Foods You Should Know: Shawarma

I am going to let everyone in on a secret about this blog. I write everything in advance and then I let it marinate for up to a few weeks, I then edit(sometimes poorly) and then I post. This post was written at about 3 am after drinking way too much and having MacDonald’s after the bar. Obviously I was lusting for something better and I really didn’t get where I was going, but I feel as if you read this after a night at the bar you would agree. I decided to not do more than a quick edit because I wanted to show off what a totally inebriated unfocused mind has to say about what it craving in the moment. To the people of Israel, the heavily eyebrowed and the over sensitive please accept my deepest apologies. 

Schwarma is the reigning king of street food and if you’re from Windsor you should know what it’s all about.

Shawarma, Donair, Kebab, Gyros no matter what you call it it’s the best possible decision you can make when it’s two AM on a friday night. Pizza is passé, hot dogs are for five year olds, but shawarma is what grown ups eat when they are getting drunk like teenagers.

So what is shawarma? Where does it come from? And most importantly why do I crave the shit out of it after a night of abusing my liver?

The word Shawarma comes from the arabic for turning, which describes the large pieces of lamb, chicken, beef, or sometime goat that is spit roasted.  The meat is sliced off the turning spit and put on a pita with lettuce, tomatoes and all kinds of other pickled vegetables, hummus, garlic sauce and tahini (sesame seed paste). The pita is then wrapped up and pressed in a sandwich press to make a conical home for all of the great stuff inside.

Shwarma comes from the middle east. I have heard Lebanese, Egyptian, Greek, and Turk all lay claim to being the creators and masters of the rotating meat, but it’s more of a ubiquitous street food found all over the world. In the Middle East I would venture a guess that much of the regional strife is caused by a deep seeded zeal about who produces the best shawarma. That and Israel, and maybe oil but mostly who makes the best shawarma.

So why does shawarma comfort me when my liver is giving me the cold shoulder? I think that is the question that escapes us all. It’s warm, it’s filling, it’s full of sweet, salty and spicy. It is made right in front of you by a man who’s expression is held squarely in his anabolic eyebrows, who is somewhere between indifferent and asleep. The din of middle eastern music and discussion wakes up your whiskey soaked mind, so that you can haggle cab far like you are in a bazaar in Riyadh*

The other part of a 2 am shawarma visit is the side dishes. Can you get roasted potatoes with garlic sauce at pizza pizza? You get a dipping sauce for your subpar pizza and a can of pepsi. Can you get rice with lentils or tabbouleh at a street meat cart? If you answer is yes, please point me to said cart. Can you get baklava at 2am anywhere else? I guess the answer is should you get baklava at 2 am?

Anyway, I want to know what you guys like at 2 am. I promise I won’t belittle you.**

*Jesus, I am sorry for that paragraph. I am keeping it in because it may be the most authentically dumb thing I’ve written on this blog and my readers deserve it.

** Had I posted this that night I totally would have belittled anyone who replied.