British a Middle Eastern meal that consists of flat pieces of cooked lamb, served in a pitta bread with… …   English dictionary

  • Döner kebab in the world — Döner kebab (Turkish döner kebap , literally turning roast ), is a Turkish dish made of meat cooked on a vertical spit and sliced off to order. The meat may be lamb, mutton, beef, goat, or chicken. Alternative names include kebap, donair, döner,… …   Wikipedia

  • Döner Kebab — Dö|ner Ke|bạb 〈m.; od. s, od. s; Kochk.〉 türkisches Gericht mit Fleischstückchen, die von einem am senkrechten Drehspieß gegrillten Stück Hammelfleisch abgeschnitten werden; oV Döner Kebap; Sy 〈kurz〉 Döner [<türk. döner kebap „Hammelbraten,… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • doner kebab — /ˈdoʊnə kəˌbæb/ (say dohnuh kuh.bab), /ˈdɒnə/ (say donuh) noun a dish consisting of slices of meat, usually lamb, cut from a vertical spit, and served with onion, tomato, etc., usually on Lebanese bread. {modern Turkish, from döner a turning +… …  

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