döner kebap: dürüm

The kebap (Turkish for roasted meat, I think) is a standard Turkish dish. If you asked a Turk what someone must try while in Turkey, some form of kebap would be one of her answers (the other would probably be baklava). Kebaps are found in the farthest border regions and the middle of downtown Istanbul, in cheap neighbourhood shops and upscale restaurants with fun little twists. Turkey is a large country with many different climes and influences, so this means there are a lot of variances. Just as we did with the empanada, we are going to try and see how many kinds of kebap we can sample.

The döner kebap, meaning “rotating roast” in Turkish, is a Turkish invention and staple, one dating all the way back to the Ottomans. Of all the variances we will report on, we’ll start with the simplest today: the döner dürüm.

The dürüm indicates that this is a wrap, and this kind of kebap is Turkey’s fast food. You can pay out the nose for one in downtown Istanbul or get one for next to nothing in the residential area of Gaziantep, but the idea is the same: meat (lamb or chicken – chicken is always cheaper) sliced off that big motherload put in a wrap with lettuce and tomatoes and often french fries. Sometimes you’ll get asked if you want hot peppers or not, then it’s wrapped tightly, often with a piece of paper around it for handy carrying. It’s nothing terribly special or difficult, but it’s a great way to fill the belly when money’s a little thin.


*Note: I re-edited the first two paragraphs later the same day after realizing that I had mixed up the kebap and döner definitions in my head.

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